Yesterday I posted several shots of male Green-crowned Brilliants, but during this last trip to Costa Rica, females were more prevalent, by about four to one, especially at lower altitudes. This shot is again at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. I think both the male and female are among the most striking of the Central American hummers. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. My birds and wildlife modifications to Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
On our first full day in Costa Rica, between the hotel in San Jose and Selva Verde Lodge in the Sarapiqui River drainage, we always stop at La Paz Waterfall Gardens for birding and lunch. La Paz Waterfall Gardens is a private nature center just over the continental divide in on the north rim of the Central Valley. It is famous for its series of waterfalls on the La Paz River, and for its hummingbird feeders. On a good day, the feeders can attract over a dozen species of hummers. We were not there on a good day, but I still managed to catch this truly brilliant Green-crowned Brilliant. The hummingbird feeders are under a canopy of heavy vines growing over artistically realistic concrete support vines, so the light can be challenging. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My birds and wildlife modifications of Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
This used to be the Green Violet-ear Hummingbird, which distinguished it from the closely related Brown Violet-ear of slightly lower elevations, but in the wisdom of the bird name gods, it is now the Lesser Violet-ear. (Can it be long before the Brown Violet-ear becomes the Greater Violet-ear? Who knows.) The Lesser Violet-ear was by far the most common hummingbird around Savegre Mountain Resort and the Batsu Garden in San Gerardo de Dota this year. You can see in the first image where they get the Violet-ear name. They often flare the ear patch in a dominance display. Each of these images deserves a full screen view. All were taken at Batsu Garden on the mountain side above Savegre Mountain Resort. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My birds and wildlife modifications of Program mode. Processed in Polarr. (In the last two, there was a visually distracting over-exposed leaf in the bottom right corner which I edited out in Touch Retouch.)
Among the most active hummingbirds at Dave and Dave’s Costa Rican Nature Park were the White-necked Jacobins…a beautiful hummer that often flares it pure white tail in a dominance display. Light is always an issue in the rainforest, so these shots were all at high ISO, especaily as I wanted a high shutter speed to freeze action. I used my custom Birds in Flight and Action modifications of Program mode, which includes a Auto ISO Minimum Shutter Speed setting to keep the shutter speed above 1/1000th. All shots were processed in Polarr.
The White-throated Mountain Gem inhabits the higher elevations of Costa Rica, from about 6000 feet to timberline, mostly in the Talamanca Mountains south of the Central Valley and San Jose. We encountered this one at Batsu Garden on the mountain side above Savegre Mountain Resort in San Gerardo de Dota on the west slope of the mountains. It used to be called the Gray-tailed Mountain Gem. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My custom birds and wildlife modifications of Program mode. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.
The Stripe-throated Hermit, like most Hermit Hummingbirds, rarely perches where anyone can see it…or get a photo of it. Even field-guide photos are mostly flight shots. And, unlike the other Hermits, it is small…one of the smaller hummingbirds of Central America, so it is not easy to catch in flight. This is my best shot from 16 days in Costa Rica, taken at Dave and Dave’s Costa Rican Nature Pavilion in La Virgen. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My custom flight mode modifications of Program. 1/1000th. Processed in Polarr.
This is a series of shots at 10 frames per second of a White-necked Jacobin Hummingbird, taken at Dave and Dave’s Costa Rican Nature Pavilion in La Vergin, Costa Rica. Dave and Dave, father and son, have a wonderful set up for bird photography around their home, including a hummingbird feeding station that combines just enough feeders (with a low sugar content) to attract the birds, and enough natural nectar sources (with a higher sugar content) to keep them coming back and provide natural perches for photography. Google Photos found this sequence in images in my photo roll, taken with the Sony RX10iv, and animated it to a gif, which I then cropped and edited in ImgPlay, before re-saving it as a high quality gif and as a short video. Note the tongue 🙂 Dave and Dave’s is a must place to visit if you are in the Sarapiqui area of Costa Rica.
In going through some pics from early in the ZEISS Birding trip to Costa Rica, I came across this set of unprocessed shots of the Brown Violetear Hummingbird from La Paz Waterfall Gardens on the continental divide north of San Jose. Given the Polarr treatment, and assembled for viewing in ImgPlay, here they are. The Bird Name Gods have renamed the Green Violetear to Lesser Violetear. Can it be long before the Brown Violetear is the Greater Violetear? Not that they are not distinctly Green and Brown as well as Violeteared, but when has that ever mattered? Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
Whenever I stay at the Savegre Mountain Hotel (it might be the Savegre Mountain Resort now), in San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica, I try to arrange an afternoon at Batsu Gardens, high on the mountain-side across the Savegre River and overlooking the hotel grounds. One of the younger members of the founding pioneers’ family has established a garden with viewing shelters and feeders where you can sit and watch and photograph many species of mountain hummingbirds, tanagers, and the occasional Emerald Toucanet to your hearts content…all while sipping the supplied coffee. There is a restroom provided. All mod cons, and hummingbirds to boot! There are flowering and fruiting plants all around the viewing platform, so it is often possible to capture the hummingbirds away from the feeders, in a more natural setting. This plant attracted both the White-throated Mountain Gem (formerly the Grey-tailed Mountain Gem) and the Lesser Violet-ear (formerly the Green Violet-ear). Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My birds and wildlife modifications to Program Mode. Processed in Polarr.
The Magnificent Hummingbird was split a few years ago into two species. The Rivoli’s Hummingbird from the north portion of its range, including Southeast Arizona in the US, and the Talamanca Hummingbird from the mountains of Costa Rica and Panama. We spent the last days of both the ZEISS Birding trip and my Point and Shoot Nature Photography adventure in the Talamanca Mountains at Savegre Mountain Hotel in San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica where, of course, the Talamanca Hummingbird is common. This shot was taken at Miriam’s Quetzals, a small restaurant overlooking an Avocado tree where Resplendent Quetzals come in fruiting season. Miriam has built a small business out of the tree, serving coffee and hot chocolate and the occasional meal to birders who stop to see the Quetzals, and the other mountain birds that come to her feeders off the back deck of the restaurant. Miriam’s is a “required” stop for any birder on his or her way in to San Gerardo de Dota. Whatever they call this bird, it is still a magnificent hummingbird! Sony RX10iv at 600mm. My custom modifications of Program for birds and wildlife. Processed in Polarr. And, once more, you can join me on another Point and Shoot adventure in Costa Rica next December. Contact me.