Background Switcher (Hidden)

Hummingbirds of Toro Amarillo

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rolling through the Central Highlands of Costa Rica in our Magic Bus, we saw some cool stuff. This adult fasciated tiger heron (had a bare-throated tiger heron in the last post) was waiting in a mountain stream for something hapless to float by. 

We were headed for a special mountain restaurant at a beautiful waterfall called El Toro Amarillo. 

The Brugmansias were spectacular, albeit, by virtue of their great size and long corollas, more attractive to nectivorous bats than hummingbirds. 

Spectacular. As was the restaurant seating area.

Proprietor Will speaks with John and Betty.

The very first bird I laid eyes on was strangely familiar. But it illustrated a tenet of birding--that if you see something familiar in an exotic place, it can look very unfamiliar. I was staring at this bird, struggling to identify it when Mario stepped over and said softly, "Look familiar?"

I turned to him in confusion. I'd never seen this molt stage of a ruby-throated hummingbird! You'd think, having raised four males from babies, I miiiight have some idea...

I moved on to the endemics and residents. They were easier than our ONE SPECIES of hummingbird east of the Mississippi. Yes, I am making fun of myself.

Here at the Yellow Bull, green-crowned brilliants joust and jabber

with the diminutive endemic coppery-headed emerald

and the impressive green hermit, a lunker with a fabulous decurved bill and bizarre pthalo green back. That's bounce light on his shiny bill, by the way; it's reddish but not that red in real life.

Oh you little mosasaur. I love you.

This montane squirrel (also an endemic) enjoyed some leftover pineapple.

And the hummingbirds just got better and better. I do love a good white-bellied mountain gem.

The violet sabrewings on this trip were elusive. Durned hard to catch.

If you want to know what they look like in good light, go to my post "I Sing the Sabrewing Electric."
where you will see more of THIS. I kept assuring folks we'd get great shots of this never happened in 2015. I was rolling in them in 2014. Every year, every place is different.

 The bird I'd never seen that I was really after was the green thorntail. You can't really tell how cool it is from this shot...

and then you get a back view, and you're all...what is that stuff on your tail??

So you follow this minuscule creature around a magic flower garden until you finally luck into the shot of your lifetime. No bigger than your pinky, clothed in emerald mail, all fancy in the butt end.

 Green thorntail, seen at last. Fairies, they fly, still and forever.


Beautiful hummingbird photos, Julie. I never imagined that squirrels would eat pineapple!

Posted by Anonymous March 18, 2015 at 8:48 PM

It is difficult to not be jealous, seeing hummingbirds that I will never see at my feeder, but that is my lot in life. Thank you for all these beautiful photos!

Oh so beautiful! The gorgeous birdies! Love them ALL!

Interesting to see the Brugmansias in their native habitat, we grow them here in Florida, Gabriel's Trumpets or Angel's Trumpets. Some cities have banned them after their hallucinogenic properties tempted local teens into partaking of brews/teas made from them.

Posted by Gail Spratley March 19, 2015 at 6:01 AM

I read somewhere that as those mountains are still rising, hummingbirds are expected to continue to evolve new species at an amazing rate!

Posted by Karen B. March 19, 2015 at 12:31 PM

Gosh, your photos are beautiful. I can only imagine seeing the little guys (or girls) in person. Thank you for sharing your very interesting life!

[Back to Top]