One other thought occurs regarding lists. Are people who are interested in say, insects as avid about lists, or are birders just rowdier?
On the topic of bird photography and photography in general. Our shooting style involves hiking and moving through an area. I like to have the option to be mobile, so a kit that can be humped up a mountain and still be in hand for that dream shot is ideal. A 300mm plus a 1.7 teleconverter on a monopod does the trick very nicely.
Of course this shooting style is fraught with difficulties. Camera shake, missed chances. It generally doesn't allow for setting up for that technically perfect text book shot. What it does allow for is wonderful opportunities for charming serendipitous events that I could never have dreamed up.
At this point your rambling but perhaps thoughtful reporter will beg the indulgence of the reader as all this meandering at some point will... well, have a point. I'll come clean right here and say that I'm pretty sure this will not be the case here. All this rambling will "not" come to a point in the story where the epiphany will become present and clear.
In keeping with the moderately disorganized quality of this thing. I will say here where I should have stated right out of the gate that this entire trip, its roaring success, its smooth unfolding as we proceeded. Everything about it was the result of our guide and I hope now our friend Noel Urena., His lovely wife and their company Tropical feathers.
Noel was recommended to us by Richard Garrigues. As it turns out it was a fortuitous match. Noel is a very fine photographer in his own right. Our hunting style seemed to mesh well and we had a lot of fun creeping through the bush stalking zipping two ounce objects with minds of their own. His instincts were unerring and it was a delight to watch him work. I hope to traipse through the jungle with him again someday.
Oh, Yes, the report.
Day one of course involved the usual hectic time spent in taxis, airports, and planes. Upon our arrival we immediately started to relax when we found Oldemar who was to be our driver for a good part of the trip. He ran us over to the Bougainvillea Hotel where our heads hit the pillows pretty quickly.
The morning found us wandering the grounds while waiting for our ride to Rancho Naturalista. This lodge is located in the Caribbean foothills near Turriablba. This took about two hours allowing for cows etc. Got ourselves settled in time for lunch, yummy! Where we had the opportunity to meet the other guests. I enjoyed the dining arrangements as the round table allowed everyone to mingle over the lovely meals.
When I was researching lodges on the net I came across a thread on a birding forum where the original poster very plausibly painted a picture of a deteriorating lodge and its environs. When Noel booked us in there I was curious and wished to see for myself if any of these allegations had any basis in facts. I can state here that I did not encounter any of his list of complaints. In fact we had the opportunity to hear the lodges side of the O.P's story which if true would explain why the O.P's opinion differed fundamentally with that of the owner. Perhaps it may have something to do with the opposing schools of thought regarding banding and the value of the data. The lodges position being that it in fact does not produce data of any value except perhaps when applying for research funds.