Skies were mostly clear, but the humidity was high, and temperatures were expected to reach the mid-80’s. As I scanned the port I saw no birds on the water, and none in the air.
I expected the Isle de Corazon trip to be awesome. It was described as a birder's paradise, so my expectations were high (as was the cost of the tour). We had only 9 people signed up for the tour so our group was small. However, our tour guide had been pulled from one of the City Tour buses at the last minute, so he had no binoculars or field guide to help with bird ID. That left it to me to be the interim tour guide. I turned out to be more than adequate for the group, since almost every bird seen was known to US birding.
A Limpkin was first mistaken for a Glossy Ibis. We then saw Northern Jacanas foraging in plant-covered ponds. Farther up we stopped for the first of many Black-necked Stilts, Common Gallinules, and Fulvous Whistling-Ducks. I turned my attention to a pair of Croaking Ground Doves, since they were new birds for me (their yellow-based bills and red slash on the forewing helped w/ ID).
|Croaking Ground Dove|
|Croaking Ground Dove|
|not a composite!|
We then motored across the shallow mangrove lake for the next 20 minutes to the actual Isle de Corazon, but stayed only long enough to see a few dozen Neotropic Cormorants, White Ibis, a Little Blue Heron, Green Kingfisher, and a few more frigatebirds. Definitely not worth the boat ride...
By now it was very hot, humid, and the fumes from the diesel engine were getting to us. Still, I managed a few pics of several juvenile frigatebirds as they floated alongside the boat and dipped their beaks into the waters either to drink or pick us sticks.
We returned to the hotel for a lunch of swordfish, rice, plantain chips, and shrimp soup that was delicious. I was exhausted, but forced myself to eat. The swordfish was excellent, and white rice was the ticket. I would spot a hummingbird out in the garden and went to chase it, and all I could come up with was a Long-billed Starthroat based on bill shape (long and upturned). It will have to remain unidentified.
The trip back to the ship was hot and stuffy, and I had to consume two bottles of water to keep from passing out. As it was, I slept most of the evening and didn’t each much for dinner. We pulled out of port, and the only bird I would see was a pair of Blue-footed Boobies off the front of the ship at dusk.
Tomorrow we are at sea as we cruise from South America toward Costa Rica.