Saturday, July 6, 2013

Night Stuff, Antbirds, and Toucans

Why yes, I am in Costa Rica.  Can't you tell by this red-eyed amphibian above?  [Photo by Katia Alpizar]
I just left Tortuguero the other day, and tomorrow am headed back up into the Talamanca highlands to Madre Selva for a nice break from the mosquitos (moscos) and sweating.  Just want to leave you all with some of the highlights from my last few days there.
This Jesus Christ lizard was not so happy with me after I snatched him off a branch while he was trying to sleep.  They're called that because they turn water into wine.  Or run on water.  I can't remember which. [Photo by Katia Alpizar]
Super pissed.  Sorry pal. [Photo by Katia Alpizar]
Back to the birds...

So we banded at some pretty cool places and caught some great stuff including a couple species of antbirds, 9 species of Hummingbirds, a White-whiskered Puffbird (yeah you saw that one already), and a KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN.  Yes these colorful birds are common-az-ell down here, but come on, holding that bad boy was a treat to say the least.  And speaking of treats, just put some fruit loops in your net next time and you're sure to catch one.  Get's 'em every time.  Hummingbirds included 4 species of Hermits (Long-billed, Bronzy, Stripe-throated, and Band-tailed Barbthroat), White-necked Jacobin, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Purple-crowned Woodnymph, Blue-throated Goldentail, and something that I'm missing.  All of these were both seen out of the net and banded.
Streak-headed Woodcreeper looking like a BAMF
Caught several of these – Western Slaty-Antshrike.  This one is a male with a pretty obvious, and slightly unusual molt limit.  Can you find it?
And this is the female.
And we caught this Squirrel Cuckoo.  Somebody needs a manicure....
NM really, just banding this Chestnut-backed Antbird 
Here is Sam "smiling" for the camera.  We take one picture of him in his lifetime, the least he could do is emote for us.
Yes, Sam is bigger than Katia's head.  Wow.  He also bites like you wouldn't believe.  Angry as sh*t.
Speaking of angry, if you've ever pulled a bat from a mist net, you know that they are probably the angriest animals on the planet.  They will literally do anything to get a chance to bite you.  Luckily I employed the oldest trick in the book.  Come from behind.  I don't know what it is (help anyone?) but my friend Chris Heckel (no relation to the founder of ecology, and great 19th century evolutionary biologist Ernst Haeckel) that it is in the leaf-nosed bat family to which vampire bats belong.  [Photo by Katia Alpizar]
Thanks for listening,
<3 Luke


  1. Like a bawse! Thanks for clearing up the whole Heckel/Haeckel thing; I was sincerely confused with that one.

    Also, I like your 'coming from behind' trick, very classic. Another trick you could look into is the 'wearing gloves' trick. Just lookin' out for ya, buddy!