Posts in Category: nature

Mammal of the day! Costa Rica

So I posed a bird of the day (Spectacled Owl), and a creature of the day (Eyelash Pit-viper, on Facebook and Instagram) from the 2nd day of the Point and Shoot Nature Photography Adventure in Costa Rica already. This has to be the mammal of the day. A Three-toed (or more properly, 3 fingered) Sloth at Donde Cope…Jose Perez’s home in La Union Costa Rica. He has a pair of Sloths living in his tiny garden. This male was slowly working through the vines just above our heads. I was after dark and raining so this was taken with the light of my little light cube mounted in the flash shoe of my Sony Rx10iv in Anti-motion blur mode. It is only at 254mm equivalent and it is a full frame shot (not cropped) so you might be able to appreciated just how close we were. The difficulty was catching the sloth’s face exposed as it climbed the among the vines. Yes, we are having fun in Costa Rica!

Spectacled Owl, Costa Rica

The bird of the day for our second full day on the Point and Shoot Nature Photography Adventure in Costa Rica was probably this immature Spectacled Owl, which Cope found for us a few miles from his home in La Union de Gaupiles in Limon, Costa Rica. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Anti-motion blur mode, with supplemental light from a light cube attached to the flash shoe. Processed in Polarr.

Emerald Toucanet/Blue-throated Emerald Toucanet

One of the problems with my yearly Point and Shoot Nature Photography Adventures in Costa Rica is that the first day is always so spectacular that it sets a high bar for the remainder of the trip. We start in the morning birding around the hotel grounds above San Jose, and then move on to the hummingbirds and barbets and and warblers and butterflies of La Paz Waterfall Gardens…then stop at at the little back deck at Soda Y Mirador Cinchona for toucanets and more barbets and tanagers and guans and more hummingbirds and arrive at Selva Verde in time for the 5 o’clock Howler Monkey serenade. Most people see more birds in that single day than they see in several months in North America. If Costa Rica was not so rich in birds and wildlife and scenery, and it each day did not top the last, the trip might be all downhill after the first day.

I am writing and posting this tonight, for tomorrow morning, since we will meet at 5am to bird the entrance road…the world famous entrance road…to the La Silva Biological Station. La Silva is often sited as having one of the highest biodiversities of anywhere in the world. And then in the afternoon, we will go hunting owls and bats and wood rails, iguanas and glass frogs, with Cope, around his little half acre paradise and the further neighborhood. Better and better.

What we have here is an Emerald, or Blue-throated Emerald Toucanet at Soda Y Mirador Cinchona. There were three, at eye-level and at about 12 feet. Then one came into the fruit feeder at the corner of the porch and sat less than 4 feet from our fascinated and happy faces. I could literally have petted its head as it feed on the fruit. Happy faces indeed.

Posting may be erratic and in the evening instead of the morning as I have a few more minutes after supper than before breakfast. There is no place in the world for bird photography that is better than Costa Rica 🙂

Hoffmann’s Woodpecker: Costa Rica

Here we are just outside San Jose in Costa Rica, at the Bueno Vista Hotel, and soon after arrival we were graced by not one, but three Hoffmann’s Woodpeckers. You can see the marked resemblance to several North American woodpeckers. Note the erected crown. Evidently at least two the birds were male and displaying some signs of dominance behavior. Sony Rx10iv at 1200mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Cranes and sun dog…

On my one fly-in at the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (Socorro, New Mexico, USA) this year, we were graced by a sun dog in the sunset. It was subtle, but there. I waited patiently for at least a few Sandhill Cranes to fly by it on their way into the shallow pond for the night. It was low on the horizon and most of the cranes came in too high or too low. Patience was eventually rewarded. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 475mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Mini Panic, Bosque del Apache NWR

Socorro, New Mexico, USA. As I said in yesterday’s post, I never did see a full scale panic of Snow Geese this year at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge while I was there for the Festival of the Cranes. But I did see several mixed mini panics, involving both Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese. And that is really odd because Cranes do not startle like that very often, at least in my limited experience. Generally Cranes are very deliberate, even about moving from one field to another. They go family by family after much apparent consideration. They don’t leap into the air in a bunch. Who knows what was up at Bosque this year. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Snow Geese flying

I realized this morning that I have not yet posted a close up photo of the other stars of the Bosque del Apache Festival of the Cranes from this year. As well as 14,000 Sandhill Cranes, between 30,000 and 40,000 Snow Geese winter at the Bosque. This is the first year I have visited Bosque without seeing a Snow Goose panic…when several thousand geese take to the air, calling and circling for between 5 and 15 minutes before settling. The geese were dispersed this year…feeding in several newly flooded fields, and not congregating in very large numbers in any single place. Perhaps that is why I saw no panics. I saw the geese rise in potential panics…but never enough at a time to pull the whole flock into the air. They always settled within seconds. ??? There were still lots of geese in the air as they moved in small flocks from field to field, so there were still opportunities to practice my birds in flight skills on Snow Geese, and I got some decent shots. You will want to view this one at as large as your screen allows…or maybe I should say, “I would like you to.” 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Lesser Goldfinch

It is not all birds in flight…not all Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese…at the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (Socorro, New Mexico, USA). This shot of a Lessor Goldfinch was taken right behind the Expo Tent in the Cactus Garden at the Visitor Center. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications (just testing how it worked for stationary birds). Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Cranes against the sunset

I have to get out for the sunset at least once during any trip to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (Socorro, New Mexico, USA) during the Festival of the Cranes. This year it was not the best sunset ever, but the Sandhill Cranes performed up to their usual excellent standard. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Dancing Cranes

We were out at the “Crane” ponds along Rt 1 north of the visitor center at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (Socorro, New Mexico, USA) to catch the Sandhill Cranes flying in to their night roost in the shallow water. The sun had already set, 15 minutes before, and the high desert river valley New Mexico dark was descending fast. We were already in ISO 6400 territory and shutter speeds too slow for comfort for the active birds. But when these two cranes decided to have a go at each other right in front of me, of course I swung the camera around and got off a burst. This ritualized combat, or dance, is part of the mating ritual and, though Sandhill Cranes mate for life, and only breed once a year, the courting goes on all year long. You are likely to see this happening somewhere in the flock any time of day. The trick is be looking at the right birds at the right moment, as the whole interaction only lasts, at least outside mating season, a few seconds. Since the colors were not strong this late in the day, I decided to process this image as a black-and-white. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. Processed in Polarr.