After the birding excursion to Cerro Azul Meambar National Park we birders returned to the Hotel Las Glorias where we had the afternoon free.  Most of us did what comes naturally to birders in a neotropical paradise with time on our hands: we birded some more!  And while there were a host of birds to be seen on the grounds of the hotel none of them, in this humble birder’s opinion, could top the amazing Keel-billed Toucans (Ramphastos sulfuratus).  There were three or four of them that frequented a dirt road through the coffee plantation that bordered the hotel grounds, and on my second walk through the area after our return several cooperated by sitting on bare branches and posing for me and my digiscoping rig.  Sweet!

There are some birds that just scream “You’re not in New York anymore!”  The motmots, the parrots, and the multitudes of hummingbirds all regularly reminded me that I was in the neotropics but the sight of Keel-billed Toucans flying overhead, looking like giant bills pulling tiny bodies behind them, managed the trick better than any other.  We regularly saw toucans during the trip but rarely got looks like we wanted.  And once you have seen the multihued bill, with green, orange, blue, and dark purple all combined, the chestnut undertail, the yellow face and bib, and the lime green around the eye you can’t help wanting to see them, and see them well, all of the time!  It doesn’t seem possible that such a bird could exist but there they were, right in front of us, feeding, flying, and being toucans.

This post has been submitted to Bird Photography Weekly #29.  Go check it out!

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.