Monday, March 6, 2017

Cerro Cara Iguana Road (PM) - 27 Feb 2017

Our afternoon tour took us through Carnival celebrations to an upland road called Cerro Cara Iguana Road, which runs along the south rim of the volcano. We parked just a quarter mile from the main road and hiked single-file down the embankment and into the woods to look for roosting owls. Sure enough, another quarter mile in Danilo motioned to the trees about 50 yards away. Spectacled Owl!

I was proud of our group as they stay totally silent the entire time. However the forest floor was covered with thick dried leaves that crunched like Doritos when we stepped. Consequently, the owl was awake and aware of our presence. We kept our distance, which allowed the owl to relax while we took digiscoped images and videos. We would quietly return to the main road after stopping to look at some roosting bats in a hollowed out termite nest.

As Carnival music boomed in the background we looked for Red-capped Woodpeckers ( the equivalent of our Red-bellied Woodpeckers), Lesser Goldfinches, Black-and-White Warblers, and Bananaquit. An adult Short-tailed Hawk appeared overhead and offered some long-distance shots.

The road was steep, so walking was slow. We found Yellow-crowned Euphonias, which look similar to the Thick-billed Euphonias back at the Lodge, but have a thinner bill and dark throat band.

Great Kiskadee
At the top of the hill where the road leveled off, we had the opportunity to compare the Great Kiskadee with Social Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, and Rusty-margined Flycatchers in a small clearing. Here, the sun was a bit more cooperative for Digiscoping.

Rusty-margined Flycatcher

Tropical Kingbird

I spotted a Long-billed Starthroat roosting on a snag hanging over the road ahead of us, but once again we were walking into the sun. I would take a few digiscoped images and video before trying to walk past it to get the sun behind me, but it flew just moments after I got the scope on it. 

A large hawk appeared low over the tree and then soared overhead for several circles before disappearing. We initially identified it as a juvenile Broadwinged Hawk based on pointed wings, blotchy chest, and wrist windows that are normally found in Red-shouldered Hawks. The lack of dark-tipped flight feathers threw us, and the tail appeared too long. So, it wasn't until I got home and looked at my pics on the large screen that I noticed the large, dark eyes (falcon-like) and the fine-barred chest feathers starting to appear in the molting bird: Gray Hawk!

At the end of the road we spent a few minutes looking for Gold-collared Manakin. Danilo was eventually able to spot one roosting deep in the thickets, and it took several attempts with the laser pointer to get the rest of us on it. I managed to get a short video of it before it moved. 

As we walked back toward the van we spotted a pair of Summer Tanagers in the orchard on our left. At the clearing ahead of us a pair of Red-legged Honeycreepers  were roosting in a clump of vines. I was busy video-recording a gorgeous Golden-hooded Tanager just to the left of them. I would miss another Bay-headed Tanager. 

At the van we found a sleeping Hoffman's Three-toed Sloth high in the trees. Overhead a pair of Orange-chinned Parakeets were slowly walking along the branches and eating the last few red flowers in an otherwise-bare tree. Closer-by a pair of Plain Tanagers were posing in the late afternoon sun.

Danilo and I ran back to the clearing to look for an Indigo Bunting and possible White Hawk, but neither reappeared. We would return to the van just in time to photograph a pair of Red-capped Warblers that provided stunning views in the bush just a few feet away. 

We would return to the lodge just in time for me to get a last few pics of a Snow-bellied Hummingbird near the feeder. A Violet-headed Hummingbird would also make a very brief appearance!

1 comment:

Greg Norwood said...

Excellent post Jerry, I learned a lot.

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