Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Cloud Forest - Costa Rica Part 1

San Jose at night

A year ago, our son Troy and his wife Carmen asked us if we would like to take an adventure to Costa Rica.  Our quick response was an emphatic "YES, when do we leave?"  We had one request; that they plan the entire trip - flights, lodging, bird guides, rental car, etc.  They planned an extraordinary 9 day trip to an extraordinary country through
Blue-Gray Tanager

The next three blogs will give you a taste of what we experienced.  Leaving chilly Madison with a layover in Dallas, we arrived in San Jose that evening.  Our first night was at the Hotel Alta de las Palomas, high on the hillside overlooking the city.  We birded the grounds before breakfast finding a quick 27 species of birds - most of them lifers...
Red-billed Pigeon

When the 4-wheel drive rental car arrived, we started our trek around the city up into the cloud forest.  Through the narrow, curving mountain roads to over 7,500 feet then down a gravel trail to the beautiful Trogon Lodge at San Gerarad de Dota.

Paradise in the valley's tropical forest, flowering bushes, waterfalls, hummingbirds zooming from flower to flower, bird song all around.  We stayed in a beautiful rustic cabin overlooking the trout ponds ( for meals at the restaurant).
Carmen and Troy at the Trogon Lodge

The rugged steep trails surrounded the lodge area.  A bit much for me, so I rested at the zip line bench as Ty, Troy and Carmen hiked to the waterfalls.  As I sat quietly - a beautiful streak of emerald green flew by me.  It was the female Resplendent Quetzal landing about 50 yards away just above a broken off tree.

All of a sudden the male came out of a nest cavity - flew off and the female went in.  This was our main target bird for the country and where was the family?   When they returned we waited a long time but she didn't come out and he didn't return.  We went back to the lodge but would return two times for the Quetzal show.
Resplendent Quetzal male in nest cavity

Ida looking up all the new birds

Red-tailed Squirrel

Sooty-capped Chloraspingus

Mountain Thrust

Ty climbing for the perfect photo

Green Spiny Lizard

Sooty Thrush
Our rustic cabin at the Trogon Lodge

Yellow-thighed Finch

Green Violetear Hummingbird

Magnificent Hummingbird on gigantic Hen & Chicks

Purple Throated Mountain Gem female
Overwhelmed with memories of this awesome adventure.
Ty & Ida Baumann

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

From the Gulf to Wisconsin

A few days at the beach is just what was needed before heading north to cooler temps.  Many birds were lingering along the shoreline at Caravelle's Ho Hum RV Park such as this spring clad Laughing Gull.  We had many Marbled Godwits and Red Knots also molting into their finest.
Red Knot

Emerald Moth

Bald Eagle

Redhead Duck - head close up

Hooded Warbler (abundant)

We spent 2 days at St. George Island State Park where an Oak/Pine/Palm Hammock drew in migrants from across the gulf.
Indigo Bunting

Louisiana Waterthrush

Prothonotary Warbler

St. George's Island is 9 miles of beautiful dunes and beaches where we will try birding during the peak migration some day.

We drove to the Florida Caverns State Park, beautiful Spring flowers lined the roadways such as this Yellow Pitcher Plant.
Yellow Pitcher Plant Flower

Soda Straw Stalactites  

The caverns were 8 rooms of beautiful formations with low tunnels to duck through to each room.

Wedding Cake and Organ formation

Red Admiral

Heading north we stayed at Wind Creek State Park in Alabama.  Camped on a beautiful lake and found many birds and other flora and fauna.
Martin Colony

Sweet Gum Flower and Seed Cluster

Northern Cricket Frog

Spider Egg Case

Question Mark Butterfly

Snapping Turtle

Gorgeous full moon over the water at Lake Murphyboro State Park in Tennessee.  Next morning as we drove early we saw the full lunar eclipse in the clear skies.

Onward, northward to Wisconsin; which we reached on Easter morning.  Birding familiar "haunts" again.

Until next time,  Love & Prayers,
Ida & Ty Baumann