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A-Birding from a Balcony

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Like I told Bill of the Birds, who felt bad each time he had to leave me to take another birding trip, there are far worse places to be stranded alone than Hotel Via Maya. The balcony made all the difference. And then there was the location--on the edge of a large lagoon patrolled by herons, jacanas, bat falcons; even host to sungrebes, which some were lucky enough to see. For Lynne and Mary: A Guatemalan stinker, lookin' innocent.
Closer by, tropical house wrens burbled and chattered. Zick , following with the telephoto, trying to get a clear twig window through which to shoot. Gotcha! you little sneak.
A magnolia warbler, doubtless beginning to think about the black spruces of its Canadian forest home. Goin' home to see Sara and Kelly.

A black-and-white warbler peers into some rootlets, or perhaps they're hyphae. One never quite knows in the tropics. Maybe there's a spider there he can eat before it jumps out at April.
I'd like to think this American redstart is planning to bring coals to Indigo Hill.
Wood thrush, will you bring your flute to our forest?
Our neighbor cut down all the big trees where you usually nest, but you can come over on our land.
Pretty bug, you can stay right here in Guatemala.
In the afternoons, a soft, accelerating whoop, ending in a growl, would sound from the trees off my balcony. I'd struggle up out of bed, knowing that this is the call of the black-headed trogon. Oh, so worth getting out of bed to see, I finally got a passable picture of him. He's 11" long--quite a bird, with his ice-blue eye ring, his white-tipped tail, yellow belly and contemplative gaze. A fine thing to see from one's sickbed. Thank you, trogon. Persistant high chirps, sounding like a tiny bird scolding, resolved into the display song of a rufous-tailed hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl). Yes, hummingbirds often sing--our Anna's is a great singer! but not many of us stop to notice the song; it's like the voice of a Who.
His throat puffed, he gives it his all, which, if you're a female tzacatl, is just enough.


Shoot! What an amazing time. It gives one pause about how vacations are so jam-packed. You saw some fantastic birds just by being still where you were. Yay!

You certainly made the most of your downtime. That Trogon is stunning, and the hummer, equally so. It's the little things...(no pun intended). I can't wait till I hear the Wood Thrush's "tweedle-dee bzzzttt"! (My friend Patty say it's "tweedle-dee BOING!")

Looks as if you're in good company when it comes to exotic vacation mishaps; Richard Thompson has had to postpone his spring tour, having been stung on his right hand by a scorpion while on vacation in Mexico. (It was RT's vacation, not the scorpion's.)

Some of those are so beautiful they look like they can't be real. Especially the Trogon with all those markings... so cool! Glad you still had such a great opportunity to see the birds.

If I ever have an extended illness, I know just the place to recuperate...the balcony at Hotel Via Maya.

Great birds and amazing close-ups for one who was pretty weak and unsteady.

Thanks for sharing.

I've never seen more beautiful birds. Amazing. And you didn't have to leave the hotel.

I suppose no one understands the nickname stinker unless they watched one feast on the edge of their backyard pond...

Love the bug. Will look for the warbler on his way home but our paths may not cross as we head to the Rock tomorrow morning. Maybe we will see something good there!

So excited to have found your blog
I've always enjoyed your art in BWD!


Hi Julie! Heard you on MN Public Radio talking about your starling. Loved it! Great story.

I too have a "I was so sick BUT I got out of bed to see it list! Funny it was in Tikal Chestnut colored Woodpecker! My illness came from an infected hang nail! The tropics are amazing how they grow stuff!

What a beautiful post!
That hummingbird is beautiful :)

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