donderdag 24 december 2015

Costa Rica, going Volcano!

From the Caribbean it was now time for the Arenal region in central Costa Rica.
Arenal Volcano National Park is a Costa Rican national park in the central part of the country, forming the Arenal Tilaran Conservation Area. The park encompasses the Arenal Volcano, which "was" the most active in the country, which had previously been believed to be dormant until a major eruption in 1968. It neighbors Lake Arenal, which is the site of the country's largest hydroelectricity project, the Lake Arenal Dam.
Waking up by hummingbirds and viewing the Arenal Volcano is quite an experience.
A quiet hotel, but the scenery and birdlife were grand.
From our hotelroom hummingbirds were seen feeding from nectar, while a local squirrel was trying to get into the hotelrooms.
A logical bird to introduce here is the Quetzal, but I didn't see the bird, so I will focus on 3 other species:
the rufous-collared sparrow, the rufous-tailed hummingbird and the summer tanager.

Our first bird, a fine sparrow, was very present during breakfast, stealing food whenever possible.
Fast wing-flapping birds, but not afraid and a strong voice, singing from the top of a tree.
From a distance you could think it's a house sparrow. 
However, the house sparrow belongs to the genus Passer (family Passeridae) and the rufous-collared sparrow is a member of the genus Zonotrichia (family Emberizidae).
Seeing it closer it also looks more like relatives from the family Emberizidae. 
A joy to observe.

The rufous-tailed hummingbird is a bird you first hear and then see. The call reminded me of the wren.
Quick moving feeding on nectar it went from flower to flower. But I also saw it was territorial, bullying 
away other hummingbirds. Something I also saw in the future in Monteverde.
I have read this is one of the causes these birds are difficult to keep in aviaries. This always wondered me, 
because I did not see them in Burger's Zoo in my hometown Arnhem.
A great bird to see for a beginning hummingbirder!

Last but not least, the summer tanager, a winterguest from North-America. What a red color in the green canopy.
When seeing, you immediately recognize it.
Surprisingly, the first time I saw it (first heard the robin-like call), I thought I saw an escaped red canary 
(brings back memories), but bigger.
Tanagers are an unknown family to me, and I never thought they were so big with strong beaks.
Summer tanagers feed on wasps and bees which were abundant, but I did not see it.
Unfortunately I also didn't see the mustard-colored females. Next time!

Just a glimpse of the birds I saw. Next time Monteverde!



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