Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dota Cloudforest Metalmark and Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl

After the first day's whirlwind of lifers for the participants on my Costa Rica tour (some got more than 50), the next day at San Gerardo de Dota was a little less intense – fewer species but more specialties and regional endemics. Here I'll show a couple – a butterfly and a bird.

This butterfly, Corrachia leucoplaga was an exciting find, since I hadn't seen one since Jim Brock's and my WINGS tour in 2006. Even back then it was exciting – Jim recognized it as a metalmark, but like none he had ever seen before. Thank goodness for Philip J. DeVries' book on the Riodinidae of Costa Rica for the ID and for letting us know how special this bug is. He apparently never saw one himself before writing the book and talked to only one person who had seen it – otherwise known from a small handful of specimens. My poor digiscoped photo of the 2006 one is the only photo of a live one I could find on the internet. Now I'll add this better digiscoped image, which will also soon be on my Flickr page.

Not far from the metalmarks (the steep track to the Savegre Lodge trailheads) was this Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl. This cute bugger flew in while we were standing there, but we probably wouldn't have noticed if it weren't for the sudden alarm calls of the Sooty-capped Bush-Tanagers in the tree below. I had heard that there was a nest here and really hoped to see this bird, as after leading tours to Costa Rica for the past 14 years I still hadn't come across one. But, ironically, I found one the day before at a random roadside stop on our way to the hotel. It responded when I imitated the call to try to bring in some small birds. That bird was a rufous morph, this one below (near the nest) is a brown morph.

1 comment:

Paul Clapham said...

Sometimes it's just luck, isn't it? I've only ever been to Central America once, but I saw a Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl when we hiked the Sendero de los Quetzales in Panama. Even though it was sitting on a branch hanging right above the trail, I only noticed it because it was being mobbed by hummingbirds.