Birding in the Clouds

And here we have Part 2: Monteverde.

Getting to Monteverde from La Fortuna can be difficult. If you go by bus it can take over 5 hours. Fortunately there’s another option which is both cheap and kind of cool: you take a taxi from your hotel to Lake Arenal, take a little water taxi over the lake, and then a taxi picks you up on the other side and drives you to your hotel in Santa Elena. So that’s what we did:

La Fortuna & Monteverde Scenery
La Fortuna & Monteverde Scenery

Not much birding to be had on the lake, but it afforded great views of the opposite side of Volcan Arenal:
La Fortuna & Monteverde Scenery

We stayed at the sister hostel to the hostel we stayed at in La Fortuna, and while it was more crowded and slightly more expensive, it was a nice stay. Now onto the birds:

Bananaquits were building nests EVERYWHERE:
Pair of bananaquits nest building
Pair of bananaquits building a nest
They’re so tiny and move so quickly, and my camera hates low-light, so these were the best shots I got.

Azure-hooded jays are awesome, and though you can’t tell from this picture, are apparently very dark blue:
Azure-hooded Jay

We ended up in the middle of a group of Three-striped Warblers and they had very little fear of us. I just sat on the path and let them hop and fly around us:
Three-striped Warbler
Three-striped Warbler
Three-striped Warbler

A very tiny Black-bellied Hummingbird:
Black-bellied Hummingbird

And of course, my Quetzal:
Replendent Quetzal

In addition to these I saw, but was not able to photograph

  • Violet Sabrewing
  • Black-breasted Wood Quail
  • Black-faced Solitaire
  • Emerald Toucanet, which I saw in someone’s front yard walking down the street in Santa Elena. It was sitting in a small tree on a bare branch about a foot away, right at eye level. I observed it for about 20 seconds but when I reached for my camera it flew into a larger tree and disappeared for me. Pretty much the cutest bird I’ve ever seen. Here’s a picture of one at the Simon Bolivar zoo in San Jose

Simon Bolivar Zoo, San Jose, Costa Rica
With the exception of Bananaquits, all of these birds were lifers for me.
If you’re interested in any of the other animals I saw in the mountains, check out my flickr set here.
Also, you may have noticed the new iNaturalist widget on the sidebar. I’m using that site to record as many observations as possible, so if you’re using it as well feel free to follow me.

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