Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Toucan't Touch This!

The wife dedicated an earlier entry on butterflies to a friend's daughter. So it's now my turn to dedicate an entry on our birdwatching tour to the only birdwatcher I know. He's the husband of a very close ex-colleague, so Sudheer, this one's for you! :)

After a DIY birdwatching walk that ended up as a
visit to the butterfly garden, we decided to sign up for a locally organised birdwatching tour. We bargained a little, getting a 2-5 hour walk along the local trails, accompanied by an English-speaking guide. Getting ready by 6am was quite painful, but we told ourselves that it would be worth it! Our targets? Hummingbirds and toucans!

We caught sight of only 1 toucan on our DIY walk. This is a Pale-Mandibled Aracari

The walk started off very uneventfully. We met our guide, Alex, outside our hostel, and started off at a leisurely pace. Before I even expected it, he was already pointing out birds like tanagers and tyranos (tyrants) even before we left the town proper.

Perhaps I was still sleepy, or perhaps the early morning light was not bright enough for me to appreciate the colors on the birds yet, but every bird he pointed out looked very similar to me! After about 15 minutes into the walk, I started being able to make out the colors on some of these birds, and started enjoying myself more.

We eventually caught up with another couple who had also hired their own guide. Only difference is, their guide had nicely brought along a telescope for them! Once he spots an interesting bird, he would set up the scope nicely so all you have to do is peer into it. I guess they must have paid more, or at least did not try to bargain down the price like we did ;p

Cheapo us had to make do with one pair of binoculars for 2 of us while others enjoyed a telescope!

But hey, I guess we are lucky in the sense that when you spot something new and amazing, you just have a tendency to want to share it. So, it wasn't long before we were invited to look through the telescope as well. Unfortunately, the names of the birds we saw totally flew over my head, so to speak. We did catch glimpses of a woodpecker (a bird that pecks at the wood of the tree trunk) and a woodcreeper (a bird that creeps along the wood of a tree trunk) though!

Pretty blue bird

Trying to take a picture of a bird through the telescope was incredibly difficult, because my camera had a lens that was bigger than the eye-piece. Eventually, I figured out that the best way to take an 'okay' photo was to just switch the camera to super-macro, then press it right against the eye-piece.

Our first toucan for the day! A crimson-rump toucanet

But what the heck. It's still a very crappy picture, right? In the end, I just gave up on shooting through the telescope, and just went as close as I could (usually the edge of the road, one more step and I will fall off the slope) and pushed my camera to it's maximum 12x optical zoom.

Old Oly with its 4x zoom could never have captured a picture like this!

Zoomed in at 12x, taken at 12.1 megapixels and cropped to size for your viewing pleasure

And with this sighting, we seemed to have found the toucan hideouts. One by one, they revealed themselves to us. But still, you can see them, but toucan't touch them!

Another Crimson Rump toucanet, this time showing its rump

Collared Aracari looking back at us

Sitting so high we can't touch them

Unfortunately, our time was up, and we had to turn back. So while it was a good walk and we had a total of 8 toucan-sightings, we failed miserably on the hummingbird score. Luckily though, we had something else in store for the afternoon that would get us all the hummingbird sightings we need!

So, stay tuned for our next wildlife update!

Thanks Alex!


cuzzin aud said...

Nice! thanks for all the adjusting, zooming and cropping! :)

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