I have been doing some clearing-out of unprocessed images on my iPad Pro and in the process found these shots of the Purple-throated Mountain Gem, taken in December at La Paz Waterfall Gardens on the first day of two weeks in Costa Rica. I knew I had only taken the time to download a few of the images from that day for processing, and, fortunately I had not formatted the card yet, and found these Gems! The Purple-throated Mountain Gem is a mid-altitude hummer, and is replaced by the White-throated Mountain Gem at higher elevations. They share the bold white eye-stripe and overall coloration…only the throat is distinctive. Both are among the most beautiful hummers in Central America. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My birds and wildlife modifications of Program mode. 1/250th @ f4 at ISO 800 (left) and ISO 250 (right). Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.
The Bananaquit is certainly one of the most common birds at mid-elevations in Costa Rica. This one was at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens just over the continental divide on the way from San Jose to the Sarapiqui region. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My birds and wildlife modifications to Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
The Black-cheeked Warbler is listed as “common” and endemic to the highlands of Costa Rica and Western Panama: the Central Volcanic Range in Costa Rica and the Talamanca range in Costa Rica and Panama. We saw it at elevations between 8,000 and 11,000 feet. This bird was at 11,000 on top of Bueno Vista Mountain, where it was much easier to see than in the old-growth Cloud Forest above Savegre Mountain Resort in the valley below. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My birds and wildlife modification of Program mode. Processed in Polarr. (for more on my Program mode modifications you might want to take a look at my eBook, Point and Shoot Nature Photography with the Sony RX10iv at https://psnp.info/psnp_/?p=1525 )
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.
There is a little Soda (mom and pop restaurant) and art gallery (Galeria de Calibries y Restaurante Cinchona) just up the road from La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Costa Rica, right up near the continental divide, on the way north from San Jose to the Sarapiqui region. They have a little deck built out over the steep drop into the Saraqiqui River Canyon, and both hummingbird and fruit feeders out for the birds. For $2 you can stop and watch the birds and be served a cup of coffee and a snack. Plus they have excellent views of the San Fernando Waterfall, one of the highest in Costa Rica, across the canyon. When we visited, we saw this moment of conflict on the fruit feeder between a Buff-throated Saltator and a Black-cowled Oriole (that is the ubiquitous Clay-colored Thrush, national bird of Costa Rica, out of focus in the foreground). Interesting moment. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Anti-motion Blur 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.
You have to be impressed by the variety and the amazing colors of Central America’s tanagers. If you lump in the Honeycreepers, which are really tanagers, you have a range of color variation that just might be unequaled in the avian world. This is the Golden-hooded Tanager, one of my favorites. It is less frequently seen at feeders in Costa Rica, and therefore more of a treat when you do see it. The photo in the vegetation is from La Selva Biological Station and the photo on the branch is from Dave and Dave’s Costa Rican Nature Park, both in the Sarapiqui River drainage in the Caribbean lowlands, and both a short drive from Selva Verde Lodge where we were staying. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My birds and wildlife modifications of Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
On our way from Selva Verde lodge to Savegre Mountain Resort in Costa Rica, we stopped along the Rio Sucio (I think that was the name of the river) to look once more for Sunbittern before heading up into the mountains. We did not find the Sunbittern, but we did find other birds of interest, including this Bare-throated Tiger-Heron. On the way back to the bus, the Tiger-Heron was sunning itself. I am not sure whether it was trying to cool off or to warm up…or perhaps the pose was to kill mites in the feathers. At any rate it was interesting. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My birds and wildlife modifications of Program mode. Processed in Polarr.