Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Photo Tour: Birding, Banding, and...

Aaron, Duaro, and Mike examining dusky-capped flycatcher
The last two weeks have been full of bird banding. We've stuffed our heads full of plenty of new species and are trying to remember the six-letter codes for each to speed up our data entry (example: long-billed hermit, a hummingbird, has Latin name Phaethornis longirostris, which becomes PHALON in our data sheet). There are also plenty of different criteria for determining the age and sex of birds, varying by species.

Red-capped manakin: fully adult males look like this,
but younger males and females look alike and are olive-colored
Some of our birds are ultra-tiny hummingbirds, but occasionally, too large to band, like this broad-winged hawk. Getting it out of the net was a two-person effort.

Our prettiest birds to date have included this green honeycreeper and golden-hooded tanager:

Our teenage Tico banders are awesome. How many US teens can rattle off dozens of Latin bird names? These guys also have a great sense of humor.

Keswar drinking scalding hot coffee
from a carefully folded leaf cup
What kind of book has these four teenage guys so engrossed?
Hummingbirds of Costa Rica, of course!
Sometimes, we find cool things like this caterpillar
when we're out working
When we're resting, we're often reading at the station and staking out the birds that visit the fruiting and flowering trees. Still trying to get a great shot of the keel-billed toucan, which, in spite of its size, is very shy. All the ones we've seen take off once they realize they're being watched.

Instead of the nesting woodpeckers we were hoping to photograph,
this lizard was kind enough to pose
Every week to week and a half, we get a little time off. On our last free weekend, we went to Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo. Very beautiful, but we felt like the trails stayed much too close to the main highway; we could hear traffic as we were walking.

Right now, we're in Parque Nacional Cahuita, and spent an enjoyable morning hiking...more on that to follow.

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