Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Time at the Beautiful Savegre Mountain Lodge

After the warm temperatures that we experienced while birding in the Caribbean foothills, it was a relief to get up the the higher elevation of the Savegre Mountain Lodge. When we arrived, it was about 65° and sunny and I was surprised to find a small space heater in my room. I never expected to really be cold in Costa Rica but when I woke up in the middle of the night and it was about 50° in my room, I knew why they put a space heater in each room!

The view from these windows in the restaurant and bar was fantastic!
The view from Savegre Mountain Lodge.
We enjoyed birding along the river that runs right in front of the Savegre Mountain Lodge.
Our morning started out with some easy birding from the deck in front of the main building at the lodge and plenty of coffee to keep us warm. After a few minutes on the deck, we loaded in the van and headed down the road in search of quetzals.

When we arrived at the location, there were already several other vehicles there. Many of the people there and come to the area not really to go birding but to specifically see a Resplendent Quetzal. They all had a guide that they had hired and I was extremely disappointed in most of the guides behavior. There was no effort to find the birds on their own, instead they were all using speakers to blast out the call of the quetzal in an attempt to lure it in. It was shocking to me to see so many "professional guides" doing this all at once. I walked down the road farther to see if I might be able to find a quetzal away from all of the commotion. I ended up finding another guide with his two clients but he wasn't harassing the birds with their call, he was patiently scanning the trees to find one. It didn't take long before the two of us had found a male quetzal!

This male Resplendent Quetzal was found later in the
day but was in a better spot for photos!
I was able to catch Tyler's attention and the rest of the group joined me for great looks at the bird before the hoards of people caught up to us. Once the whole group caught up to us, the guides continued to use their speakers in an attempt to "get a better look." The quetzal didn't put up with this for long and took off never to be seen again.

We spent the rest of the day birding and hiking on the grounds of the lodge. Our hikes too us all over the property and we found some awesome birds including another quetzal that was spotted by Ethan after several others had walked right by it!

Collared Redstart was one of my favorite birds that we saw while at Savegre. They are known locally as "hombre del amigo" or
Friend of Man. One of them had taken to sneaking into the bar when the door would open and eating any insects that it could find inside!
Although it might be kind of plain colored, I really enjoyed seeing Eye-ring Flatbills.
The Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher is incredibly common at Savegre.
They tend to congregate in large groups and it wasn't uncommon to find 5-10 in a flock.
Costa Rica's Resident Red-tailed Hawks look a little different than we are used to in the Eastern US but they are the same species. 
This is the female Resplendent Quetzal that Ethan found during one of our hikes. What a great spot!
This beautiful bird is a Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch.
It was tough to get a photo because it spent it's time digging around in the leaves deep in the shadows. of the forest.

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