After leaving Casa Tangara dowii, we headed up the mountain to find the hummingbirds that like the cloud forests in the higher elevations. Our home for the next three nights would be Paraíso Quetzal Lodge, located in in the little mountain town of San Gerardo de Dota.
They tell me that on a clear day you can see both the Caribbean and the Pacific from here. Although the view was fantastic, it never really got clear enough to see if this is true!
Coming from the US, I consider Costa Rica to be a tiny country. But I don't think there is anywhere in the US where after a two hour drive you go from sleeping under a mosquito net to having to sleep under seven blankets wearing long underwear. Luckily I have learned to pack prepared for this.
I was assured that this was the location where I would see many Fiery-throated Hummingbirds, a bird that is endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama. They love the higher elevations and everyone sees them here. NOT EVERYONE. After two days of searching at Paraíso Quetzal and two other nearby locations where they are also plentiful, I gave up.
I saw one male very briefly and I snapped a photo. He has a leaf in the way of his head. I guess technically I can say that I have photographed this species, but I need to come back to get proper pictures of this magnificent bird.
Jorge, the owner of the lodge, said that there is a fruit-bearing tree that these birds really like and they are in bloom now. He theorized that they are all around these trees and have no need to come up to the feeders. Here is my "Not Ready for National Geographic" picture of the Fiery-throated Hummingbird.
Although we saw a few female Volcano hummingbirds at Paraíso Quetzal, we could not find a male. Lalo called over to a friend at La Georgina Restaurante, and we headed there after they said there were lots of hummers in their gardens.
Again, no Fiery-throated hummers, but we found a beautiful male Volcano Hummingbird. Photographing this one little guy made my whole day, as he had loads of personality and he would perch in one spot for several minutes at a time. Hummingbirds don't always make it this easy for you to photograph them.
The next morning we headed over to Cabañas San Gerardo to spend the morning on the back porch at Miriam's Quetzals. This time we were looking specifically for the White-throated Mountain-gem, a hummer that frequents her feeders. And of course, I would be delighted if a Fiery-throated hummer would make an appearance! On the drive over William spotted a female Volcano hummer perched on a rusty piece of barbed wire by the side of the road. We stopped to get a picture and caught a few of her preening and fanning her tail. You can really appreciate her tiny size with her perched next to a barb!
We did find our target bird and got to photograph both a male and a female White-throated Mountain-gem. We also got more wonderful pictures of the Talamanca and Volcano hummingbirds. (But no fiery-throated here either.)
If you are at Miriam's Quetzals, you have to photograph a Resplendent Quetzal. Here's one that perched in a spot where we could get a photo. I'm not sure how these birds can see straight ahead with those feathers around their eyes.
I'm showing for comparison the photo of a Resplendent Quetzal that I took in Honduras in 2018. My photography skills have improved a bit since then!
hummingbirds of san gerardo de dota
We were at the end of an incredible Costa Rica adventure and it was time to travel to the airport in San Jose. But first we made a stop back at Casa Tangara dowii where we met up with Nigel Marven, noted wildlife adventurer, producer and director. Nigel is a friend of both Serge and William (William was one of Nigel's birding guides for his film "Wild Honduras"), and he is currently filming in Costa Rica. I'm always looking forward to seeing his new documentaries..