Thursday, November 19, 2009

Back to the highlands. Part II

The morning of sunday, november 15th, was cold but clear, excellent to photograph the small feathered creatures that already were visiting the flowers and feeders in the surroundings of the hotel Los Quetzales in Guadalupe. Before breakfast, I enjoyed walking the grounds, feeling the fresh and chilly air, admiring the great variety of flowers and, of course, its tiny visitors in the form of hummingbirds, warblers, tanagers and flowerpiercers. A group of Violet Sabrewings, both males and females, got hold of one of the feeders, leaving to the other hummers few opportunities to approach, except for a male Magnificent Hummingbird that was imposing itself for its size. Each time the White-throated Mountain-Gem tried to approach to the feeder was chased away, the same for the Green Violetear. A female Scintillant Hummingbird was feeding shyly in the flowers, far from the feeders and its troubled users. When Gloriela joined me to have breakfast, a confirmed-by-the-experts female Ruby-throated Hummingbird appeared in the same flowers, a nice addition to my year list (and a kind of a lifer because I only had seen males Ruby-throateds before -lucky me!). We ate our tasty breakfast in the hotel´s restaurant (fresh fruits, toasted bread with homemade jelly and cereal), with a very appreciated hot coffee. Soon we were ready for the long walk through a rocky road to the cabins inside the La Amistad International Park. It first passes through agricultural land, but then enters into the forest, while ascending. We found nobody in the trails, nor in the cabins (it was sunday anyway), so we had it for ourselves. We took the "Quebrada Las Minas" trail, looking for bamboo, which we found along the muddy trail in several occasions, but the birds remained elusive... except for a scared Black Guan that provided us prolonged views. We reached the waterfall marking the end of the trail having seen only a couple of hummers and Black-billed Nightingale-Thrushes, but the site was amazing, appropriate for a couple of photos (using the timer). In the way back, and close to the cabins, we found a mixed flock with Black-cheeked & Flame-throated Warblers, Collared Whitestar, Ruddy Treerunner, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Tufted Flycatcher and Black-faced Solitaires. We also heard a Golden-browed Chlorophonia that stayed in the canopy. The hummingbird feeders at the cabins were in full action, with tons of the same hummers attending at the hotel. Quite reluctant, we left the place to pack our things in the hotel and to say bye to the western highlands. A 7 hours-drive was separating us from the city, stopping only to have dinner and in Penonome to pick up Gloriela's parents.

P.D.: if you missed the first part of "Back to the highlands", you can read it here. Happy birding!

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