Going back to Honduras for today’s pic. Alex Alvarado of Birds Honduras found this nest of Boat-billed Flycatchers on the grounds of Copan Ruins. He spotted one of the parents and then saw it go to the nest. The nestlings are pretty well grown. I imagine that they fledged soon after we saw them. In this shot they were actively awaiting mom or dad’s arrival with fresh food, and we did see the adult feeding them while we watched. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. 1/500th @ f4 @ ISO 800. Processed in Polarr.
Before it slips totally into memory, we return to Honduras for this Red-eyed Tree Frog, found by Elmer Escoto, our guide, on the night hike at The Lodge at Pico Bonito. The Lodge has dammed a small stream just into the rainforest to form two small ponds where the frogs breed. The tree frogs are only active a night, so you have to go out with flashlights and listen for their calls and track them down among the leaves. They don’t seem to be bothered by the lights, or by the camera flash. Once found they will pose. The trick is to get someone to hold a flashlight on them so you can focus, then let the camera flash light the frog.
Sony RX10iii at 412mm equivalent field of view. 1/60th @ f4 @ ISO 2500. Processed in Lightroom.
I have mentioned before that the Brown Violet-ear Hummingbirds were so dominent on this trip to Honduras (the Point and Shoot Nature Photographer adventure at the Lodge at Pico Bonito) that they suppressed the numbers of other species that we saw. They also got in each others’ way a lot 🙂 We saw a lot of confrontations between hummers competing for the same feeders and the same space. The Brown Violet-ear is not a flashy bird by hummingbird standards, but it makes up for it in attitude!
Sony RX10iii at 530mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 640 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.
The dominant Hummingbird species on our visit to Rio Santiago Resort in the North Coastal mountains of Honduras, by a ratio of 25 to 1, was the Brown Violet-ear. Rio Santiago Resort is actually a small lodge with a few cabins that is justly renowned for the numbers of hummingbirds and the numbers of hummingbird species that work feeders, too many to count, that they maintain. There were certainly hundreds, maybe thousands, of BVEs working the feeders at the lodge. For that reason, we saw far fewer species at the feeders than we expected. Even the most aggressive species, like the Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds, were kept at bay by the sheer numbers of BVEs. This shot, which actually shows the “violet ears”, was taken in the deep shade of the thatched roof over the open air restaurant/bar at the lodge. The roof is lined with maybe 50 feeders, and there are always a hundred or more hummers buzzing overhead while you eat. It is hard to imagine the density of hummers. I was able to stand at at less than 3 feet from the wire supporting the feeders and frame as many BVEs as I wanted. It was dark under there, and this shot was taken at a very high ISO…but it is exactly the kind of shot the Sony JPEG engine does best with, even at such an elivated ISO. Lots of fine detail and a blank background. Sony’s noise reduction routines work very well here.
Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 6400 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.
We took a night hike at the Lodge at Pico Bonito, looking for Owls, reptiles, Red-eyed Tree Frogs, and whatever we might find. We heard the Vermiculated Screech Owl, and Mottled Owl, but could not see either of them. The Red-eyed Tree Frogs were great, and we found no snakes 🙂 What we did find was a Kinkajou, high in the canopy, taking as much interest in us as we were in him. Our guide, Elemer, first heard something moving high in the trees while we were looking at moths on the moth sheet near the edge of the forest on our way to the Tower and frog pond but could not see it. Then as we walked through the rainforest up to the tower in the dark, he must have heard it overhead (Elmer hears everything), and we got our lights on it. It had apparently heard us and come over to check us out. With the lights on it for focus, I popped up my flash and tried a few shots, which came out surprisingly well considering it was totally dark under the canopy. The eyes, of course, reflected back the flash. This is a collage of two shots…not two Kinkajous 🙂
The Kinkajou is a member of the same family as Raccoons and Cotis. It is not scarce within Central and South America, but is rarely seen as it is strictly nocturnal. There is evidently a trade in Kinkajous as pets (though why anyone would want a nocturnal animal as a pet is question I can’t answer) and for meat and leather (they evidently make wallets and saddles out of it). Honduras, in particular, strictly regulates any trade in Kinkajous.
Sony RX10iii at about 330mm equivalent field of view. Flash at ISO 3200. Processed in Lightroom (including red-eye removal).
So, is a Green Heron in Honduras more exotic, more tropical, than a Green Heron in Maine? The Green Heron is my favorite North American Heron, so, of course, I am delighted to find it anywhere. This bird, standing on a floating log along the edge of the main channel at Cuero y Salado National Wildlife Refuge on the Caribbean coast of Honduras is certainly all a Green Heron can be. I saw several in Honduras, looking and acting just like the ones I had seen a week earlier in Florida, or a month later in San Diego. Always a treat…and always exotic and tropical as far as I am concerned!
Nikon P900 at 1100mm equivalent field of view (before cropping). 1/500th @ ISO 200 @ f5.6. Processed and cropped for composition in Lightroom. It was taken from a moving boat on the river, so framing was not perfect 🙂
Outside here in Southern Maine, we are well into a spring snowstorm. About 3 inches on the ground as I write this and perhaps another 3 expected before noon. On the second day of spring! That is life in the northern latitudes. So, as an antidote, we will drop back 6 weeks to my time in Honduras, and the Rufous-tailed Hummingbird taken at the Rio Santiago Nature Lodge on the slopes of Pico Bonito.
I will return to Hondruas in June, at the height of hummingbird season, and we will spend at least one day at Rio Santiago. You can come too! It is a Point and Shoot Nature Photography adventure. Bring you camera and a Point and Shoot attitude, and we will have a lot of fun with the birds, mammals, butterflies, flowers, and landscapes of Honduras, all from the comfort of the the world class Lodge at Pico Bonito…in the company of fellow Point and Shoot photographers. Great photo ops, good learning, and great people. Visit my Point and Shoot Nature Photographer site for more information.
Nikon P900 at 1500mm equivalent field of view. 1/400th @ ISO 640 @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom. (We will have lots of time to learn to photograph hummers like this, and, for those who want it, even instruction in post processing).
This is your chance. Great pricing for a great Point and Shoot photo adventure.
This year we started our trip to Honduras with a few days at Panacam Lodge in the mountains near Lake Yojoa. The first morning there on our way to breakfast, this Blue-crowned Motmot perched on the porch rail of one of the cabins. It does not get any better than that. This is a high ISO, low light shot, but the colors are still topically intense.
Nikon P900 at 1440mm equivalent field of view. 1/60th @ ISO 800 @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom.
I have never seen a Long-billed Hermit perched. Never. I have seen them flying in the rain-forest. I have heard them calling, presumably from a perch, in dense foliage, and I have seen them at feeders at the Lodge at Pico Bonito and Rio Santiago Nature Lodge, but once they left the feeder, I could not track them to their perch. Therefore I had to resort to feeder shots at the Rio Santiago Nature Lodge for my pics. This is a big hummer…and I did not even catch the full length of the tail. If you look closely you will see that 1/3 of the long bill is inside the feeder tube.
Nikon P900 at 700mm equivalent field of view. Shutter preferred. 1/400th @ ISO 100 @ f5.6. Processed in Lightroom.
This is another set from Rio Santiago Nature Lodge, high on the shoulder of the mountain near Pico Bonito National Park. Their many feeders attract a wide variety of hummingbirds year-round. This is the Violet Saberwing, one of the larger tropical rain forest hummingbirds, and certainly one of the more spectacular. It is also one of the most common.
Nikon P610 and P900 at various focal lengths and exposures. Processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage.