Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) ~ by Raymond Barlow

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) by Raymond Barlow

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) by Raymond Barlow

 

That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. (Psalms 26:7 KJV)

Just wanted to share a really neat photo that Ray shared on his Facebook page. He is one of the first photographers that gave permission to use his photos.

Ray took this on one of his trips to Costa Rica. This is from his page:

2 Green-crowned Brilliant Hummingbirds sort out their problems in front of my guests during a photo-shoot in Costa Rica. Looks like mother and daughter here, we all wonder why nature needs to be so confrontational! (more with hummingbirds than any other of our planets species!)

I think the word “Mine” explains things.. :))

Special thanks to everyone for viewing my images!!

It is always so amazing to view more of the Lord’s Creation. He has also given Ray a great talent. Thanks, Ray.

Here’s another of those beautiful hummers.

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) Females Feeding by Raymond Barlow

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) Females Feeding by Raymond Barlow

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Found this on the Kid’s Blog – I’m still kicking up dust. I have less than 80 of the 412 articles left to relocate over here. Already finished the 51 pages. Then I can start fixing some of the problems I have caused here on this blog.. :))
See:

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – White-whiskered Puffbird

White-necked Puffbird (Notharchus hyperrhynchus) by Ian

White-necked Puffbird (Notharchus hyperrhynchus) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – White-whiskered Puffbird ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 11/11/10

Last week’s Asian Dowitcher prompted an amusing comment about bird names (‘Dowitcher Princess’) from a friend of mine on the list, thank you Peter, so how about the White-whiskered Puffbird, encountered in Carara Reserve on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica? Puffbirds get their name from their fluffy plumage and along with Nunbirds (black), Monklets (smaller and brown) and Nunlets (oddly, also small and brown) comprise a small Central and South America family of 22 species, all with slightly hooked bills, called the Bucconidae, related to the iridescent Jacamars (Galbulidae).

White-necked Puffbird (Notharchus hyperrhynchus) by Ian

White-necked Puffbird (Notharchus hyperrhynchus) by Ian

All these bird sit around quietly in forests, and are easily overlooked, waiting for their invertebrate prey to appear, which they then pounce on. The White-whiskered Puffbird, 20cm/8in in length, usually perches close to the understory at a height of 1 to 6m/3 – 30ft and have the reputation of being tame. It nests in holes in the ground, either on a slope or in a bank, and supposedly blocks the entrance to the nest hollow at night with green leaves. It prefers the lowlands and ranges from southern Mexico to the western side of the Andes in Colombia and Ecuador.

Related links:
Black-fronted Nunbird
White-fronted Nunbird
Rufous-tailed Jacamar

Other Costa Rican additions to the website include:
Scarlet Macaw
Double-striped thick-knee
Magnificent Hummingbird

And, for the wader-lovers, more photos of:
Terek Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Marbled Godwit

Best wishes,
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:
Bucconidae – Puffbirds are in the Piciformes Order which includes not only the Puffbirds, but also Jacamars, 3 families of Barbets, Honeyguides and Woodpeckers.

With all those new birds added from Costa Rica, you can discern that Ian had a great time on his visit. Now we have some more great photos for us armchair birdwatchers to view.

… we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. (1 Corinthians 8:1-3 ESV)

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Resplendent Quetzal

Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) by Ian

Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Resplendent Quetzal ~ Ian Montgomery

Newsletter 10-18-10

It looks like your collective prayers worked, thank you very much, so here is the legendary Resplendent Quetzal, the main goal of my visit to Costa Rica.

Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) by Ian2

Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) by Ian2

After a post-flight night in a hotel in the capital, San Jose, I drove to hotel called the Hotel Savegre ( http://www.savegre.co.cr/ ) in a town called San Gerardo de Dota in a valley in the mountains often now called Quetzal valley. On the following morning, I went out with an excellent guide called Melvin Fernandez who is attached to the hotel ( birdwatchersavegre@hotmail.com ) and within two hours he had taken me to a Quetzal-favoured avocado tree containing two pairs of Quetzals and I had taken photos to my hearts content.

Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) by Ian3

Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) by Ian3

The Resplendent Quetzal is regarded as the most spectacular bird in the Americas, and it would be easy to agree. The males are just sensational as you can see in the first three photos. At this time of the year the tail streamers are short, which actually makes photographing them easier as you can fit the whole bird in more easily. They shed the streamers in July and they gradually grow back month by month to their maximum extent of up to 64cm/25in in time for the breeding season.

Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) by Ian Female

Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) by Ian Female

The female, fourth photo, shows the birds Trogon affinities – they are members of the Trogon family, Trogonidae – and she is quite gorgeous in her own right, though completely eclipsed by her amazing partner.

The adjective legendary is literally the case and the legends and myths focus on three aspects: the divine nature of the bird, the the defeat of the Mayans by the Spanish and its symbolic representation of liberty. You can read all about it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resplendent_Quetzal and here http://blog.guatemalangenes.com/2009/03/legend-of-quetzal.html so I won’t repeat the details but just say that they add to the magic of the bird.

Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) by Ian5

Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) by Ian5

The tail streamers are not tail feathers – the tail is quite trogon-like – but erectible extensions of four of the feathers of the tail coverts, as you can see in the fifth photo. Similarly, the cloak-like feathers across the breast are the wing coverts.

Having photographed these amazing birds, mision completa as they say in Spanish, I was then free to relax and enjoy the rest of my stay in Costa Rica. The adventure, however, had just started and I have plenty of other interesting material for future birds of the week.

If you want to see the Quetzal, I highly recommend the Savegre Hotel. It’s family owned, has delightful gardens and its own primary cloud forest (the hotel is at 2,200m 7,200ft) and lots of trails, is on the Savegre River and Melvin tells me the best months for the Quetzal are February and March – I was there in the wet season and it rained heavily every afternoon.

I’m now back in California, due, flights permitting, to return to Australia tonight and looking forward to getting home.

Best wishes,
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

I am glad our prayers for your Quetzal were so speedily answered as were the ones for traveling mercies. That bird is a prize catch for most birdwatchers heading to Costa Rica.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalms 37:4-5 KJV)

To see Ian’s Trogonidae photos – Click Here

The Quetzals are part of the Trogonidae Family in the Trogoniformes Order.

Montezuma Oropendola by Donna L. Watkins

By Donna L. Watkins (Guest Author)

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins – Montezuma Oropendola – La Selva
The Montezuma Oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma) is a New World tropical bird and I’ve been getting quite a show from the colony that is nesting here at La Selva Reserve in Costa Rica.

The unforgettable song of the male is sung during his bowing display and consists of bubbling with loud gurgles. The male, while the female is hopefully watching, will execute a complete somersault around a branch while singing his medley of tunes. (View video at bottom of article.)

Male and female both have loud calls, but the male’s display that seems like he’s pretending to be a monkey swinging on the branch, is what keeps your attention. I’ve been here 8 days now and I am still fascinated by the show. There are definitely those who outdo others. Some just don’t take the dip far enough, and others look as if they’re playing “dead man’s fall.” I just don’t know how they can get themselves back up again so gracefully.

In a rare form of non-monogamous breeding, 3-10 Montezume Oropendola males establish a colony in a tree, often isolated, and defend a group of 10-30 females that will mate and nest in the colony. (see video below)

The males engage in fighting and aggressive displays, competing among themselves to mate with the females. Usually the most dominant and heavy males mate and are fathers to most of the colony’s young.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins – Montezuma Oropendola – Finca Luna Nueva
Male and female differ greatly in size. The male is 20″ in length (50 cm) and weighs over 18 ounces (520 gm), while the female is 15″ (38 cm) and weighs about 8 ounces.

Adult males are mostly chestnut-colored with a blackish head and rump with a show-off tail that is bright yellow. There is a bare blue cheek patch and a pink wattle that gives the bird an odd appearance, but who could resist it? Females are similar with a smaller wattle.

Its range is listed as Gulf-Caribbean slope of Southern Mexico and southern Pacific slope of Nicaragua and Costa Rica to Central Panama. It’s quite a common bird in parts of its range often seen in flocks foraging in trees for small vertebrates, large insects, nectar, and fruit. Outside the breeding season, this species moves around, so it’s fortunate for me that I am getting to enjoy them during breeding season.

The Montezuma Oropendola inhabits forest canopy, edges and old plantations. They have chosen a tree in an open area here at La Selva. They’re easily bothered while foraging, but are very confident when on their breeding tree.

Oropendolas weave a large bag-like nest 2-6 ft. long that hangs from the ends of tree branches with many on the same tree. It’s woven of fibers and vines high in a tree.

Almost always built by females who also incubate the 2 dark-spotted white or buff eggs at the bottom of the pouch for 11-14 days. The male guards the nest. The nestlings are fed by the female with the young fledging in 30 days. There are generally about 30 nests in a colony, but up to 172 have been recorded.

To imagine the size of the pouch nests that can be from 2-6 feet long, keep in mind that the male is 20 in. long and the female 15 in. I’m not sure whether it’s a male or female at the top of one of these nests, but it shows how long the pouches are regardless.

References:
Costa Rica: The Ecotravellers’ Wildlife Guide by Les Beletsky
http://www.Wikipedia.com
View La Selva photo ablum.

Provided by and with Donna’s permission.

She has a nice video at the bottom of her post – Costa Rica: Montezuma Oropendola at The Nature in Us