15 January 2009

Arenal - 4 Jan 2009

Waking up in our very nice accomodations to the sounds of the volcano was something rather surreal!  However, we hurried up to reception at 5 AM to meet our guide who was to take us to the Arenal Hanging Bridges.   

Unfortunately, it POURED nearly the entire time we were there.  It was a neat place... but we saw very few bird species due to the weather.  However, being 150 feet up above the forest floor was something I won't forget anytime soon!

We had the whole afternoon/evening to explore and bird around Arenal Observatory Lodge and the nearby trails.  One particular trail, the Waterfall Trail, proved to be quite productive birding!  (Oh, and the waterfall was really enjoyable as well).

Perhaps the highlight for me today was actually SEEING a Nightingale Wren!  This dark and secretive wren is very seldom seen but we were fortunate on a trail near the feeders of the observatory lodge.  We were also very lucky to hear the quirky-sounding Song Wren today as well.

Above is a Brown Jay, a large and common jay species of the tropics.  This one was surveying the feeders.

This is the waterfall at Arenal Observatory Lodge.  The trail to/from this was exceptional birding as well.

This photo was taken from one of the very high hanging bridges at Arenal Hanging Bridges.  

Above is a Violet-headed Hummingbird.  I was able to get this picture from the Hanging Bridges near Arenal.  Looking DOWN on a hummingbird was something I had never done before.

I decided to take a quick (and therefore poor) picture of a Yellow-faced Grassquit at the Arenal Hanging Bridges.  This species is one of the more common species in Costa Rica.

This was the view of Lake Arenal from the observatory lodge.

Above is the cloud-shrouded Arenal Volcano.  With a scope or binoculars, one could see the huge chunks of rocks tumbling down the side once in a while!

This was a sick or messed up Margay we saw at Arenal.  We believe it was sick because it had large bite marks on its back.  Oh, and the fact that it trotted around people without care was another clue!!

Below are the NEW bird species we saw today for the trip:

Ani, Groove-billed 
Antbird, Bicolored 
Antbird, Spotted 
Antpitta, Thicket 
Blackbird, Melodius 
Euphonia, Yellow-throated 
Flycatcher, Sulphur-rumped 
Grassquit, Yellow-faced 
Grosbeak, Rose-breasted 
Hawk, Short-tailed 
Hermit, Green 
Hummingbird, Violet-headed 
Jay, Brown 
Owl, Striped 
Parakeet, Orange-chinned 
Parula, Tropical 
Phoebe, Black 
Sapsucker, Yellow-bellied 
Sparrow, Rufous-collared 
Swallow, Blue-and-white 
Tanager, Emerald 
Tanager, Hepatic 
Warbler, Golden-crowned 
Warbler, Wilson's 
Warbler, Yellow 
Wren, Nightingale 
Wren, Song 
Wren, Stripe-breasted