The Hallowed Honeymoon Hummingbird Hunt - Costa Rica - Part 3 - Rise of the Hummers

It was another pre-dawn start as we made the short, but slow going, drive to the entrance of monteverde reserve. 

Our aim was not the reserve itself, but the colibri cafe at the entrance, and it's hummingbird feeders. The time had come to build the hummingbird list up and now at a higher elevation the number of available species should be more extensive. 

Shortly after the light started to increase, we saw our first, the common but stunning Violet Sabrewing.

Violet Sabrewing

This was quickly followed up by Purple Throated Mountain Gem, Coppery Headed Emerald, Green Violetear (which  I believe may be now split, with Lesser Violetear being the species present here...lots of splitting going on in the tropics), Brown Violetear, Stripe Tailed Hummingbird, Green Crowned Brilliant and Green Hermit.
Purple Throated Mountain Gem - Male

Purple Throated Mountain Gem - Female
 Lesser Violetear
Coppery Headed Emerald - Costa rican endemic

Coppery Headed Emerald

A Barred Forrest Falcon made an appearance to the annoyance of, well, everything.
Barred Forest Falcon

Other species in the area included Brown Jay, Bananaquit and Hepatic Tanager.

We made our way back to the hotel for breakfast, before making our way towards Santa Elena reserve, with a quick stop at the hummingbird garden just before the reserve. This was well worth the $5 entry fee. Mental scenes, with hummingbirds happy to perch on people as they fed. Green Thorntail was a real feature here.

Green Thorntail

Green Crowned Brilliant - immature

Green Crowned Brilliant - Juv

Purple Throated Mountain Gem - Stunning male

Juv Green Crowned Brilliant and Lesser Violetear

Green Crowned Brilliant - Female

Coppery Headed Emerald - Female

Green Thorntail

Violet Sabrewing
Violet Sabrewing - "Confiding"

Hummingbird bliss
Male Green Crowned Brilliant - "Plain" green is likely a poor description
Amazing birds
vmmm vmmm

Coppery Headed Emerald - Living up to the name

Purple Throated Mountain Gem

Santa Elena reserve was a beautiful place and we spent hours hiking here, producing flocks of various Tanagers, Flycatchers and Woodcreepers, Tree Striped Warblers, Black faced Solitaires, etc etc

Cloud Forest at Santa Elena

Black Faced Solitaire

Slaty Backed Nightingale Thrush
Slaty Backed Nightingale Thrush
Three Striped Warbler - Unimaginative name. Nice bird.

Grey Breasted Wood Wren 

After half the day spent in the cloud forest, it was time to push on towards Arenal.

Once we crossed over to the Caribbean side of the mountains we began to see different species, such as Montezuma Orpendola (Monty's) and Keel Billed Toucans.

Tropical Parula - One of the birds of the trip for me. Stonking. 

Keel Billed Toucan
Keel Billed Toucan - I fell in love with the various Toucans, but they constantly gave me cravings for Guinness.

Plain Chachalaca - From Parulas and Toucans to this...Brown Gank

We made it into the Arenal area late evening and began to see birds like Amazon Kingfisher, various Honeycreepers and Collared Aracari before checking into Arenal Observatory lodge late evening, (superb accomodation and a must for birders wanting to work the area early morning). 

Our cabin turned out to be located right beside a hummingbird roost, and as dusk descended we watched them zip in at lightening speed, including 1 that was undoubtedly a male Snowcap, but was too brief to tick at this juncture.

A hearty dinner in the restaurant, sampling a couple of local IPA's and anticipation of another early start in the morning.


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