Saturday, April 22, 2017

Not Your Kentucky Bird

Brown Jay
Even in Costa Rica, we were able to find some familiar birds, and it made me feel more confident as a birder to identify a Baltimore Oriole or some Cattle Egrets without assistance. Of course, in a new country you expect to find a majority of birds to be unfamiliar species. These Brown Jays, for example, are the size of crows (which we did not see, strangely enough), but as raucous and curious as any Blue Jay here at home. They raised a fuss one afternoon, and someone figured they had found a snake.
Buff-throated Saltator
"Saltator?" What in the world is that? There are several species of Saltators, which are finches. I always had an image of them pouring salt on each other's tails.
Crested Guan
We found both the Black and Crested Guan, said to be uncommon. It resembles a turkey, or even some kind of small dinosaur when silhouetted on a branch.
Laughing Falcon
I didn't actually hear this Falcon laugh, but the recording has it with a definite ha-ha-ha call.
Red-breasted Blackbird
No, it isn't a robin, which you might think at first glance. Found in the same field as an Eastern Meadowlark.
Resplendent Quetzal
I admit it. I bought a postcard of the Quetzal and took a picture of it. This member of the trogon family is the target bird for any birder who comes to Costa Rica. It is found only in the highlands and has a distinctive call.
This is my photo, showing the long flowing tail feathers much better than the postcard, don't you think? Is anybody out there good with Photoshop to remove some of these sticks? I'm in awe of anyone who can photograph this bird without sticks in the way. Remember that rule of birding - don't open your mouth when looking up in a tree!
Lesson's Motmot
The field guide says that this motmot with a long, "racquet-tipped tail" is common around gardens, coffee plantations and riparian zone. I was pretty thrilled to see it.
Volcano Junco
Yes, we have Juncos who come to spend the winter in Kentucky, but none of them are as "in your face" as these Volcano Juncos are. We drove up to 11,000 feet in altitude to find them. The little wren who lives there called repeatedly, but wouldn't come out to see us. The Junco, on the other hand, practically climbed up our legs! With those glowing golden eyes, you wouldn't imagine them to be afraid of anything!
White-eared Ground Sparrow
Even the sparrows were different. I thought this should have been the Golden-eared Sparrow until I saw the small white spot on its ear.

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