Montezuma’s, Chestnut-headed, and Crested Oropendolas: Costa Rica — Golden-pendulums…Oropendolas…there are three in Costa Rica, and between our two December 2021 trips at least 4 of us (if you include Edwin, our guide, who sees these birds all the time) saw all three. The two common lowland Oropendolas are easy to see as high as the foothills (up into the the Central valley for the Montezuma) of the Caribbean slope. In fact the largest of the three, the Montezuma’s is pretty hard to miss. It’s bubbling, gargling call is emblematic of the rain forest, and its nest colonies, with up to 50 huge hanging nests (again “pendulous” nests) in a single large tree dominate many a ridge and clearing. Oropendolas are giant Orioles and it is perhaps easier to see that when you look at the nests. They are daily visitors to the feeders at Selva Verde Lodge along the Sarapique River. You can see their nest tree just across the road and up the hill. The Chestnut-headed is a somewhat smaller bird, and less common, but locally abundant and easy to see if you are in the right places. They come to the feeders at Dave and Dave’s Costa Rican Nature Park in La Virgen, not far from Selva Verde, and at Donde Cope’s in Gaupiles. These shots are from Selva Verde and Dave and Dave’s. The Crested is much harder to see. It is a South-American bird that just barely makes it up over the Costa Rican border in the far south-western corner of the country. It is locally common around San Vito. We saw this bird from the deck at the dinning hall at Las Cruces Biological Station (Wilson Botanical Gardens), but most birders seek out the well know colony trees just outside San Vito, only a few miles from Panama. Sony Rx10iv. Montezuma’s at 424mm equivalent. The others at 600mm. (The Crested is heavily cropped and enlarged for something more like 3000mm equivalent.) Montezuma and Chestnut-headed, Program mode with multi-frame noise reduction. Equivalent ISO 6400 @ f4 and 1/320th (Monte) and 1/500th (Chestnut). The Crested is Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/500th.

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