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Outrageous Birds of Volcan Arenal

Saturday, February 28, 2015

 Black-cheeked woodpecker

I would love to claim to be a fabulous bird photographer. Nope. What I am is a decent photographer with a fabulous photo op. All these photos were taken on the grounds of Arenal Observatory Lodge in Costa Rica.  They've done it up right, with gorgeous, well-tended plantings of hummingbird-attracting flowers and some strategically-placed snags and perches.

Scaly-breasted hummingbird. It's rather dull in color, but it has a powerful lisping chirp with which the males advertise their presence from a dead twig.

Black-cowled orioles

Golden-olive woodpecker in cecropia...see him down on the stem?

Hepatic tanager, a Neotropical migrant that makes it up into the American Southwest. I've grown to love this bird's unusual dried-blood red, severe toothed bill and slightly mean face.

Great curassow, male.

And his fabulous mate. These turkey-sized birds are usually the first to go when people colonize primary forest. They're tasty. Seeing curassows generally means you're in a reserve where hunting isn't allowed. But nowhere in Costa Rica is hunting allowed. It's a concept...

  Coatimundi.  You may wonder how I got these fabulous photos. Am I that good? Nope. What's good is the setup.

All these creatures are wild and free-living, but they're being brought in by what must be one of the most wonderful and imaginative feeding stations I've ever seen.

The whoosh of wings, and two turkey-sized great curassows flump down on the feeding table, scattering tanagers and oropendolas alike. 

Now THAT's a feeder bird!

This just don't happen in southeast Ohio. Maybe if I put out bananas and papayas, I'd get curassows? Worth a try. Just crazy enough, it might work.


It's wonderful that there are places in the world that take care of their native species of animals. Thank you for the positive start to my day!

Posted by Anonymous March 1, 2015 at 3:53 AM

Coatimundi fan here. Thanks!

Wonderful post, Julie. It brings to mind a funny exchange I had with my father w-a-a-a-y back. I must have been 8 or 10 years old and already a nature nut. For some reason, my dad was trying to get me to say "ground hog," and I wasn't catching on to his clues. He finally said, "It's an animal that has a day named after it," to which I replied: "Coatimundi?"

What a sane place you're visiting! No hunting--what a concept. Enjoy!

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