Friday, March 25, 2011

Costa Rica 3: Off the bikes with Mom and Dad (February 19-23, 2011)

After Corcovado, we travelled up to San Isidro, which is several hours south of the capital, San José.  This was the view from the backyard of Casa de Los Celtas near Rivas (San Isidro), the charming Scottish-and-Welsh-owned bed-and-breakfast where we stayed for several days:

 Casa de los Celtas had its own host of interesting birds... seen below as photographed by Doug:

Speckled Tanager  

Green Honeycreeper

Golden-Hooded Tanagers

Red-Legged Honeycreeper

Clay-colored Robin, national bird of Costa Rica

Purple-Throated Mountain Gem

view at dawn of the central highlands north of San Isidro

Hoping to see a Resplendent Quetzal before we leave Costa Rica, we went to Paraiso del Quetzal in the highlands, where Jorge Serrano has converted an old farm into an ecotourist project centered on the quetzal, an increasingly rare and endangered bird in central America.

Jorge Serrano, our guide, complete with cellular phone and spotting scope.   

Quetzal hunters shortly after sunrise: Chris, Jorge, Jason and Doug

volcanoes seen in the distance, Poas the obvious one in the center-right of the photo

Collared Trogon - an excellent sighting!

Although Paraiso del Quetzal is known for its frequent quetzal sightings, we were having no luck on this gorgeous morning, until from out of nowhere an iridescent green bird flew from high in the canopy, flying out in an obvious courtship maneuver with its tremendous long green tail trailing, before landing in the tree below:

the quetzal is on the lower right-leading branch of the center tree of this photo, no wonder why they are difficult to spot in the forest

Resplendent Quetzal

the silhouette of the quetzal shows its beautiful long forked tail

... this was the cloud forest around Paraiso del Quetzal...

Volcano Hummingbird; female sitting on a nest in a cutbank

tiny Volcano Hummingbird eggs

At the central lodge of Paraiso, they have hung hummingbird feeders which attract the following species, among others:

Fiery-Throated Hummingbird

Magnificent Hummingbird...(above and below)

to see a short video of the scene at the above hummingbird feeder, see the following link:

...more cloud forest features from Paraiso del Quetzal...
Chris takes in the forest

bell-shaped flowers evolved for hummingbird pollination

Sooty Robin

Jorge Serrano's wife, Doug, Jorge, and Chris after a fabulous morning nature walk

Jason fabricating and repairing in San Isidro

back at Casa de los Celtas before we head back to San Ramón to meet Katie and Sonia
the ladies: Sonia, Chris and Katie

the group at Vista Verde Restaurant near San Ramón, before splitting up... Jason and Sonia back to Nicaragua for a month, Doug and Chris back to the states, and Jeff and Katie onwards to Panamá.

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