The rain stopped sometime last night. We woke to a partly cloudy sky. We were dressed and out of the hotel room by 6:30. We wanted to be at the gate of the Biotopo del Quetzal reserve when it opened at 7 to maximize our chances of spotting a Resplendent Quetzal.
At 7 the gate was still locked, but we noticed something large flying into the trees across the road from the reserve. As we got to the fence we saw a beautiful male quetzal land on a tree branch in the open. For the next few minutes he flew back and forth between two perches. In flight, we got a good look at his brilliant red underside.
After he disappeared into the foliage we felt like we had won the birding lottery. Everything we read about the quetzal convinced us that our chances of spotting one outside of the breeding season were between slim and none.
The icing on the cake was a sighting of an Emerald Toucanet in the reserve. What a morning!