Costa Rica with Gustafson Photo Safari - Day 3

Costa Rica with Gustafson Photo Safari - Day 3

Mar 20, 2013| by administrator

by Todd Gustafson

Another 5:30 start. We drove to the end of the valley and climbed the valley side to the wild avocado tree where the Quetzals feed. Apparently they weren’t hungry because although there was plenty of fruit, this was the tree where the Quetzals DON’T feed. After 2 hours of waiting we folded up and headed home for a hummingbird shoot.

This place is stuffed with hummers -10 species!  We removed one of their favorite feeders and replaced it with a stunning flower. The hummers immediately descended on it and gave us hours of easy hummingbird photography! The valley wall was a distant wash of green that was a perfect pallet for the dark red flower and the birds. Some species fed from the top of the flower while others hovered below, reaching up for the nectar.


This afternoon was the bomb! Both the male and female Quetzals were in the wild avocado tree. A male was perched on a lichen-covered branch with the other side of the valley as the distant background. We had an hour with them before they flew to the forest. From there we went to the top of the valley (8,300 ft) to find some new species of mountain birds. Summer Tanager, Flame-colored Tanager, Rufus-collared Sparrow, and best of all, Acorn Woodpecker! 

Resplendent Quetzal

Acorn Woodpecker

After lunch the owner of the Avocado orchard, Yehudi, alerted us that the Quetzals were in. We ran to the bus and our driver Luis floored it up the valley. We hiked up to the tree just as a male and female flew in and landed on perfect branches. Wow! Everyone was in heaven for an hour. Madhavan rated it a 100 on a scale of 1-100. Afterward we drove to the top of the valley to Yehudi’s friend’s house for UNBELIEVABLE cloud forest birds. The lady of the house made coffee, hot chocolate and sweet rolls.  Everyone cheered when Yehudi got on the bus!


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