No Country for Old Prey, Nov 23rd

23 11 2010

(pale, immature) Hook Billed Kite

Headed down to the 170 foot El Torre (the Tower) at Discovery Center today for what turned out to be a slow day, photography wise.

Got up to the top of the tower about 7.15 and there wasn’t a lot going on in the canopy.  The most excitement came when two German tourists arrived and I was chatting with them and then one of them made a remark which could have been interpreted as deprecating to Americans. I kid you not, my ‘Well, we saved Europe from the Germans’ was halfway out of my mouth before I caught myself. It was a close thing, but I did catch myself. I ended up coming out with something like ‘Well, we did save Europe from..ger…em.ah..the whales’.  Guy looked at me like ‘WTF?’  But I didn’t get thrown off El Torre by two German tourists, so it was a good day.

Had a nice visit from a Semi-Plumbeous Hawk with perched within photo distance, but won’t bore you with images because I’ve already had much closer views/images and posted them early in the Blog. Later, had a nice flyby of a pale juvinile Hook Billed Kite. Damned impressive bird. Most immature birds aren’t that impressive, but this species is glorious even when not in adult plumage.

Later, I was standing near a pipe that’s welded to the side of the platform to hold the rain gauge and anneomeomete….ammeaomet…anemeometr… sensing stuff…and out of that pipe comes a true monster of a bee. Fully as big as my thumb. So I shot a picture of him for you, and then backed away before he attacked me and caused me to throw myself off El Torre (TWO close calls in one day).

Left El Torre about 10.30 and headed to the Ammo Dump Ponds to see what I could see. As I was leaving pipeline, I came across, The Two German Tourists afoot. In the interest of world peace, I asked them if they would like a ride or would prefer to walk, and when they indicated they preferred the ride I gave them a ride back into Gamboa to their Bed and Breakfast. I then went back out to Ammo Dump Ponds, but it was slow…just some nice shots of Kingbirds and a Ringed Kingfisher. I was hoping to catch some flight shots of Whistling Ducks, or perhaps get another shot of the GLORIOUS Yellow Tailed Oriole I’d seen there the evening before. No joy.

So I came back to the crib, had a couple of cervezas with Jesus (Yes, Jesus drinks beer..and you all thought he was just a wine and crackers man!) and headed up to my cama (bed) for El Siesta Grande. Life is good.

So tonight, two highly efficient predators. The Hook Billed Kite, and El Bee de Muerte….

Oh, and muchos gracias to Kevin Easley of Costa Rica Gateway (the best birding/adventure travel agency in Costa Rica) for his help with the ID on the Kite.

HUGE Bee: Last Seen Carrying off Small Children



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