Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Who Can? Toucan. I Can. And I Did.

I continued my Ornithological Photographs series over spring break by heading down to Costa Rica to work with researchers at an experimental farm and forest called CATIE.

Here's one of the study species of their project, a type of toucan called a Collared Aracari:

My favorite photo of the trip might be this very angry looking Boat-billed Flycatcher...

He's quite a contrast to the petite White-necked Jacobin (I love hummingbird feet):

Amidst all these colorful birds, this little female Variable Seedeater might get a bit lost, but I think she's got a lot of personality: 

Here's a little neotropical migrant, a Mourning Warbler.  He's likely on his way to the USA about now...

One interesting photographic challenge during the week was the canopy nets that the researchers used.  They have to be raised 20-30 meters into the forest canopy and then taken down when you catch a bird.  This draws a very different sort of line than standard mist nets, which I hope I can fit into the rest of the series...  This Montezuma Oropendola got very caught in a huge tangle of mesh:

This Rufous-winged Woodpecker is also very tangled in a canopy net, as he grabbed as much as possible into his powerful feet.  But it seemed to create a fitting pose for the woodpecker:

I'm not sure about this image of a Streak-headed Woodcreeper... But it's a damn cool bird:

All sorts of things can go wrong when one tries to photograph birds with a large format camera and construct a studio lighting set-up in five minutes or less.  This photograph of a Palm Tanager is an example of that.  Although it certainly sticks out from the rest of the series, it may be a direction to move the project in the future:

After I finished photographing birds, I still had a few sheets of film left in holders.  I used this as a chance to try out a new laser cut pinhole lens I bought a few months back.  I'm not really sure how I'm going to use this toy, but here are the first attempts...

Second growth forest:

A banana plantation:

And a garden:

But back to the birds.  Here's Landon, who is doing his PhD birds like this Collared Aracari (as well as Keel-billed Toucans):

Jen, one of Landon's research assistants, using a crossbow (don't worry, she's not shooting birds, but it is a pretty hard core field tool!):

Tim came down with me from DC, where he works at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center...  It's largely because of him that I was able to see over 180 species of birds during my week in Costa Rica.  Here he is holding a Montezuma Oropendola:

Here's that same Montezuma Oropendola holding me...

Those big Collared Aracari bills hurt too...  As Tim's hand clearly found out:

Here's Gabriella showing me a tiny frog:

Best frog name ever: a strawberry blue jeans poison-dart frog...

Although the falcon silhouette might frighten birds, it didn't seem to concern this large insect:

Tim trying to run away from the banana flower I was photographing:

A found Joseph Cornell box:

And a found abstract painting:

A painting of a lion, caged...

All the biologists I was with HATED Duchamp...

I didn't find any community gardens or urban agriculture to try to continue my Post-industrial Edens work, I was too busy with the birds.  But there were a few nice gardens around...

Still-life at the meat restaurant:

Night-time on Saint Patricks Day at the only Irish Pub in Panama City: 


Lunch time at the La Selva Biological Station:

A foreboding jar of unidentified salsa-like substance at dinner...


Thick tree trunk with a rotten core:

Leaf cutter ants...  I should've gotten a macro lens before going to Costa Rica.





And as this month's finale, here's my list o' birds seen while in Costa Rica, the total count being about 180...  Not bad for a week in the tropics:

Great Tinamou*
Little Tinamou*
Slaty-breasted Tinamou
Great Curassow
Gray-headed Chachalaca
Black Guan
Crested Guan
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Great Blue Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-heron
Green Ibis
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
King Vulture
Hook-billed Kite
Swallow-tailed Kite
White-tailed Kite
Bicolored Hawk
Roadside Hawk
Short-tailed Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Zone-tailed Hawk
Swainson's Hawk
Crested Caracara
Yellow-headed Caracara
Gray-necked Wood-rail
Purple Gallinule
Northern Jacana
Spotted Sandpiper
Red-billed Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Short-billed Pigeon
Inca Dove
Common Ground-dove
Ruddy Ground-dove
Ruddy Quail-dove
Crimson-fronted Parakeet
Orange-chinned Parakeet
Great Green Macaw
Mealy Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo
Groove-billed Ani
Spectacled Owl
Ferruginous Pygmy-owl
Common Pauraque
Swift sp.?
White-collared Swift
Stripe-throated Hermit
Fiery-throated Hummingbird
Magnificent Hummingbird
Purple-crowned Fairy
Blue-chested Hummingbird
White-necked Jacobin
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Green-breasted Mango
Scintillant Hummingbird
Violaceous Trogon
Black-throated Trogon
Slaty-tailed Trogon
Blue-crowned Motmot
Rufous Motmot
Broad-billed Motmot
White-necked Puffbird
Pied Puffbird
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
Keel-billed Toucan
Collared Aracari
Black-cheeked Woodpecker
Hoffman's Woodpecker
Rufous-winged Woodpecker
Pale-billed Woodpecker
Lineated Woodpecker
Northern Barred-woodcreeper
Plain-brown Woodcreeper
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Cocoa Woodcreeper
Fasciated Antshrike
western Slaty-antshrike
Yellow Tyrannulet
Paltry Tyrannulet
Yellow-bellied Elaenia
Mountain Elaenia
Piratic Flycatcher
Common Tody-flycatcher
Black-headed Tody-flycatcher
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
Rufous Mourner
Long-tailed Tyrant
Black Phoebe
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Social Flycatcher
Gray-capped Flycatcher
Sulfur-bellied Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Cinnamon Becard
Masked Tityra
Black-crowned Tityra
White-collared Manakin
Lesser Greenlet
Brown Jay
Blue-and-white Swallow
Mangrove Swallow
Gray-breasted Martin
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Band-backed Wren
Bay Wren
Plain Wren
Black-throated Wren
House Wren
White-breasted Wood-wren
Gray-breasted Wood-wren
Blck-bellied Nightingale-thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
Sooty Robin
Mountain Robin
Clay-colored Robin
Gray Catbird
Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher
Tennessee Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Lousiana Waterthrush
Mourning Warbler
Buff-rumped Warbler
Gray-crowned Yellowthroat
Olive-crowned Yellowthroat
Red-throated Ant-tanager
Sooty-capped Bush- tanager
Rosy Thrush-tanager
Summer Tanager
Scarlet Tanager
Passerini's Tanager
Crimson-collared Tanager
Golden-hooded Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Palm Tanager
Blue Dacnis
Green Honeycreeper
Shining Honeycreeper
Red-legged Honeycreeper
Variable Seedeater
Yellow-faced Grassquit
Blue-black Grassquit
Peg-billed Finch
Slaty Flowerpiercer
Large-footed Finch
Orange-billed Sparrow
Black-striped Sparrow
Rufous-collared Sparrow
House Sparrow
Buff-throated Saltator
Black-headed Saltator
Black-faced Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Blue-black Grosbeak
Red-breasted Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Melodious Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Bronzed Cowbird
Black-cowled Oriole
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Chestnut-headed Oropendola
Montezuma Oropendola
Olive-backed Euphonia
Yellow-crowned Euphonia

* heard only, but Tinamou calls are so cool I had to include them on my list.

So that was my Spring Break...  I was in Costa Rica for a week and I didn't even set foot on the beach.  Maybe next time.  Ta.