Friday, 3 August 2012

Birthday Highlights

August 3
Great start to the day. As we finished breakfast, Eliecer called us to see a Mottled Owl perched deep in the creeper thick canopy behind the Lodge. Starting the day with a lifer.

Kate and Ron leave for the airport this morning, it will be David and we two until Sunday when David leaves. Don’t know yet whether others are due to arrive.
A short drive to the wooded hillside at the side of the volcanic crater in which the town is situated, before parking and walking. Mainly uphill, much of it muddy with pools of water from yesterday’s rain.
200 yards along the track, with a warning of ‘careful it’s muddy’ we were led down into the thick forest  for a hazardous and tentative 100 metres. We stood for 20 minutes waiting for a Black-faced Ant-pitta to appear. It called but moved further away – whilst we fended off mossies – silently of course. Not a tick for us but would have been good to see one again.
Not many birds around this morning but plenty of bugs and butterflies for us all to photograph. 

A 1 cm long Bug - even Eliecer photographed it.
Banded Peacock

False Tiger

Pink Banana. Not edible for humans but loved by Hummingbirds.
When I was beginning to think longingly of a seat, a new bird appeared, which I digiscoped. A Wedge-tailed Grassfinch, a speciality of the area. 

All the Canopy guides carry Leica scopes which they are happy to be used by all for digiscoping. They also have Leica bins, a sponsorship deal where they are replaced every two years.
After two and a half hours of walking uphill and down, I’d had enough to-day, still sore from yesterday’s exertions. A convenient stone was a handy perch at last. We waved Dave and Eliecer off and returned slowly to the vehicle, photographing as we went. It took us an hour. 

Fungus sp.

We perched on the tailgate, helped ourselves to the ever present cold juice and water and Canopy mix (M and Ms, salted peanuts and raisins, surprisingly good) and watched for birds. It wasn’t long before David and Eliecer appeared, they’d done a round walk. No new birds had been seen. Phew, that’s a relief!
Elias bought us a flat round cake thing and we drove back for lunch. On the way to our room I took a few photos of birds on the feeding tables.

Lemon-rumped Tanager
It’s now post lunch and it’s been raining for the last half an hour. We’re due out again at 3, I could do with a rest but am ever reluctant to miss anything.

Don't know where we went, but, it was very good. A drive through the village and a left turn into a well made road, past Millionaire's Row and then out into the countryside. The usual pattern of stopping, walking, Eliecer returning for the car and the same again. We saw some really good birds before the road suddenly ended at a river bank with a smallholding beyond. An enigma. Why such a good road suddenly ending?

Pam and David at road's end

What will be my Birthday Bird?

The Mottled Owl - not good views but I love owls
Garden Emerald - Lovely Hummingbird or
White-thighed Swallow ? - distant but lovely.

White-thighed Swallows

Garden Emerald it is.

Or should it be this superb, digiscoped, Heliconia Owlet  .....?

Dinner was another surprise. David, Pam and I were happily chatting away over a bottle of red (inc with dinner every night), wondering  whether we were having pudding to-night, it was late.

The lights went out, leaving a myriad candles. Kitchen staff arrived bearing a large birthday cake, two Roman Candle-like candles spouting shiny rain. Sara had organised it all from Australia. What a lovely, thoughtful thing to do.

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