SAN GERARDO DE DOTA VALLEY ALL DAY
WEATHER: a beautiful clear sky for most of the day, no wind. Cloudy later with very light drizzle
It was a beautiful morning, a cloudless sky, but it was quite chilly. Our main target bird of the whole trip was of course, the Resplendent Quetzal, so we met up at 5:30am to go and look for one. Jason our guide knew of a good spot where to find this enigmatic bird with the extra long tail. Unfortunately so did 40+ other birders that gathered around a section of woodland about a kilometer or so up the valley from our Lodge. We joined the throng and waited, searching the woodland for anything green and red that moved. Eventually the bird was spotted, it was distant and before long it dropped down out of sight.
RESPLENDENT QUETZAL - Richard Pettett
As we walked further up the hill we noticed people behind running down the hill back the way we had come, the bird had been relocated and it was Linda that realised first, that the bird was perched in the grounds of our Lodge some 100 meters below us! We jumped back on to the bus and drove down to our car park all the other birders we stuck at the closed gate. Over the next 30 minutes we superb views of both the male and female birds taking it in turns to visit a tree to continue pecking out a hole. What a great way to watch one of the most wanted species in the confines of our own garden! Other birds seen during our morning excursion were Black Guan and Dusty-capped Chlorospringus, both of which were new for our list.
the Rufous-collared Sparrow is very common around the lodge
We ate breakfast at 7am and left the lodge at 8:30am for a walk in the cloud forest at the bottom of the valley, along the way we stopped the bus to look at a Streak-breasted Treehunter and as we rounded a bend there was a bunch of birders looking up into a tree. It would have been rude not to have stopped and asked what they were looking at. At least three Quetzals were in a fruiting avocado tree above the birders, we also found a Northern Emerald Toucanet, blimey this is turning into a cracking day!
Northern Emerald Toucanet
At the end of the valley we took the Waterfall track for a mile or so before veering off into the forest. It was a typical forest walk we had lots of sightings near the start of the track and then it went very quiet seeing just one or two species every 100 meters or so. A bridge over the river Savegre gave us good views in both directions, we hoped to see American Dipper but all we saw was one or two pairs of Torrent Tyrannulets, a Louisiana Waterthrush and a Mountain Thrush.
Yellowish Warbler - Richard Pettett
Near the bridge Jason found a few species for us, Ochraceous Wrens, Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, Tufted Flycatcher, Mountain Elaenia and Spot-crowned Woodcreeper. It was after walking for about an hour we bumped into a feeding flock and luckily for us they were not moving through the trees very fast. Jason very quickly reeled off a number of species and we managed to find them: Flame-throated Warbler was a big hit, Brown-capped Vireo, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Ruddy Treerunner, Streaked Xenops, Golden-winged Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler (a beautiful male bird) and several others.
On the return trip we found even more birds in a flock, we added Buffy Tuftedcheek, Barred Becard, Yellowish Flycatcher and we heard Black-faced Solitaire and Rufous-browed Peppershrike. We boarded the bus for a drive up the valley for a lunch stop, Jason spotted an American Dipper in the river and we all piled out, we got short views of a pair of dippers.
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush - Richard Pettett
The small restaurant had a bird-feeding station and on it when we arrived was two Acorn Woodpeckers, Flame-coloured Tanagers, Rufous-collared Sparrows, Dusky-capped Chlorospingus and a few Mountain Thrushes. Above us we saw Blue-and-White Swallows, Vaux’s and White-collared Swifts. After lunch we drove back down the valley and stopped a couple of kilometers before our Lodge, most of us got off to walk back and others opted to bird in the grounds of the lodge.
Acorn Woodpecker - Richard Pettett
Rufous-browed Peppershrike was seen very well and another new bird for our list was Peg-billed Finch seen in the same bush as the Peppershrike. All of other sightings were of common birds. Some of the group watched a couple of American Dippers in the grounds whilst we were walking back. The afternoon then just petered out, we had arranged an early dinner so that we could got out for an ‘Owl Prowl’ afterwards.
Rufous-browed Peppershrike - Richard Pettett
Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher - Richard Pettett
Our owl-prowl turn up nothing - we did hear a Dusky Nightjar calling a few times but it never came anywhere near us.