Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Linden Gledhill sent a bunch of nice pictures from Costa Rica, and I’ll divide them between two posts. Here’s the first; Linden’s notes are indented:

Guanacaste, Costa Rica is located in the northwestern region along the Pacific Ocean coast.  It experiences little rain and is a hot tropical dry forests habitat. We stayed in the all-inclusive resort of the Riu Palace, which is surrounded by farmland and unspoilt countryside.  Most of the images were captured during early morning walks just after sunrise apart from those labelled with  Palo Verde National Park. This park is a floodplain with marshes next to a limestone ridge fed by Rio Tempisque.  My equipment was a Canon EOS 5DS R with a EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens and a 1.4x extender.  All shots were hand held with image stabilization.

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis). I spent a few hours capturing these stunning birds actively feeding just off the beach and I also followed them to a grooming roost on the side of a cliff at the end of the resort beach. I love their webbed feet especially when standing on a branch grooming.

Variegated Squirrel (Sciurus variegatoides). A  native tree squirrel of Central America. I came across a group of 10 or so collecting nuts from a tree just off the beach.

Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus). An impressive raptor with very broad black wings often found in coastal areas. The short tail is black with a single broad white band and a white tip.  He was perched on the very top of a tree next to the beach. This was a difficult shot due to distance and the image was cropped by about 200%.  The advantage of using the 50 mpix sensor of the Canon EOS 5DS R.

Black-headed Trogon (Trogon melanocephalus). This species is well at home in subtropical or tropical dry forests.  Trogons have large round eyes, and I came across this species many time in the open farmland near the hotel.

Mangrove Cuckoo (Coccyzus minor)   Palo Verde National Park. Living mainly on a diet of insects, they are often found remaining still for long periods as they look for prey.  I wouldn’t have spotted this guy unless the guide had pointed him out.

Double-striped Thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus) Palo Verde National Park. We came across a flock of these birds in an open field.  They stand very still when being watched and prefer to walk away rather than fly when approached.

Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway), Palo Verde National Park. This is a stunning bird.  Despite its raptor appearance, this is very much a scavenger mainly feeding on carrion.  We watched this individual for a while as he gathered nesting materials.


  1. Robert Ladley
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photographs.
    Costa Rica looks like a most interesting place to visit.
    I particularly like the white overlapping tail feathers of the Black Headed Trogon.
    Thank you
    Robert Ladley.

    • Richard Bond
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      Costa Rica is a wonderful country, and I enjoyed a fine holiday there a year ago. My one disappointment, and my reason for this post, is to warn was that it was difficult to find the short (½ to 3 days) trips to wildlife reserves that are commonplace in Kenya. Some of the promising ones that I identified required a minimum number of people, and there were just not enough interested people for them to proceed. So, my advice would be to arrange such visits (or longer ones) in advance, or at least find a base that makes a feature of them.

      Terrific photographs.

      • Merilee
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Or just rent a car and do it on your own. I did it with my kids (11 and 13)(and brother snd nephews in another car) maybe 15 years ago. I had rented the last car in San José over Xmas, a Suzuki jeep-like thing which stalled maybe 59 times between the capital and the coast on those crazy, hilly, curvy roads like dry river beds. (Almost all my own cars had been stick shift so thst it was the car, not me.). When it came time to return it and it stalled about a block from the rental joint, I walked. I mentioned the stalling and the guy gave the the “woman driver” look. He went to get the car and it immediately stalled. Aside from all thst, we had a wonderful time going to Quepos, Manuel Antonio park, a couple of cloud forests, and some cool hot sulfur? Streams.

  2. Terry Sheldon
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Lovely photos! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Posted January 18, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Nice photos, thanks!

  4. Michael Fisher
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    A “Cool Fact” from the link:

    While the Brown Pelican is draining the water from its bill after a dive, gulls often try to steal the fish right out of its pouch — sometimes while perching on the pelican’s head.

    I’d be just as downhearted as that last cute-footed pelican pictured above!

  5. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Oooo delightful!

    Thanks for the equipment detail

  6. Liz
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I love the third picture down. All incredible.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      A dustpan flying handle first?

      • Liz
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Yes and the webbed feet photograph.

  7. Steve Adams
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Really beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing them. One day I hope to make it to Costa Rica.

  8. Merilee
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Wonderful pictures, Linda!

  9. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Wonderful pictures! That is quite a nice camera you got there. I especially like the eyes on the thick-knee. Looking forward to your next post!

  10. rickflick
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Great shots! I especially like shots showing behavior. I’d like to borrow your camera and lens for the weekend. 😎

  11. cruzrad
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photos! Thank you!

  12. Hempenstein
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    That second pelican pic reminds me of one of these.

  13. Claudia Baker
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    So beautiful! Thank you.

  14. Paul Doerder
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Great photos. Like the cuckoo, hard bird to spot, even harder to photograph. You had a great trip!

  15. Heather Hastie
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous photos! Thanks.

  16. Karen E Bartelt
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Oh, lovely! I want to go back!

  17. Mark R.
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely group of birds. Even though pelicans aren’t colorful, they are beautiful nonetheless. The Black-Headed Trogan has a great expression on its face…very excited about something.

    Look forward to the next installation.

  18. Posted January 18, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink


  19. Posted January 18, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink


  20. Posted January 18, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Very pretty pics. Thanks!

  21. Posted January 20, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Whoa, awesome pelican photos! I didn’t know those birds were so interesting and, well, weird.

  22. Posted January 20, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    These are so good!

  23. Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    To me, the pelican on the first photo looks Jurassic.

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