Sunday, August 18, 2013

Talari Mountain Lodge Part I

Squirrel Cuckoo is one of my favorite tropical birds. Sure they are widespread and relatively common, but I still cannot bring myself to get over them. They cripple me. Call me a cuckoo-stroker, I am not ashamed.

Sunday. As you read this I am on Brian Patteson's pelagic trip in North Carolina, hopefully lifering hard. Full and total coverage of this bird blitz coming soon. Until then, check out some pura vida.

After descending from the Talamacas, our group of nerds were surprised to find ourselves at Talari Mountain Lodge (not that it's anywhere near a mountain), which was the first stop we made on the Pacific Slope and completely unscheduled. By the time we got out of the car, we were all drooling for new birds, and Dipper Dan had already decided that he wanted to move to San Isidro del General (the neighboring city) for the rest of his life, although I have no idea why. We got our lifer Fiery-billed Aracaris as soon as we got out of the car, and we were quickly apprehended by the lodge's lady in charge and shown rooms. Their cabinas were very nice and reasonably priced, and with hardly anyone else staying there and new birds everywhere we looked, we had no choice but to spend a night.

This spot was a great introduction to the birds of the southern Pacific Slope, and many lifers were had, including stuff we did not get anywhere else on the trip. After getting relatively few new birds on our last day birding the Talamancas, we were back in the realm of multiple birdgasms.

These are enormous birds, making look most squirrels look puny, underdeveloped and hideous in comparison.

Yellow-headed Caracara is one of the commonest raptors on the Pacific Slope of Costa Rica. This was not a bird that one has to make an effort in order to see, although I was beside myself when we saw our first one at the lodge.

A male Red-legged Honeycreeper joins a female Cherrie's Tanager on a cluster of bananas. The cluster of banana trees next to the lodge's deck attracts a variety of frugivores (as do their fruit feeders).

Red-legged Honeycreeper is one of the most accessible cripplers in Costa Rica, where the Economy of Style is not in fashion. They are pretty much feeder birds, which I find to be a ridiculous concept. Above the honeycreeper, a Palm Tanager contemplates its dullness.


We saw a number of Tropical Gnatcatchers on the grounds at the lodge. Like gnatcatchers of the north, they are easy to detect by call. Males have black hoods...we never did catch up with any White-lored Gnatcatchers, but one new one is good enough for me.

A number of Blue Dacnis were members of the mixed flocks at Talari; this female was kind enough to actually pose for a picture. 

Lineated Woodpecker, about the size of a Pileated, never fails to bump up the heart rate.

This bird was coming in to the previously-mentioned banana cluster. Very un-pileated like.

A BB&B Costa Rica post wouldn't be complete without a bad photo of a drab bird; to fulfill my obligations, here is a female White-winged Becard, member of many a mixed flock.

Next to our cabina (above), we had Gray-headed Chachalaca, Gray-necked Wood-rail, Charming Hummingbird, Blue-crowned Motmot, Rufous-breasted Wren, etc. Dinner wasn't the cheapest but they did eventually cut us a deal; overall, a great place to stay. More to come on the next Costa Rica post.