QUALITALES LODGE GROUNDS AND BIRDING TERRACE - EL COPAL NATURAL PARK
WEATHER: overcast all day but it stayed dry, no wind.
Our last day had arrived and what a great day we had. There were pelnty of birds out there that were not on our list and we hoped to mop up a few today. We had a wonderful start at the Waterfall birding platform, a purpose built covered platform with views over the waterfall and pool and of a forest trail. Thae gardens all around us were full of flowering plants and Hummingbirds, not a feeder in sight!
The specialities of the garden were Black-chested Hummingbird, White-bellied Mouintain and the Green Lancebill. We saw the first two and several other species but the Lancebill remained elusive. We also saw White-eared Ground-Sparrow as two them performed in front of the hide. The Speckled Tanager was a must see for most of the group and a couple showed really well for us.
After breakfast we set off for the Natural Park called El Copal a drive of about 1:30hrs. It is a cloud-forest reserve with a very steep entrance drive-way. Our bus got stuck in the mud on a particularly steep, sharp bend. We evacuted the bus and walked the final 500 meters to the reserve main office and centre, the bus was later recovered using a tractor.
During our walk we saw Tropical Parula, Blackburnian Warbler (a stunning male), Wilson's, Tennesee & Chestnut Sided Warblers. We also saw more tanagers, blue-and-Gray, Golden Hooded, Silver-throated, Scarlet-rumped and Crimson-collared Tanagers.
White-ruffed Manakin - by Richard Pettett
White-collared Manakin - Richard Pettett
During the rest of the morning we stood around the main visitor's centre watching many, many species, so many birds were fliting and feeding the bushes it was amazing. We saw White-collared and White-ruffed Manakins, White-vented and Tawny-capped Euphonias, Tawny-crested and Black-and-Yellow Tanagers and also the Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager.
The main attraction there was the Snowcap Hummingbird and we had plewnty of views of that little beauty, also feeding on the flowers were: Green Thorntail, White-bellied Mountain-Gem and Violet Sabrewing.
three pictures of the stunning Snowcap Hummingbird - taken by Richard Pettett
thisd one was taken with a much faster shutter speed so that you can see the wings
Black-faced Grosbeak, Yellow-faced Grassquit, Bicolured Hawk, Keel-billed Toucan, Brown Jay and both Mistletoe & Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrants, all turned up in the gardens. A little walk into the forest added a couple of species to the list including: Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush, Olivaceous Woodcreeper and we also saw Ruddy Treerunner.
Olivaceous Woodcreeper - Richard Pettett
We ate lunch in the restaurant before we made a move to return to our lodge, the bus had been 'helped' up the car park by a tractor. Our journey back down to the road was a little airy but our driver did very well. We stopped along the way back to search for Sunbittern buit all we found wasa Fasciated Tiger-Heron.
Fasciated Tiger-Heron - Richard Pettett
Tawny-crested Tanager - Richard Pettett
Back at our lodge we were promised a treat and that is what we got. The owner Jose, has been calling down some Antpittas, coaxing them with food. e has practiced this for a couple of years and as been very successful. Today he called down three Scaled Antpittas and near a bird-table we saw two Sooty-capped Bush-Finces. We waited by the pool for the appearance of the Lancebill but it never materialised, we did see a Stripe-throated Hermit before we gave up.