Life in the Costa Rica Highlands

Note: After a computer failure while away from the US, I am now back in Colorado and resuming posts that will cover my remaining time in Costa Rica, as well as Colombia.

2 February 2018

For the past three months, Steve Dougill and I have primarily been stationed at Madre Selva where we band birds for Costa Rica Bird Observatories (CRBO). While I have posted three other blogs for our time banding in Costa Rica (Back to the Tropics: Banding in Costa Rica, The Land of Turtles, and Ringing in the New Year), I present you with a final post for the Costa Rica Highlands.

In this cloud forest landscape rich with regional endemics, Steve and I unfurl nets at first light and work well into the afternoon on a near daily basis. On the rare day off, we go birding and sometimes venture off on short excursions. One morning, we make it to the páramo, 25 kilometers up the highway. Here, we see our first Volcano Juncos and Timberline Wrens, both species only found in this unique sub-alpine habitat of Costa Rica and western Panama.

Volcano Junco (Junco vulcani), endemic to the Talamanca Páramo. As CRBO has done research here in the past, a few of the juncos are banded.
The habitat of the regional endemic Volcano Junco and Timberline Wren.

From our house and headquarters at Madre Selva, I often explore the surrounding forests. While the process of banding birds naturally allows for the up-close and detailed study of individual birds, observing them in their natural habitat is incredibly rewarding and valuable in itself.

Black-capped Flycatcher (Empidonax atriceps), a regional endemic.
Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris)
Talamanca Hummingbird (Eugenes spectabilis), a regional endemic.
Lesser Violetear (Colibri cyanotus)
Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis), a regional endemic.
A favorite hike leads to a few scenic waterfalls.

Below are a few last images of banding at Madre Selva . . .

Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher (Ptiliogonys caudatus), a regional endemic.
Scaled Antpitta (Grallaria guatimalensis)
Yellow-winged Vireo (Vireo carmioli), a regional endemic.
Large-footed Finch (Pezopetes capitalis), a regional endemic.
The eye of Costa Rica’s national bird, Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi).

2 thoughts on “Life in the Costa Rica Highlands

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