The retired couple, Bill and Lynne, that gave me a ride home from Tres Cascadas the other day offered to take me out on a quetzal quest. Of course I said I would love to, not knowing how dependable they would be. As it turned out they were the first to write, and the first to show up at our meeting spot.
The trail is called Cascada Escondida, but the gringos call it Pipeline trail.
We had great luck with quetzals, which can be quite elusive, at least during this season. During mating season and when they are nesting they let you go paparazzi on them, but now if they know you have spotted them they fly to a different location. Luckily since they do not fly long distances you can usually trace them to their next tree, which is the most dependable way to spot them, waiting patiently until they fly.
We spotted two on our walk almost immediately, a older male (with a long tail left over from mating season) and a young male (with no tail... it usually doesn't grow for three years). The males have yellow beaks, while the females have black.
Much of the water that goes to the town of Boquete comes through these pipes (hence the gringo pipeline name). The water is filtered but nothing is added to it.
It is really delicious, straight from the tap.
We crossed three bridges on the trail, the most narrow bridges I have ever used.
Bill took me off the trail for a moment to show me where a quetzal nest was last year. A baby chiriqui olingo came out of the old quetzal nest to greet us; they are endangered and oh so cute.
These nests are made by wood creepers. I had seen this structure on the Soberania hike but didn't know an animal had made it. Bill and Lynne (who claim not to be birders) said it is so fun to watch them make.
For non-birders they are very well known because they practically live on the trails; one fellow hiker told me that I was very lucky to be with them and no one is better at quetzal searching (this I knew...).
Bill is on the hunt...
This tree is over 1,400 years old. It was only moments after this picture was taken that it started pouring rain.
We took shelter under a tree to wait out the storm, mostly for my sake since I was not expecting rain this morning as it usually rains in the afternoon. They said I wouldn't have had a proper Boquete experience had I not been caught in a rainstorm.
As it turns out the tree that we were hiding under was perfect for quetzal viewing! We saw at least three, if not four. They were bathing in the rain water, and flying from tree to tree. The ones with the long tails are so amazing to watch fly, their 1 meter long tail moves like a fin through the air.
Lynne made me take her vest since she had a poncho, I think it is super cute and want one of my own.
This picture shows the quetzal colors the best. None of my quetzal pictures are wonderful, but I sure did have fun!