From Copan Ruinas to Pico Bonito
Well, I’m finally getting towards the end of the Honduras trip, with only about three more days worth of birding to go! I never thought it would take me so long to write up ten days worth of neotropical birding, but I guess a first visit to the neotropics tends to make birders a bit crazy. Anyway, when I left off we had just left the Mayan ruins. That night we had a nice dinner and an early bed because the next day our small group was going to get even smaller, as the post-festival participants headed out to the airport and we familiarity trip folks headed across the country to The Lodge at Pico Bonito. It was oddly tough saying good bye to some of the folks who we were parting ways from but even though I had only met them six days before we had spent so much time together that it felt like weeks, and good weeks at that. But more birds awaited us on the other side of the country so we were off!
But first I spent some more time photographing the birds in the trees around the buses, like the Yellow Warbler above, and ended up being the last birder on the bus. I also got tons of shots of a Yellow-winged Tanager that that came very close and cooperated lke you wouldn’t believe, but somehow all of those shots ended up out of focus and horrible…oh well, you win some and you lose some.
The looong ride was nicely broken up with another stop at a gas station/convenience store, this one lacking machine gun-toting guards, which, by this part of the trip, actually felt more odd than seeing machine gun-toting guards. It is amazing how quickly one gets used to seeing things that are usually anamolous. Another thing one has to get used to quickly when getting around Honduras is seeing lots of cows. It seems that everyone has a cow and they almost always seem to be going somewhere, like the cows below which were being driven by an honest-to-goodness cowboy, who had the hat and was riding a horse and everything. Somehow, like with the Yellow-winged Tanager, I missed getting a good picture of the cowboy.
Our second stop of the trip was in Tela, a seaside town on the Caribbean coast, for lunch. The enormous plate of shrimp and spaghetti I managed to eat most of knocked me out for most of the rest of the ride to Pico Bonito (and kept me focused on my plate so much that I didn’t even think to take any pictures of our one trip to the actual coast, where we added the only Brown Pelicans, Royal Terns, and Laughing Gulls of the trip while eating our late lunch).
Anyway, once we reached the entrance road to Pico Bonito we were all psyched to see some birds, and, just as importantly, to get out of the bus! So our stop for the Great Potoo was greatly appreciated on several levels, as were the lifer Lovely Cotingas, lifer White-collared Manakan, lifer Black-tailed Trogon, and lifer Brown-hooded Parrots, and a host of other birds that I had already seen but were wonderful to see nonetheless. At that point I was so happy just to be seeing birds and off the bus that I didn’t even think to take pictures of anything but the potoo (which would come back to haunt me as I never got a shot of any of those birds I just listed, all of which are definitely birds one wants pictures of)!
And I also didn’t think to take a picture of my new best friend, who I met about fifteen minutes later at the entrance of the lodge when I saw him holding a big cup made out of what looked like a coconut and the cup had some blue punch and ice it and an umbrella and when I got out of the bus and put my luggage down he asked if I wanted some rum poured in the drink and did I ever and then I had a rum drink in one hand and binoculars in the other and we were on the back porch of the main lodge and looking at great birds in a tropical paradise and drinking a delicious drink and it doesn’t get any better than that except a couple of minutes later when David pointed out my life Black-cowled Oriole (and, yes, I am aware this is the longest run-on sentence I have ever written but it pretty much captures the feeling of wonderfulness once we arrived at The Lodge at Pico Bonito).
Of course, there were more birds around but details of the stay at Pico Bonito will have to wait for the next post. In the meantime, enjoy this Rufous-tailed Hummingbird sitting on a flower in the rain.