This week John and I made an excursion west of Turrialba to the Cachí area, specifically to the Hotel Quelitales, an attractive tourist spot uphill from the lake area. We spent several enjoyable hours walking in the grounds and beyond. Middle-elevation species such as the Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus) and, below, the Silver-throated Tanager (Tangara icterocephala), are the rule here:
For me, however, the best attraction was the numerous hummingbird species on the hotel grounds. These include two that I rarely get the opportunity to see, the Coppery-headed Emerald (Elvira cupreiceps) and the White-bellied Mountain-gem (Lampornis hemileucus). We have no photograph of the former (can anyone help?), which is a tiny, bright-green hummingbird with what looks like a completely white tail when it is in flight. Its bill is noticeably decurved. The White-bellied Mountain-gem, which is endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama, is very similar to our local Purple-throated Mountain-gem (Lampornis calolaemus) but with white underparts, as its name indicates.
Here is the male White-bellied Mountain-gem that appeared at Quelitales:
Here is what is probably the same individual but in flight. The post-ocular stripe is now evident:
There are several other hummingbird species at Hotel Quelitales. Most dominant is Costa Rica’s largest hummingbird, the Violet Sabrewing (Campylopterus hemileucurus):
The Green Hermit (Phaethornis guy) seems to be even bigger than the Violet Sabrewing because of the great length of both its bill and its tail. The individual that showed itself on this day looked distinctly more blue than green:
A species that gave us some difficulty with identification was the little Black-bellied Hummingbird (Eupherusa nigriventris), whose females are not black of belly at all! They can easily be confused with other species, particularly if the white in the bird’s tail is not in view. Fortunately, John took this photo with the bird showing a good view of the underside of the tail:
You will find more photographs at the following link to the list of species noted on our last visit: