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¡Bueno dias, bird lovers! (Don't worry; this post will not be a test of your Spanish.)

I recently returned from several months south of the border. Over the weeks ahead I hope to dig myself out from under the pile of photographs I took on the trip. This work is, from my perspective, the primary downside of the digital photography revolution. I used to take a fraction as many pix when I had to pay to print them all.
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Part 1 can be found HERE


I was lucky enough to stumble upon this resplendent quetzal on one of my hikes thru the rainforest of Monteverde in Costa Rica.

I was even lucky enough to get a few shots (albeit not great ones).

He was much less shy than I had been led to believe them to be. Later, I even caught a few quiet moments of him singing his little quetzal song.

I hope to someday edit the audio spliced over the shots I took of him, but do not have the capacity to do so at the moment.

It is quite a spectacle with its tail feathers twice the length of its body. So colorful and regal.

Below are a couple more shots of him, and various other species I was able to capture on digifilm in my 3 weeks or so in Costa Rica.


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Few people can explain what it truly means to see a quetzal in its native habitat. Even before deforestation and climate change began to threaten these lovely birds, they were rare. The Mayans had valued their feathers for the elaborate headpieces they are known for, pushing the bird further from human eyes.



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It is a bit ridiculous to travel thousands of miles into what might be a shit job in a Conradian wasteland for the single bird, but it is more what the quetzal represents.  My fixation on birds has more to do with the forests, deserts grasslands, and jungles they live with and the fact that they are most conspicuous manifestations of their habitat. The cloud forests that the quetzal specialize in and symbolize are one of my great loves.  For me, the quetzal was a pilgrimage to the heart of this ecosystem to see the worldly incarnation of Quetzalcoatl, the wind god who occupies the frontier between earth and sky.

-Lynn Schofield: Mercenary Ornithologist

I feel especially blessed to have see one of these creatures after reading this passage...

It is not hard to see why they are the coverbird of so many books on Costa Rican wildlife

The queztal I saw kinda just sat there and watched me as I scaled the jungle to get a better/different perspective to see him.

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It was as if he was thinking -
Dude...I have never seen one of those shaved apes climb trees like that before. Usually they just blind me with white light even though it is the middle of the day and the cameras they are using clearly do not need the extra light.


           

Strangely, the quetzal sighting was some of my only birding in the country of Costa Rica. Maybe I had just gotten so many shots of the other species in the countries to the north. Maybe I had merely poor luck.

These roseate spoonbill were in some wetlands alongside the highway. I was able to get the shots because for once that day I was not on a bus but in a rented vehicle with friends.

roseate spoonbill
The other birds in that pond with the spoonbill are not clear to me. I am guessing an Ibis wood storks and a jacana, but the latter only cuz I was convinced I had seen them in the earlier diary.
And they say there is a lot of other wildlife in Costa Rica as well, but as we are talking about birds here, I do not want to  bore you all too much....

There were lots of primates everywhere. Mostly white-face monkeys. BUt I saw several of these adorable squirrel monkeys as well. Don't you just want one?

There were Crested Guan on one hike I was on, but they are so loud and fast that it is not an easy shoot unless one is poised with finger on trigger. And it was raining so that wasn't happening. I also saw coatis on that day, but they were a bit too far away to shoot. The other wildlife I was able to both see and get photos of, was this salamander,
and this moth.
The beach even provided a surprising animal encounter.
I guess it shocked me for 2 reasons-
1) He was on a beach not in an urban setting like a dumpster.
2) There were so many other animals in the area I didn't think raccoons would be able to get a toe hold in that ecosystem They are tough little buggers.

This massive iguana was not in the mood to do much besides chill out even though it is the middle of the day.

Watching them always just sitting motionless makes me wonder how they ever get enough to eat.

This unidentified frog was on the banks of a lake in the crater of a volcano.

Fitting volatile location to find a member of an order (Anura) so precariously balanced on this changing planet.

On the hike up to the lake, I tried desperately to get a decent shot of these majestic birds, but found I was a lens or 2 short of having the tools to get the job done.

Are they frigatebirds or some other soaring badass?
UPDATE:
The 'soaring badass' at the end is a swallow-tailed kite.  
matching mole
Lastly, the 3-toed sloth will slowly bring this post to a close. He was nice enough to de-cloak and pose for me. Easiest wild mammal photo ever. Once you actually notice him amongst the camouflage.
Hope you enjoyed this brief tour of my brief trip down south.

Stay tuned to this channel for a possible 3rd and final post in the series sometime soon.







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"Green Diary Rescue" is Back!



After a hiatus of over 1 1/2 years, Meteor Blades has revived his excellent series.  As MB explained, this weekly diary is a "round-up with excerpts and links... of the hard work so many Kossacks put into bringing matters of environmental concern to the community... I'll be starting out with some commentary of my own on an issue related to the environment, a word I take in its broadest meaning."

"Green Diary Rescue" will be posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page.  Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary. 


Originally posted to The Laughing Planet on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 06:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Birds and Birdwatching and DKos Travel Board.

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