Here in the darkness, we'd search for Gordon's Resplendent Quetzal. This is probably THE most difficult of birding conditions anywhere on the planet. Not only was the forest dark, but we'd often be ambushed by clouds moving through the trees.
For those of you wondering how we got from Arenal to Monteverde, well wonder no more. This is where having a rental car would have been problematic for us since getting to Monteverde by vehicle would have added several hours to our day. A person can easily take a short cut across Lake Arenal(via the jeep-boat-jeep option) to the road that leads to Monteverde.
|part of the Elephant beetle group that likes to eat bananas|
|A typical Costa Rican meal known as the Casona.|
The price into the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was around 20 dollars. Most of the tourists hired guides that stood near the entrance. And to be honest, I highly recommend having a tour guide for this park. The darkness and dense tropical vegetation make this a tricky place to bird. There's also a third obstacle, the clouds. Dark and foggy conditions made finding birds very difficult. But I loved it!
Gray-headed Chachalacas were almost everywhere we went in Costa Rica. It seemed that many of them were feeding young ones.
Often birds would be heard calling in the forest, but when we got near the birds calling, they'd go silent OR a cloud would move into the area and mess with us. At one point, I heard the Resplendent Quetzal call. No. That would be too easy. Were they that close to the entrance of the park?
A pair of Yellowish Flycatchers danced around us as they foraged for food.
I felt a chill as a cloud blew through the trees and fuzzed everything up around us.
|a family of Prong-billed Barbets preen one another|
Sometimes we'd get a clear view of a bird. But many times, they'd disappear into the darkness.
Yes. The name is up there with Euphonias and Chlorophonias. These are often not words spoken in Arizona:) Probably never will be. But if it's one thing I've learned from birding, NEVER SAY NEVER.
We continued on the dark trails. It was really quite beautiful.
Misty. Cool. Magical.
|Costa Rican Warbler|
As we exited the park, I became frustrated. We had heard the birds call around the entrance. I went up to the park ranger and we had a really nice discussion. A friendly security guard to the park was also present and said, "Oh yes. They are right here at the entrance, but now isn't a good time because they usually feed early morning and late afternoon. BUT I can show you where they like to eat. As he pointed to the tree, we heard the adult male call. Then we saw the female. And then.....the juvenile male came and perched out in the open for Gordon and Micheal. The security guard offered to snap pics of the bird with my camera. I have seen the quetzal before in Guatemala and didn't mind him taking the camera to take pics. It was great watching him use the lens. Maybe they'd turn out but the chances were low. Still, he had fun trying to get the pics. And he did get several shots of a blurry adult male Resplendent Quetzal.
|9-banded Armadillo family in Monteverde|
As we left the entrance to the park, or otherwise known as the exit, we got some lunch at the cafeteria, which by the way is excellent and cheap! But where was this hummingbird coffee shop that everyone had been talking about? In our next post, we'll explore what many of you have been waiting for.....the hummingbirds. Finally, our luck would begin to change. On the next post, I'll have both of the checklists. And I'll speak about the Selvatura Park that many people visit. Until next time......