Not a Squirrel

Birdwatching is a time honored activity, which a lot of people take pretty seriously. I’ve watched birds, but I’ve never been birdwatching. After today, I doubt, I ever will again. Birds, I learned, are the original poster creatures for ADHA. The smaller the bird the higher the activity level. They will not sit still. Period. For someone, who set up her camera equipment quite meticulously to capture pretty birdies in their natural environment, this hectic behavior of potential subjects proved unacceptable. In my professional life I observed cell cultures in petri dishes. They grow, but rarely jumped around. 
As you can see in this picture, birds easily disappear within the foliage of even a small, open grouping of trees. There were at least six or seven active birds of different species moving about in these trees. But in the picture, you can barely make out just one bird. Mounting a zoom objective didn’t help. Au contraire. Owing to the natural tangly-ness of branches, twigs and leaves, the camera can’t auto-focus on those twitchy birds. One has to focus manually, which achieves crisp results even at high zoom, IF the darn bird will remain STILL. But no, not my birds! As soon as you think you got it, hopping or fluttering occurs, ruining everything.

Meanwhile it had started to drizzle and the light was getting too murky to continue this frustrating game, when I saw out of the corner of my eye a much larger, rusty brown something move in a tree to my right. I believe real birdwatchers call that color rufous, but trust me, it was tobacco with a hint of copper.
  
This bird is officially named according to its behavior. It’s a Squirrel Cuckoo, so called because it hops around trees like a squirrel. 


When it sees a grub, it hops to grab it, then checks for the next bite and jumps to get it.

There we go, high speed hopping ensues as we snap the picture.

Don’t be fooled by the next picture. I captured this images of false tranquility a mere split second before the next hop. One can almost see the muscles tense in readiness to jump again, as she focuses on a tasty morsel. 

‘Squirrel Cuckoo’ – Piaya cayana, Cuculidae, Linnaeus 1766
That it, I’m going in now. 

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