Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowe'en Birding

We are back in Cerro Azul and glad to be here. We arrived on October 28th and the following 2 days were consumed by meetings with our lawyer, the seller of the house, our facilitator, bank officers and their assistants, and shopping for more household items.

So today, October 31st, we ventured no farther than Las Nubes for lunch and then to a little store slightly further down the hill for a stalk of those small, creamy bananas we love (and which we share with the yardbirds.) At least a dozen more were on the stalk before Les took the photo, and we paid $1.50 for the stalk. Before lunch we tried to catch up on mail and organizing, but were distracted for almost 2 hours by birding. We stayed in the yard the whole time.

It all started when I looked out the window of the guest bedroom about 8:00 AM and spotted our first Bay-breasted Warbler for the yard. We scrambled outside, leaving our tea on the porch (where some tiny ants discovered it and were swarming all over and in the cup by the time I returned.) Bay-breasteds numbered at least 6, and we also saw several Tennessee Warblers, a Yellow-throated Warbler, a Blackburnian Warbler, a Northern Waterthrush, 2 American Redstarts, 3 Black-and-white Warblers, and a bright male Golden-Winged Warbler. As soon as the fog lifted, the Broad-winged Hawks made a strong push overhead - about 25 of them in groups of 2 to 8. Plain Xenops was another new yardbird, along with Green Honeycreeper, Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet and Streaked Saltator.

We started our fruit feeder yesterday, and the tanagers discovered it the same day. When we returned from errands about 5:30 PM yesterday, several Plain-colored Tanagers were sitting in a pine tree staring down at the empty banana skins and chattering impatiently. Les restocked it first thing this morning (we feed the birds before we have breakfast), and tanagers took full advantage of it until about 10:30 AM. Feeder birds included Plain-colored Tanager, Hepatic Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager and Thick-billed Euphonia. Other tanagers in the yard today (but not at the feeder) included Bay-headed, Golden-hooded and Crimson-backed.

Another first for the yard was a visual on Keel-billed Toucan - finally!

During cocktail hour late this afternoon, as we sat outside enjoying life, Les spotted a Rufous Motmot near the back of the house - it was a great way to end a great day.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Going Birding in the Neighborhood

On Monday September 28th, Les walked up the road a few steps to make a cell phone call. While he was chatting, he spotted the Tropical Screech-Owl at its day roost. After Les finished his call to Alberto, he called me and said, "Come out, and bring your bins!" After viewing the owl, we saw a few warblers about, so we followed the flock up the road a little farther. We spent about 30 or 40 minutes with this flock (our most concentrated birding of the trip), and it was such fun for a couple of warbler-starved Californians. We saw multiples of American Redstart, Blackburnian Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, the usual tanagers plus Palm and Crimson-backed, and several Lesser Greenlets.

There were no vehicles on the roads during our mid-morning field trip. Later in the day a Cocoa Woodcreeper landed on one of the pine trees less than 20 feet from the kitchen door. We are liking this neighborhood more and more.