Costa Rica Travel Diary p 5
Silver-throated Tanager
10 March 2004
A great way to end the trip!  Yesterday I returned to my hotel near the airport; today I drive northeast toward Sarapiquí to to the famous coffee shop/rest stop, La Mirador.  One entire wall of the place is open, with fruit and sugar water feeders only a few feet away.  What better way to spend a morning than sipping coffee and enjoying the bird life?  And what birds!  The star is Silver-throated Tanager - a dozen are usually in sight.  It's not unusual to see 5 feeding on one slice of papaya.  Occasionally the fog becomes so thick that I cannot photograph birds 20 feet away, and as lunch draws near the turismo vans begin to pull up, but otherwise I have my own private photo shoot.

 

 

 

 



 

Red-headed Barbet (f) (61678 bytes)This is the Caribbean slope, so new birds appear:   Montezuma Oropendola, Passerini's and Crimson-collared Tanager to go with now-familiar Blue-gray Tanager, Common Bush-Tanager, Clay-colored Robin, and Baltimore Oriole.  The hummingbird lineup isn't too shabby either:  Violet Sabrewing, Coppery-headed Emerald, Green-fronted Brilliant, and Green Thorntail are all regulars.
    But my favorites are the 2 barbet species, Red-headed Barbet and Prong-billed Barbet.  As their oversized feet indicate, barbets are related to woodpeckers, and like them build nesting holes in dead trees.                                                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerald Toucanet (69254 bytes)When Emerald Toucanets show up, the smaller birds scatter.  Amid this wealth of birds I reflect on Alexander Skutch's philosophy of nature:  humans are the only species to develop an aesthetic sense and an appreciation of beauty in nature.  We value the colors and songs of birds - they enrich our lives.  Our awareness and valuation in turn adds relevance to their own existence.   Birds are of course oblivious to this, but whatever we value, we want to preserve for the future.   Nowhere is that lesson more obvious than among the beautiful birds of Costa Rica.                      

   

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