The idea occurred to me when I was going through these photographs and the field guides that if you had a coloring book with page after page of tanagers to fill in, you could never come up with all of nature’s possible combinations.
We were very fortunate to be staying at the Chestnut-Capped Piha Reserve, where the feeders attracted a variety of tanagers. These are generally the photos taken with bananas in them.
Some of the tanagers were familiar, like the ubiquitous Blue-Gray Tanager, the Bay-Headed Tanager and the Speckled Tanager.
Hooded Mountain Tanager
I had also seen Palm Tanager before. It’s seems strange, though, to see a neotropical migrant species like the Summer Tanager on its wintering grounds.
I wish I had a better picture of the Beryl-Spangled Tanager, it’s so unusual. But then almost all of the tanagers are unusual.
Feel free to click on any of the pictures to get a larger view. This time I’m going to let the pictures do the talking. I am pretty worn out from work. Cold rainy weather afforded me an excuse to postpone the migrant hunt until tomorrow but we seem to have had a fallout of warblers with last night’s storm, and I want to try catching up with it.
I keep coming up with lots of valid excuses for not finishing anything. I seem to have everything half-started and that of course includes the project of going through the pictures from Colombia… But I am including a few pictures here although I am nowhere near done cropping and identifying everyone.
I have succumbed to the addictive distraction of the new BirdsEye app on my phone, which I downloaded before I went to Colombia along with the collection of Colombian bird songs. I added the monthly world-birder subscription (why not?) which automatically tells me where a bird was reported if I have an Internet connection. Another feature of the app is that it allows me to enter my life list without asking all the annoying questions like what day, what time, where were you precisely when you saw this bird…while at the same time syncing with whatever has been entered in ebird…so at last count I was somewhere around 1,236 with 5 or 6 countries to go… I still don’t consider myself a lister but I am just getting curious about the tally.
Blackburnian Warbler, wintering in Colombia, now thinking about Boreal Forest breeding grounds
You will eventually hear more about the home birds, but Blue the Last Budgie died of ripe old age last week and Dudlee Ann the Diamond Dove did not stop talking to me or perhaps to his memory, so I promised to get her a new budgie (not wanting to cross the line and try to find her a mate of her own species…!) and since Saturday we have been getting used to Jer (short for Jeremy or Jerry, we haven’t decided yet what’s going to stick) and he to us. He is a lovely green and yellow youngster. I wanted to go with traditional color even as the PetSmart attendant tried to push a pure white or yet another blue budgie on me.
While we’re on distraction, how about that weather, huh? Warm one week and cold, raining and windy the next (presently). If I were migrating I wouldn’t be venturing north at the moment.
As you may be able to tell, we ran into some familiar species like the Neotropical migrant warblers above, in addition to those not so familiar.
I promise there will be more tanagers when I get them all organized. These just snuck in with the Yellow-Green Vireo when I forgot to change the name as I processed the photos (either before or after I fell asleep?).
I leave you with two more photos of the Black-Capped Donacobius which seemed so thrilled to see us they posed for a lot of pictures, making it that much harder for me to choose!
I’m sorry it’s taking me so long to get back in the swing of blogging… I’m nowhere near halfway going through the pictures from my trip to Colombia. But I thought a few incredible hummingbirds might offset the disclaimer… To top it off, I’m ignoring chronological order.
Tourmaline Sunangel, Reserva Rio Blanco (adult male)
Whatever the reason these birds have evolved into such flashy specialists, you have to wonder if there really is any way to explain such intense beauty. I prefer to just chalk it up to the “Wow” factor.
Sword-Billed Hummingbird, Termales del Ruiz
I’ve seen a Sword-Billed Hummingbird before, likely in Peru, but not as well as at the feeders behind the restaurant/spa at Termales del Ruiz. While the hot springs were tempting, the hummingbird feeders were even more so.
Buff-Tailed Coronet, Reserva Rio Blanco
Buff-Tailed Coronets were everywhere at our first hummingbird heaven, the feeders at Rio Blanco, and yet they are beautiful even after you’ve seen so many of them. They also tended to pose nicely, perhaps because they considered themselves to be less conspicuous (safety in numbers).
Buffy Helmetcrest, Paramo, Los Nevados
The Buffy Helmetcrest was a Paramo target bird that proved easy to find the moment we got out of the vehicle that took us up to its preferred heights.
I don’t have much more to say at this point, except that perhaps Sunday I will manage to get through enough pictures to make more sense of the trip, seeing as how our weather forecast is for rain which makes yard work and birding less likely. So for the moment, I leave you with a few more pictures of these great birds.
I am just barely back from Colombia, so this will be a short post focused on One Bird, the Andean Condor, the sight of which perhaps trumped them all. (This bird does not respond to a recording. It appears at will.) And just our luck, when we were up in the Páramo at Los Nevados National Park, approximately 13,000-14,000 feet? – we saw this magnificent raptor very well.
The color leaves much to be desired, but this is not a particularly colorful bird so I am just happy to have captured the spirit of its flight. Click on the pictures if you want a closer look.
Some vegetation at Los Nevados
I have nine days of memories, of wonderful birds, great companions and the friendly Colombian people. For the moment, I leave you with a picture of a couple on their motorcycle with their dogs in tow. Check out those nifty helmets!
To be continued! Thanks to all for your interest and support. 🙂
I’ve had three months to think about my trip but of course reality never hits until I’m down to the wire. Procrastination is an ongoing and important process, however. As I try to clean and find things for the trip, which forces me to organize on one level, I run into the dilemma of where to put other postponed projects such as starting a life list in Excel or ebird, on another level.
My former neighbor spent the entire day Saturday routing out my kitchen sink…which pretty much took care of my whole day too, but I shredded papers until the machine would shred no more, and kept an eye on the birds who endured the noise, the house shaking, the comings and goings to the hardware store. Dudlee my Diamond Dove insisted on staying on her nest in the kitchen right above all the havoc. We’re not done with this project yet: when I get back we will get the catch basin cleaned out, something that likely has never been done since 1925. Apparently this is a common dilemma. A light bulb went off in my head when Abe described the process of removal of crud from the catch basin. It explained the evil stuff someone dumped behind my property a couple years ago in large plastic bags. I had “No Dumping” signs up for a while after that…Thankfully, the garbage haulers took it away. What do they do with this evil stuff? I’m not sure I want to know.
I still have to locate my sunglasses which I haven’t worn for at least 2 years, and I know I have several water bottle slings somewhere.
Then there’s all the extra stuff to remember to do like call the 800 numbers on the back of the credit cards, leave contact information with everybody, make sure the alarm company knows who to call if there’s an anomaly, set a timer on the stereo so the birds have music to fly by…
Packing itself is a major engineering feat. I have never had to pack so much in so little space, but I’m liking the challenge. There are some practical perks here. I won’t need anything fancy to wear for one special event, and although I am used to having the laptop with me it won’t be making this trip, but since I already got used to reviewing my pictures on the camera for three weeks in East Africa I should be able to get by for one week in Colombia. Not having to worry about the laptop is perhaps a blessing in disguise.
The cell phone will keep me connected, at times. And when it doesn’t, there is bliss in the realization that I am in the moment somewhere else on the planet and cannot be reached until I get back to the lodge, perhaps. A true vacation.
In case you’ve been wondering what any of this has to do with pictures of a Ring-Billed Gull with a peanut, I suggest the connection is no more than mutual exercises in futility. He stayed preoccupied with this peanut, since I also had crows in attendance who were enjoying them, for at least 10 minutes. His friend was unimpressed by it. Gulls can’t eat peanuts, but this one wanted to try. Alas, even after I shelled one for him he didn’t know what to do with it.
I hope to be back with one more post from my sporadic visits to the lakefront the past week, before I disappear for a couple weeks (trip time plus the aftermath). If I don’t manage one more post, thanks to all of you who have made it with me this far! 🙂