Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 24 - Go west young man !

There has been a significant push of Snowy Owls into our area the last few days with many coastal locations reporting them (Sandy Hook, Barnegat, Long Island, Connecticut) so one would think that is where I would also end up this weekend. 
However the lure was west of my home.  In fact quite far the Harrisburg / Hershey area.  We were after a MacGillivary's Warbler which had been found in the Reservoir Park of Highspire, Pennsylvania.  I had last seen this species in it's typical range of Colorado, back in 2008. After arriving around 9 am, we were glad to see other birders already on site and most importantly they said the bird was still present.  After waiting about 15 minutes in this unusually bitter cold November morning we got a quick glimpse of this skulking bird.  And this is what I had expected to see, a little part of the bird here & there.
Fortunately we decided to wait around and within another 20 minutes or so, the bird began to show itself more reliably, but still in short 2-3 second intervals.  Once it got warmer the bird appeared to prefer this one sunny spot in the tangles and it then really put on a show, giving us nice long extended looks and even being in the open for long periods of time.

click to enlarge

credit: MacGillivray’s Warbler – Highspire Park, PA (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

You can see some more great shots of the bird  by Alan here:

On our long way back eastward, we stopped at New Jersey's Round Valley Reservoir to have a look at the Eared Grebe that had been reported the day before.  We easily found this bird after a short walk and enjoyed nice views of it in a sheltered cove.

A Quality over Quantity type of day...

Thursday, November 07, 2013

November 7 - Carara National Park

A return visit was in order and it paid off handsomely!  Many of my target species were seen today.
Randall Ortega Chaves started me off once again on the Laguna Meandrica trail for a few species that we did not connect with on the day before.

Highlights were the Orange-collared Mannikin:

credit: Pete Morris

Finally with under an hour left to my time, Randall's non-stop efforts to get me a Pale-Billed Woodpecker paid off !   We enjoyed fine looks at this species feeding along a downed tree.


Randall showed me an absolutely fantastic spot alongside a stream and this area produced an incredible amount of beautiful species like Blue Dacnis, Bay-Headed Tanager, Shining Honeycreeper etc.

click to enlarge
credit: Randall Ortega Chaves

Later we stopped on a bridge crossing another waterway and enjoyed even more birds !

click to enlarge
credit: Randall Ortega Chaves

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

November 6 - Waterfall Road & Carara National Park

This day began by meeting an outstanding birding guide named Randall Ortega Chaves of Costa Rica Birding Journeys.

We first stopped along Waterfall Road near the hotel of Villa Lapas.
Later we birded the Laguna Meandrica Trail of Carara National Park

click to enlarge

Sunday, November 03, 2013

November 3 - Poas Volcano

On my second day here I was again expertly guided by Patrick O'Donnell.  Our day began in urban San Jose and later we went to the top of Poas Volcano.
Again the day's events were nicely captured in Patrick's blog entry

Saturday, November 02, 2013

November 2 - Braulio Carilo National Park & the Hummingbird Garden of El Tapir

Arriving into San Jose, Costa Rica last night I spent my first day here with birding guide extraordinaire Patrick O'Donnell at the National Park of Braulio Carillo, and the nearby Hummingbird Garden of El Tapir.  We also visited a few other local spots.

The day's events were nicely cataloged in Patrick's blog entry