Cloud Forest Bound
The Clay-colored Robin is the Costa Rican national bird. It's an apt choice as they are ubiquitous when in the country! Along with Black Vulture, Great-tailed Grackle, and Cattle Egrets, I know I'll always see a Clay-colored Robin not too long after landing in San Jose (or at least hear its squeaky mewing call). So an adventure begins. I love visiting the tropics but as surely as I am in the US, I'm eager to get away from the city and into some real natural habitats with some more interesting birds. What I want is to get back up to the cloud forest.
Birds like Groove-billed Anis which barely reach the US are common in farmlands and along the scrubby roadsides as I drive toward Monteverde, along with White-winged & Ruddy Ground Doves, Gray Hawks, and Yellow-faced Grassquits.
As I climb ever higher into the foothills birds like the large Rufous-naped Wren begin to appear, along with stunning White-throated Magpie Jays...
Fruiting trees like figs and the like attract many Thrushes, and larger birds like Parakeets. This tree hosted larger Crimson-fronted Parakeets and the diminutive Orange-chinned Parakeets!
view from the road to Monteverde
Of course if I truly wanted my head in the clouds I'd have to climb higher still. The Cloud Forest is a damp environment that sits under the blanket of clouds much of the time. It is lush, green and beautiful.
Cloud forest Orchid species digiscoped December 2007
Orchids and ferns abound but lighting is usually less than great. You will want to bring a good rain coat and a very waterproof optic with lots of light gathering! Especially if you want to enjoy views of any of the following....
Gray-necked Wood-Rail digiscoped near Monteverde with Leica APO Televid 77 with zoom eyepiece and Leica C-lux 2 camera...