Author Archives: Johan Chaves

Global bal big day 2017

On May 13th was celebrated the 3rd global big day as you all may know. I like to think of it as the Champion’s league or Super bowl of the birding community, a day we some expect eagerly and hope to go out do what we love, have fun and provide data for scientific use.

My friends Karen Castillo, Andres Martin Chaves, Oscar Herrera and I made a team which we called South CR endemics, our plan was get as many south east endemics as we could, as well as those none-endemic south east specialists.

Karen Castillo, Andres Chaves, Oscar Herrera, Johan Chaves, South CR endemics. Global big day,

From Left to Right: Karen Castillo, Andres Chaves, Oscar Herrera, Johan Chaves. Photo By Andres Chaves.

Our plan was to bird Esquinas Rainforest lodge for the morning, as well as the town of La Gamba, then move to Coto 47. To bird Las Pangas sector, the road to La Campiña, coto itself and then La Papayera road AKA Villa Neily Hospital road.

We left Quepos at 2:00am and soon after we picked up Oscar we got our first bird; Striped owl.  Then on route we stopped under the Baru/Dominical bridge as Andrés knew of some Barn owls which we saw, the downpour was so bad it slowed us on the road and we made it to La Gamba by Sunrise so we missed some of the owls we hoped for such as Black and white and spectacled.

We did some stops at La Gamba before reaching Esquinas and from the various birds we got the highlight was boat billed heron as we only saw it here.

Once at Esquinas, we took the river bed trail which is the flatter, easiest doing trail and often the most productive. Here we got black faced antthrush, striped woodhaunter, black striped woodcreeper and 2 of our main targets; black cheeked ant-tanager and baird’s trogon. 
On the gardens we got great curassow which are common and quite tame at the gardens, spot-crowned euphonia, charming hummingbird, bronzy hermit, slaty tailed trogon and rufous tailed jacamar and more.
Back on the trail, this time we did the Ocelot trail and went counterclockwise, black bellied wren, sulphur rumped flycatcher, riverside wren, black hooded antshrike were the good birds of the trail.  This trail was quite slow, and it is quite steep which doesn make birding too easy. Still, by 11:00am our team had registered 112 species! not bad considering the weather was not on our side. A proof of the EXCELLENT birding quality here at Esquinas/La Gamba!

Band-tailed barbthroat was quite common at Esquinas.

 

Lunch time!

After a quick lunch stop we moved to La Gamba, we got some of the needed birds such as Rusty margined Flycatcher which is regular close to Esquinas just 500 meters before on the corral area, scrub greenlet, pale-breasted spinetail, red-breasted blackbird(meadowlark), brown-throated parakeet and more. Then it was time to move to our next site; Coto 47.

Rufous-winged woodpeckerThe first site we covered here at Coto 47 was Las Pangas sector (thanks to Daniel Hernandez for teaching me about this site), where we got sapphire-throated hummingbird, veraguan mango, Savannah hawk (thanks to Oscar’s good eye and persistence!) red-rumped woodpecker, slate colored seedeater, blue headed parrot and some more! boom! time to Move to the road that leads to La Campiña to look for fork tailed flycatcher and wattled jacana, the last one unfortunately was not seen as it seems to appear sporadically any where here at Coto 47 (there are vast wetlands here where it can turn up!).

This is got to be the worst photo of a Savannah hawk

Not 1 or 2 but 4 red rumped woodpeckers!

Now our last targets, our last minutes and our lart energy! lesser yellow headed vulture and grey-lined hawk, we drove to the La Papayera sector AKA the Villa Neily hospital road, we quickly succeeded with the hawk but were not lucky with the vulture. This also produced striped cuckoo and great antshrike which were new for the list.

 

Grey (gray) lined hawk, although this poor picture does not show good detail, the gray lines/barring on its wing,back and head/nape are quite visible and its call is different to what we are use to hear from its recent split Gray hawk.

Considering that the weather was not in our favor, and despite that some of the “easy” endemics such as fiery billed aracary and even some of the easy and common birds such as lesson’s motmot, thick-billed euphonia, slaty spinetail etc were not registered we felt we had an excellent day birding, our team recorded about 179 species which you can see on the list I extracted from eBird (such handy tool!) to that list I need to add barn and striped owls.

Cheers to Patrick O’Donnell and team who got approximately 230 species, the largest number scored for CR during the 2017 GBD!

 

Species Name May 13 May 14 May 15 May 16 May 17 May 18 May 19
Great Tinamou (Tinamus major) 4
(1)
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) 2
(1)
Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens) 2
(1)
Great Curassow (Crax rubra) 4
(1)
Marbled Wood-Quail (Odontophorus gujanensis) 2
(1)
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) 5
(2)
Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) 1
(1)
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum) 4
(2)
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 25
(2)
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) 1
(1)
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) 5
(3)
Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) 1
(1)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) 22
(3)
Green Heron (Butorides virescens) 8
(3)
Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius) 4
(2)
White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) 8
(2)
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) 33
(4)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 14
(4)
Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) 3
(1)
Savanna Hawk (Buteogallus meridionalis) 1
(1)
Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris) 5
(3)
Gray-lined Hawk (Buteo nitidus) 2
(1)
White-throated Crake (Laterallus albigularis) 2
(2)
Gray-cowled Wood-Rail (Aramides cajaneus) 3
(1)
Uniform Crake (Amaurolimnas concolor) 1
(1)
Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus) 2
(2)
Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis) 2
(1)
Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa) 16
(2)
Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) 5
(1)
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) 1
(1)
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) 1
(1)
Pale-vented Pigeon (Patagioenas cayennensis) 27
(2)
Short-billed Pigeon (Patagioenas nigrirostris) 8
(1)
Plain-breasted Ground-Dove (Columbina minuta) 3
(1)
Ruddy Ground-Dove (Columbina talpacoti) 26
(3)
Blue Ground-Dove (Claravis pretiosa) 13
(2)
Ruddy Quail-Dove (Geotrygon montana) 1
(1)
White-tipped Dove (Leptotila verreauxi) 17
(4)
Gray-chested Dove (Leptotila cassinii) 4
(1)
Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani) 34
(3)
Striped Cuckoo (Tapera naevia) 1
(1)
Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana) 2
(1)
Barn Owl (Tyto alba) 1
(1)
Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis) 2
(1)
White-collared Swift (Streptoprocne zonaris) 9
(1)
Costa Rican Swift (Chaetura fumosa) 7
(2)
Bronzy Hermit (Glaucis aeneus) 1
(1)
Band-tailed Barbthroat (Threnetes ruckeri) 4
(2)
Long-billed Hermit (Phaethornis longirostris) 4
(1)
Stripe-throated Hermit (Phaethornis striigularis) 2
(1)
Veraguan Mango (Anthracothorax veraguensis) 5
(1)
Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti) 1
(1)
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird (Phaeochroa cuvierii) 11
(3)
Crowned Woodnymph (Thalurania colombica) 5
(1)
Charming Hummingbird (Amazilia decora) 8
(1)
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl) 6
(3)
Sapphire-throated Hummingbird (Lepidopyga coeruleogularis) 3
(1)
Blue-throated Goldentail (Hylocharis eliciae) 4
(1)
Slaty-tailed Trogon (Trogon massena) 1
(1)
Baird’s Trogon (Trogon bairdii) 2
(1)
Gartered Trogon (Trogon caligatus) 1
(1)
Black-throated Trogon (Trogon rufus) 2
(1)
Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata) 2
(1)
Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona) 1
(1)
Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficauda) 2
(1)
Yellow-throated Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus) 6
(2)
Golden-naped Woodpecker (Melanerpes chrysauchen) 12
(3)
Red-crowned Woodpecker (Melanerpes rubricapillus) 22
(4)
Red-rumped Woodpecker (Veniliornis kirkii) 4
(1)
Rufous-winged Woodpecker (Piculus simplex) 2
(1)
Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus) 2
(1)
Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway) 6
(3)
Yellow-headed Caracara (Milvago chimachima) 10
(4)
Laughing Falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans) 1
(1)
Orange-chinned Parakeet (Brotogeris jugularis) 24
(2)
Brown-hooded Parrot (Pyrilia haematotis) 1
(1)
Blue-headed Parrot (Pionus menstruus) 6
(3)
Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis) 6
(3)
Brown-throated Parakeet (Eupsittula pertinax) 13
(3)
Crimson-fronted Parakeet (Psittacara finschi) 9
(2)
Great Antshrike (Taraba major) 2
(1)
Black-hooded Antshrike (Thamnophilus bridgesi) 4
(1)
Dot-winged Antwren (Microrhopias quixensis) 6
(1)
Dusky Antbird (Cercomacroides tyrannina) 2
(1)
Chestnut-backed Antbird (Poliocrania exsul) 8
(1)
Bicolored Antbird (Gymnopithys bicolor) 2
(1)
Black-faced Antthrush (Formicarius analis) 3
(1)
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper (Glyphorynchus spirurus) 3
(1)
Cocoa Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus susurrans) 9
(3)
Black-striped Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus) 7
(1)
Streak-headed Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) 6
(2)
Plain Xenops (Xenops minutus) 2
(1)
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner (Automolus ochrolaemus) 2
(1)
Striped Woodhaunter (Automolus subulatus) 1
(1)
Pale-breasted Spinetail (Synallaxis albescens) 4
(2)
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet (Camptostoma obsoletum) 2
(1)
Yellow Tyrannulet (Capsiempis flaveola) 6
(2)
Yellow-bellied Elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster) 4
(2)
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (Mionectes oleagineus) 4
(2)
Paltry Tyrannulet (Zimmerius vilissimus) 5
(2)
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant (Lophotriccus pileatus) 3
(1)
Northern Bentbill (Oncostoma cinereigulare) 2
(1)
Common Tody-Flycatcher (Todirostrum cinereum) 16
(4)
Eye-ringed Flatbill (Rhynchocyclus brevirostris) 2
(1)
Yellow-olive Flycatcher (Tolmomyias sulphurescens) 4
(2)
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher (Myiobius sulphureipygius) 1
(1)
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens) 1
(1)
Alder/Willow Flycatcher (Traill’s Flycatcher) (Empidonax alnorum/traillii) 2
(2)
Bright-rumped Attila (Attila spadiceus) 3
(1)
Rufous Mourner (Rhytipterna holerythra) 1
(1)
Dusky-capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer) 1
(1)
Myiarchus sp. (Myiarchus sp.) 4
(1)
Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus) 29
(4)
Boat-billed Flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua) 11
(4)
Rusty-margined Flycatcher (Myiozetetes cayanensis) 6
(2)
Social Flycatcher (Myiozetetes similis) 11
(4)
Gray-capped Flycatcher (Myiozetetes granadensis) 14
(4)
Streaked Flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculatus) 2
(2)
Piratic Flycatcher (Legatus leucophaius) 15
(4)
Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) 22
(3)
Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana) 1
(1)
Rufous Piha (Lipaugus unirufus) 1
(1)
Blue-crowned Manakin (Lepidothrix coronata) 1
(1)
Orange-collared Manakin (Manacus aurantiacus) 4
(1)
Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis) 3
(1)
Black-crowned Tityra (Tityra inquisitor) 1
(1)
Masked Tityra (Tityra semifasciata) 3
(1)
Scrub Greenlet (Hylophilus flavipes) 8
(3)
Green Shrike-Vireo (Vireolanius pulchellus) 1
(1)
Tawny-crowned Greenlet (Tunchiornis ochraceiceps) 4
(1)
Lesser Greenlet (Pachysylvia decurtata) 10
(1)
Southern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) 7
(2)
Gray-breasted Martin (Progne chalybea) 12
(2)
Mangrove Swallow (Tachycineta albilinea) 3
(1)
Scaly-breasted Wren (Microcerculus marginatus) 2
(1)
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) 14
(4)
Black-bellied Wren (Pheugopedius fasciatoventris) 3
(2)
Isthmian Wren (Cantorchilus elutus) 6
(3)
Riverside Wren (Cantorchilus semibadius) 6
(1)
Long-billed Gnatwren (Ramphocaenus melanurus) 2
(1)
Tropical Gnatcatcher (Polioptila plumbea) 1
(1)
Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) 1
(1)
Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi) 30
(4)
Tropical Mockingbird (Mimus gilvus) 2
(1)
Buff-rumped Warbler (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) 1
(1)
Gray-headed Tanager (Eucometis penicillata) 3
(1)
White-shouldered Tanager (Tachyphonus luctuosus) 2
(1)
White-throated Shrike-Tanager (Lanio leucothorax) 10
(2)
Cherrie’s Tanager (Ramphocelus costaricensis) 34
(4)
Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) 14
(4)
Palm Tanager (Thraupis palmarum) 19
(4)
Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata) 6
(2)
Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus) 1
(1)
tanager sp. (Thraupidae sp.) (Thraupidae sp. (tanager sp.)) 1
(1)
Blue-black Grassquit (Volatinia jacarina) 15
(4)
Ruddy-breasted Seedeater (Sporophila minuta) 1
(1)
Thick-billed Seed-Finch (Sporophila funerea) 2
(2)
Variable Seedeater (Sporophila corvina) 12
(3)
White-collared Seedeater (Sporophila torqueola) 21
(4)
Yellow-bellied Seedeater (Sporophila nigricollis) 7
(2)
Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) 6
(4)
Buff-throated Saltator (Saltator maximus) 10
(3)
Streaked Saltator (Saltator striatipectus) 1
(1)
Black-striped Sparrow (Arremonops conirostris) 14
(4)
Orange-billed Sparrow (Arremon aurantiirostris) 6
(1)
Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager (Habia atrimaxillaris) 8
(1)
Blue-black Grosbeak (Cyanocompsa cyanoides) 6
(2)
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) 1
(1)
Red-breasted Meadowlark (Sturnella militaris) 17
(2)
Melodious Blackbird (Dives dives) 3
(2)
Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) 24
(3)
Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus) 11
(2)
Scarlet-rumped Cacique (Cacicus uropygialis) 10
(1)
Crested Oropendola (Psarocolius decumanus)
Spot-crowned Euphonia (Euphonia imitans)

 

Quick birding at Las Heliconias lodge

The view from the room, notice the Miravalles volcano on the back, picture taken at 5:30am.

Las Heliconias lodge, located on Bijagua de Upala (see map), right at the foothills of Tenorio volcano, between Tenorio and Miravalles volcanoes. This rural lodge is mostly known by birders as one of the best sites in Costa Rica for the rare Rufous-vented ground cuckoo.

During a short vacation trip around the northern half of CR, my wife and I managed to add one night at this site as I had heard so much about it and wanted to experience it myself (and maybe try our luck with the cuckoo right!?) so we spent one night here, we got to the lodge late in the evening and immediately had some rest, notice that their restaurant only cooks dinner if ordered in advance, so we had to have  dinner at the town of Bijagua which is about 3-4 km down the mountain form the lodge on a dirt track in decent (ok, maybe little less than decent) conditions.

Breakfast here is included on the price and it is served at 7:00am, so I was up and ready at 5:30am since I wanted to be in the forest closest to sunrise as possible and bird until breakfast time, however for my surprise it was very, very quiet, perhaps due to the nestling season since most of our resident birds are nesting by now. The first bird to call and appear was Carmiol’s tanager and seconds later a tody motmot! The light did not allow photos but since it was close it allowed excellent views on the binoculars, a bird I have not seen very often as it is located on the very small patch on the middle elevation of the Guanacaste cordillera. What a start!

After some minutes and now with decent light the other common birds started to make their appearance; golden crowned warbler, spotted antbird, scale crested pigmy tyrant, green hermit and more and then bicolored antbird this one really got me excited as it could mean that there could be army ants around (the only way to see the cuckoo) but unfortunately it was a single bird and there were no ants nor other birds with it, a real bummer.

The map at Heliconias, Notice how the suggested route is counter clockwise. There is another trail not shown on the map which is called the “Short loop” located on the right of the buildings/rooms which has no hanging bridges.

Male spotted antbird, a handsome-common antbird here at Heliconias.

After breakfast we walked back and did the main hanging bridge loop going counterclockwise, and then we took the shorter loop on the right side of the cabins, both were good and got some nice birds such as spotted anbirds, nightingale wren (first of the year), another tody motmot, great curassow, long tailed manakin, black-throated trogon and more of the common species. But despite our efforts we saw no army ants nor any cuckoo (but that is what we were prepared for).

The hanging bridges trail

This is part of the short loop trail.

At the end of the day I felt that the place could had produced more but again that could be justified by the nestling season or just our bad luck. Anyhow I hope to be back and get this cuckoo and experience the fame of this site.
The trails at Heliconias are good, relatively easy and nicely maintained, their hanging bridges seemed in good conditions and allows good canopy views. The forest is beautiful and host large mammals such as tapirs (we saw fresh tracks) and jaguars, one of the ladies that work here and live at the lodge told us she saw a jaguar between the rooms and the dinner not long ago, so for your safety do not go owling alone!

Male streak-crowned antvireo. Seen at the short loop trail.

 

Female Streak-crowned antvireo

Streak-crowned antvireo call

Most hanging bridges look like this

Additional notes:

  • The third bridge is down as a large tree fell on it due to the Otto hurricane from last rainy season. No plans for a replacement, or at least in the nearby future but the trail that goes down and up that ravine was quite productive. Here I recorded this Northern nightingale-wren

-Henry is a guide who had led tours at Las Heliconias for  about 12 years, he knows the movements of the army ants and the cuckoo like no one else there at Bijagua, he is your first option if birding Las Heliconias, his cellphone is 8647-5966.

-The phone number of Heliconias +506 2466-8483

-Food available at the lodge.

-Bijagua is a small tow with restaurants and even fast food restaurants, banks and some very few hotels. Nearby is the Volcan Tenorio NP and the famous rio celeste which you should not miss.

The diner

Rio celeste.

Birding Carara National Park / Headquarter trails.

It is finally slow season to us who work in the tourism industry here in CR, it is also the start of the rainy season, and on the bitter side, the end of the NA bird migration.

We constantly joke on how the next few months we are restricted to see toucans, macaws, tanagers, cotingas and trogons, so warblers, waxwings, peeps, orioles, ducks, empids, hawks, buntings etc will be missed greatly, but oh well, I can live with that!

On April 26th, my friends Andres Chaves (socio) and Karen Castillo took the day and went to Carara National park, yes, our local patch where we go very, very often, but this time is different as it s not the same to lead a trip to clients than to do your own personal birding, our main interest was to look for the species we seldom see, but above all to play with our toys, cameras and recorders! In short, do what we love.

We were basically focused on the headquarter trails (Universal, Encuentro de ecosistemas, Quebrada bonita and Araceas) and rather passed on the lagoon trail. We were specifically looking for scaly-throated leaf-tosser,  long tailed woodcreeper, and yellow-billed cotinga.

We got to Carara at 7:15am and spent the entire day (Notice that Carara opens from 7:00am to 4:00pm from December to April and from 8:00am to 4:00pm from May to through November), soon after we entered we were lucky enough to spot a leaftosser, doing ti’s thing; tossing leafs from side to side in search for food, we tried to get some photos but despite our attempts this is the only one I could get, also recordings were ok as this is a bit of an elusive bird.

A bad quality photo but here is the leaftosser. Canon 50D + Canon 100-400 4-5.6 lens. ISO cranked way up to 3200 to at least get documentation photo.

 

One of the best things about birding Carara NP is that unlike other parks like Manuel Antonio this site is not too crowded and particularly now on slow season. The trails here consist on a series of loops, well maintained, with some gravel which allows a silent approach to birds, and are wide enough to allow the free pass to other walkers and use tripods etc but narrow enough to not disturb the habitat.

 

 

A recording I managed to get from the leaftosser. http://www.xeno-canto.org/366674

Green and black poison-dart frogs are very, very common during the transition to wet season. 

As we continued we got basically various mixed flocks where white-shoulder tanager was present, so it produced bay headed tanagers, lesser and tawny crowned greenlets, some woodcreepers, rufous-capped warblers, and more, also, we saw on various occasions small groups of chestnut backed antbirds foraging with river side, rufous breasted wrens, orange billed sparrows and many black-faced antthrushes, the last ones are common, but, today we saw at least 18 individuals (actually seen, plus those we heard) normally on a birding trip and points them 2 to 3 times then you flip the page to the next bird.

 

Call recording I got of Black-faced antthrush. http://www.xeno-canto.org/366685

Northern bentbill, picture taken using an iPhone 7 and a ATX Swarovski telescope #digiscoping. This little one was quite cooperative indeed but normally it is found above eye level and is quite active.

Gray headed tanager carrying food to its nest. Photo Taken using digi-scoping technique using Canon 50D + Swarovski TLS APO + Swarovski ATX 65mm telescope.

After various birds and hours later we were fortunate to find and group of army ants foraging (Eciton burchelli) and then we knew we were going to spend some good time there recording and photographing, however the colony was a bit small and we got basically chestnut backed antbirds, black faced antthrushes, northern barred, cocoa, streak headed and tawny winged woodcreepers, ruddy tailed flycatcher, white whiskered puffbird, lesson’s motmot (former blue crowned) and sulfur-rumped flycatcher.

Bicolored antbird, besst looked for with the ants.

Buff-throated foliage gleanner posed for the picture.

One of the at least 5 Tawny winged woodcreepers that attended the swarm.

White whiskered who?   We continued back and needed one more bird for Karen, streak chested antpitta which fortunately she got to see quite well, although we could not photograph we managed to get a recording, here a short recording of the bird calling naturally: http://www.xeno-canto.org/366688

 

We all had a fun time in the field and truly enjoyed Carara, as I always do no matter how many times I had been here, we now hope our next trip would be May 13th so we can join the global big day, I hope we can work that out.

Slaty tailed trogon excavating a nest inside a termite nest.

Male baird’s trogon. It is simple, Carara is trogon country.

food break!

Posing at the new Carara sign with friends Karen Castillo and Andres Chaves.

 

Birding Bajos del Toro and Boca Tapada areas. Part 2

April 9th, 5:45am up and ready!

Since breakfast was served at 7:30am I decided to bird the loop that goes around the gardens again and checked the lagoons, this time I got lucky with a sungreebe sitting on a log for a few seconds. I basically did the loop around the main pond and got essentially the same birds as yesterday, red-winged blackbird, canebrake wren, tanagers, white riged fc, green ibises, collared aracary, keel billed toucan, nothing I had not seen yesterday except for cinnamon becard and the sungreebe. After breakfast our plan was to bird the forest trail, although our plan was messed by the rain (remember it is quite rainy here) after some minutes the rain stopped and I managed to walk into the forest, it was very slow and all the activity was basically outside in the gardens, I felt there was no point to continue and instead went out to Laguna Lagarto lodge, another site I needed to visit.

Maquenque map.

Long tailed tyrant were quite common at the gardens

An important note is that the google marker for laguna is incorrect, there are 3 markers indeed, Laguna is about 4km past Maquenque here is the real marker.

Once we got to Laguna for my surprise I found a friend there leading a trip, Herman Venegas, who after a quick hello pointed a central American pigmy-owl! And bam! Another bird added to the life list!

I was fortunate to see mr Alex Vargas (whom I met the night before at Maquenque) a renowned Costa Rican photographer/photography instructor residing in Indonesia. A special thanks to both Herman and Alex who shared their knowledge and time with me.

Once here basically I checked the feeders, and I now see how the Costa Rican photographer community get those incredible shots of keel billed toucans and brown hooded parrots!

There are boats on site so one can paddle along the lagoons in search for agami heron which is seen here often, as well as for those common species associated to this habitat.

The lodging here is more basic than that of Maquenque lodge, it is also much more affordable than Maquenque, nonetheless the rooms are nice and clean, food is good and reasonably priced, the food at Maquenque is really good but be ready to pay little more too. In terms of birding and photography opportunities Laguna Lagarto is unquestionable the best! birds, feeders, trails, guides, hides etc.

Laguna Lagarto trail map, 10km of trails!

Black-cheeked woodpecker, this beautiful woodpecker is very common on the caribbean slope of CR.

Back in Maquenque, the night was quite active, heard and saw lots of common (super common) pauraques, a distant common potoo and a nearby great potoo about 30-40 yards from our cabin.

The next morning (April 10th) I did manage to bird the trails at Maquenque for an hour before leaving and had fun seeing great tinamous, olive-backed euphonia, crowned woodnymph, a surprise gray catbird which I had not seen in a while and olive crowned yellowthroat (recording below). The trails are nice and clean, and the forest is a bit mature so expect slow birding as it is typical of forest interior, good chances for red-capped manakin, some antbirds, some woodcreepers and more.

http://www.xeno-canto.org/364036/embed?darkbg=1′ scrolling=’no’ frameborder=’0′ width=’340′ height=’220′

white nosed coaties are common here

Striped cuckoo, last bird of the trip.Contacts: https://maquenqueecolodge.com/es/inicio/

http://www.lagarto-lodge-costa-rica.com/

Birding Bajos del Toro and Boca Tapada areas. Part 1

I would like to start this post mentioning that although I do enjoy and admire a good picture I am not a bird photographer and prefer field identification rather than taking a photo and then ID it home, birding is not fun if it is easy right!? Birding and birding photography are similar-yet-totally different matters! However I do admit every now and then I enjoy those colorful tanagers at a feeders with my camera!
On April 8th my wife and I went to the Bajos Del Toro (catarata del Toro) and Boca Tapada area, up North in San Carlos area as I needed to get familiar with that area for future birding trips. Everyone knows that is a must visit to any photographer, amateur or professional.
We left home (Quepos) at 5:15am and drove up to Bajos del Toro via Sarchí as I needed to stop at Catarata Del Toro, the drive was very picturesque indeed but hilly and the road to Bajos Del Toro was in ok conditions. We got to Catarata del Toro at about 9:15am.

I had never seen a sign as wholehearted as this one, after such long drive it really made me happy! Notice this place is closed on Sundays.

After greeting Mr Wil we walked in to check the site, the waterfall is breathtaking and the gardens are nicely kept, there is one trail that loops for about 1km and it also takes you to another garden, I only got to bird this site quickly as we needed to move on, it was quite productive and got nice birds such as golden -browed chlorophonia, chestnut-capped brush-finch, slaty-backed nightingale-thrush, the endemic to-CR-only coppery headed emerald and more. Below the list of what we saw here.

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)  X
White-collared Swift (Streptoprocne zonaris)  1
Green Hermit (Phaethornis guy)  X
Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula)  X
Violet Sabrewing (Campylopterus hemileucurus)  3
Coppery-headed Emerald (Elvira cupreiceps)  3
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl)  2
Prong-billed Barbet (Semnornis frantzii)  X
Spotted Barbtail (Premnoplex brunnescens)  1
Olive-striped Flycatcher (Mionectes olivaceus)  1
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant (Lophotriccus pileatus)  1
Lesser Greenlet (Pachysylvia decurtata)  X
Brown Jay (Psilorhinus morio)  X
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren (Henicorhina leucophrys)  2
Black-faced Solitaire (Myadestes melanops)  1
Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus fuscater)  2
Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)  10
Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi)  X
Common Chlorospingus (Chlorospingus flavopectus)  3
Chestnut-capped Brushfinch (Arremon brunneinucha)  3
Melodious Blackbird (Dives dives)  X
Montezuma Oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma)  2
Yellow-throated Euphonia (Euphonia hirundinacea)  2    male and female.
Golden-browed Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia callophrys)  1

Chestnut-capped brush-finch

female coppery headed emerald

 

Male green crowned brilliant, a fairly common hummer here. Photo taken using digi-scoping technique. Swarovski ATX 65mm+ Swarovski TLS APO+canon 50D

10:40am Time to move on, our next stop was lunch at the small town of Pital, once on the road 744 it was all gravel although in ok conditions, once here the landscape include vast pineapple and yucca plantations, not many towns in between until you reach Pital so it is good to make sure you have water and any necessary snacks for the drive. It is convenient to have colones as dollars are not commonly accepted (at least experienced that at lunch time).

We finally got to Maquenque lodge which is where we spent our time at about 2:30pm, soon as I got there I saw the potential, nice trails, lagoons and gardens, after checking in I immediately went out to bird the gardens and feeders, like the other lodges here lagoons are an important part of the lodge, hosting common birds such as jacanas, gallinules, anhingas and various herons, I was hoping for agami heron but I was not lucky. Although a near by green ibis was nice. The feeders produced all the common birds, honeycreepers, oropendolas, tanagers, gray-headed chachalacas etc. the garden produced white ringed flycatcher, crimson-collared tanager, yellow-bellied elaenia, canebrake wren (recent split from plain wren), slaty spinetail, all 3 toucans species for this area, great green and scarlet macaws, long-tailed tyrant and many more!

The hotel is very nice, beautiful rooms, all rooms are separate and surrounded by gardens. Most/all facing the lagoons.

green ibis


Red legged honeycreeper and long tailed tyrant

king vulture is not exactly rare here at Boca tapada, this afternoon I saw at least 9 perched on a tree.

I was pleased with this site, rooms were nice, food good, staff was excellent and very accommodating. I was so looking forward to sunrise to go out and bird again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birding Savegre/Dota area

San Gerardo de Dota lays at the beautiful and picturesque Savegre valley. Home of the resplendent Quetzal and many other highland-Talamanca endemics.

It is easily accessible from the central Valley area and it makes it a perfect stop to those interested  on looping down the coast and adding Carara on their birding trip.
On March 6th 2017 my friends Karen Castillo and Jason Solano and I went there on a day trip, leaving Quepos at 3:45am as the drive there is about 3hrs +- via San Isidro. On the way we did a stop on Villa Mills to try Costa Rican pygmy-owl, we also enjoyed some of the first birds of the day here such as mountain elaenias, long tailed silky-flycatcher, sooty-capped chlorospingus, black-cheeked warbler and more, all of which we saw later on the day, so at the end I felt it made little sense to stop here as we did not get the owl, but who would had guessed right?!

Villa Mills road, this road loops back to the main inter-american road, so it is best birded by car, stopping along the way until you reach the pave again.

Our next stop was as we were driving down the road towards San Gerardo, we fund a fruting mistletoe and it was quite productive, flame throated warbler, more chlorospingus and elaenias, sooty thrushes, black-billed nightingale thrush, then Jason spotted a buffy tuftedcheek foranging at eye level so it gave us good looks of this funny-uncle Sam looking guy! After some few minutes we made our way down to miss Miriam’s soda, an excellent and convenient place for breakfast and birds too, here feeders often produce good birds such as Yellow bellied siskin and golden-browed chlorophonia and many of the common species such as yellow-thighed finch, large footed finch and acorn woodpecker.

 

This sign up the road looks promising! Quetzal and Saw-whet owl! Above miss Miriam’s restaurant, a must do stop. 

Flame throated warbler.

Flame colored tanager (Piranga)

After an excellent breakfast we went to the trails at Miss Miriam’s family cabins (nice little place to stay BTW) and looked specifically for Buffy-crowned wood-partridge which we got after a good while! we heard rufous-browed peppershrike, again many long-tailed Silky-FC, sooty thrushes, black billed nightingale-thrush and volcano, magnificent, and fiery-throated hummingbirds, and more.

Buff-fronted quail-dove, one of the best birds we got here.

Male volcano H. 

We then continued to the entrance of the Waterfall trail, we we spent the rest of the day, this is known as a good location for resplendent Quetzal (although, up the road from Trogon lodge is among the best sites) The soonest we got to the entrance area we got birds such as yellowish Fc, slaty flower piercer, mountain elaenia, black-throated green warbler, then a torrent tyrannulet, gray-breasted woodwren, spangle-cheeked tanager, ruddy-capped nightingale thrush and black faced solitaire.

Dedicated to the pioneers of San Gerardo

Entrance to the waterfall trail

Slaty flowerpiercer

Trail to the waterfall, and my friends watching a Louisiana water-thrush at the Savegre river.

Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush

After a while we reached the gate to Truchas reales, we were lucky to get quick-yet good views of a male resplendent Quetzal it seemed it was working on a potential nest.  Other birds we enjoyed were, emerald toucanet, black-thighed grosbeak, spot-crowned woodcreeper, tufted FC and a nice small flock which produced close views of both male and female golden-browed chlorophonia, all of those as we walked past truchas reales.

Chlorophonia.

It was time for lunch! it was 2:00pm already after all! So we went back up to Miss Miriam’s for lunch, this time we added other birds to the day list such as barred parakeets  flying distant but enough to see

On our way back to Quepos we went quickly to the communication towers up in Cerro Bella vista, a good spot for Volcano Junco and timberline wren, it was a bit windy and a little cold for us lowland people, so we saw on volcano junco for the year list and decided it was time to get back to warm whether.

After this trip I felt that this is a great option for the keen birder that comes to stay at Manuel Antonio with family (non birders) and is interested to get those highland specialists, it takes a keen birder to leave at 4:00am but certainly worth it if their holiday does not include other classic destinations such as Monteverde.

 

 

 

 

 

 

95 species while birding at Esquipulas in a morning. 

Esquipulas is located approximately 26km to the East of Manuel Antonio and unquestionably offers the best birding experience in the nearby vicinity of the park. The park itself is too poor for birds and it can be quite noisy and crowded, so any one birding Manuel Antonio would have far better time here than at the park itself!
On March 2nd 2017 for the second time I had the opportunity to lead a trip to miss Christine Kozlosky whom I birded at Carara with just days ago and got an impressive 150 in a full day!

As usual, we left Manuel Antonio at 4:45am and got to Esquipulas at 5:25am right with the sunrise, our first birds were some common pauraques as we drove the hilly gravel-country road up to Esquipulas.
The soonest we got out of the car it was wonderful! Birds calling everywhere (hence the beauty of leaving the bed early!), time to put hands on our bins.

A small fig tree located right where I usually start to walk was full of fruit and so with birds, soon we got chestnut headed oropendola (although not expected for the region on Garrigues 2014 there is a fairly established colony since 5+ years now, maybe the southern Pacific population expanding north). We quickly got the regular tanagers such as golden hooded, bay headed, palm, blue gray, green honecreeper, red leggued hc, blue dacnis and then masked tityra.

Masked tityra, Bay headed tanager and got even a slaty tailed trogon! the last trogon we were missing to complete the trogon list for the region.

After seeing several birds we decided to walk into the bush for some meters as I heard a slaty spinetail which we did see, but also got yellow tyrannulet and then a piratic flycatcher and several views of the golden naped woodpecker (an endemic we share with Panama) Later we got northern barred woodcreeper collecting bark (with which they line their nest)  and then tawny-winged woodcreeper! (doing the same?) At this time I kept scanning the forest canopy in hopes for turquoise cotinga! No luck for the moment but did get some swallow-tailed kites, a specie that Chris was very interested on seeing!

left Northern-barred Woodcreeper and right tawny-winged woodcreeper

Back on the road, we continued walking seeing some of the regulars, tanagers, white crowned parrots, swifts, flycatchers and more, then we spotted a white hawk that flew to a perch at a good distance but close enough to see it well on the scope.  This area of Esquipulas where I start the birding trip is a nice ravine with excellent opportunities for raptors, birds such as white hawk, barred hawk, king vulture, black hawk-eagle, short tailed hawk, broad winged hawk, swallow tailed kite, all which we saw, literally on the same thermal throughout  the morning!

As we continued we got good views of crested guans, then, golden winged warbler, tennessee, yellow and chestnut sided warblers, blue black grossbeak, yellow billed cacique, riverside wren, and many more, but missed the laughing falcon which kept laughing at us as we could not find it where it was perched! but oh well, Chris remedied that with a close look of a male turquoise cotinga! and later we got both male and female Baird’s trogon! both endemics we share with Panama.

 

male turquoise cotinga

Bairds trogon

 

Fiery billed Aracary, a common endemic found on the central and south Pacific slope of CR and western Panama.

 

Although Esquipulas consist basically of a gravel road that allows access to secondary forest, views of primary forest and it’s canopy, gardens, some creeks, ravines, scrub, grasslands, there are also some very short paths that allows access to forest interior, good for some manakins, rufous piha, white throated shrike-tanager and more.

After some great views we continued on the walk, soon we got more swallow tailed kites, broad winged hawk and short tailed hawks! the raptors where finally coming out!  It was 10:30am, we still needed blue crowned manakin and white ruffed manakin which we  looked hard for, funny how a common, or somewhat easy specie can just disappear once you look them hardly (yes the blue crowned eluded us at Carara even!) so I guess that is a reason for miss Christine to come back! On our walk back to the car we got excellent views of short tailed hawk again, then 2 king vultures flying relatively low, right after that a Barred hawk flew just about 3 meters above our heads, chased by some kiskadees and tropical kindbirds, what a treat to see such beautiful hawk! not just flying so close but to perch for us to allow good views and even a picture (digiscoped with a cell phone, like all pictures on this post).

Once we thought we were done, siting at the car and just before I close my door I heard a distant Black hawk-eagle, out we went rapidly and searched the sky for it, after 3 to 4 minutes it came up form the mountain, to join the soaring black, turkey and king vultures.

Digiscoping a bird on flight, using a scope and a cellphone with NO adapters is an Art, here a king vulture.

Barred hawk

After a while I took Chris to the La Gallega river, a location I know for collared plover as she mentioned she enjoys peeps as well, literally we got out of the car and there it was! not one but 2 adults and at least 3 chicks. La Gallega river is reliable for this specie, also good for red-breasted meadowlark (and eastern), tropical mockingbird and on occasion double striped thick-knees. This river is accessible via Naranjito.

 

A bad shot, distant and the hot atmosphere does not help, but here a collared plover.

watching collared plovers

Not done yet! We where having such great time we agreed there was room for another good bird before heading back to her Villa, this time a Mangove hummingbird! this bird, endemic to Costa Rica only. For this we drove to the town of Damas, an area where mosts tour companies start the locally famous Damas Mangrove tour. This is the best site I know locally for this hummer, the soonest we got to the mangrove there was a male perched at eye level, later, as we walked into the mangrove I played ferruginous pygmy-owl twice to see what could George bring out for us (a joke Roy and I use to say referring to the pygmy-owl recording) this was productive as we got prothonotary warbler, some chestnut sided and yellow (northern) warbler and then another bird that eluded us at Tarcoles the other day! a male resident Yellow warbler (mangrove raze).

Mangrove canal at low tide, this site where we were standing is flooded during high tide.

Time to call it a day! we ended the morning with a total of 95 species, a new friend and many great memories!

Miss Christine Kozlosky.

 

 

150 species while birding Carara area!

Carara national park area is known as one of the must sees to any birders coming to CR, it’s position on a transition area offers a great variety of habitats of both life zones; Dry and wet forests.

No matter how many hundreds of times I had been to Carara I always enjoy leading trips here or just simply birding on my own to locate those sought after species as I know the area can bring surprises any time, after all Carara has a max list of 482 so there is always good stuff (data from the X-mas bird-counts organized by my friend Johan Fernandez).

On February 28th 2017 I had the opportunity to bird for a full day with miss Christine Kozlosky, an excellent-advanced birder from Athens, GA, USA. We met at her villa here in Manuel Antonio at 4:45am and after meeting each other we left onto what happened to be an extraordinary day!

Along the way we got some birds such as brown jay, scissor tailed flycatcher, yellow headed and crested caracaras and a gray hawk. Then by 6:15 we arrived to our first spot; Villa Lapas road.

The road to leads to Bijagual (mostly known by birders as the Villa Lapas road or the waterfall road) is an excellent birding site (one can perfectly spend an entire morning here), and often produces species that are either hard to see or just unlikely seen inside the park itself, our first bird at this site was a male blue grosbeak followed by an indigo bunting! then gray-crowned yellowthrhoat, northern and southern rough-winged swallows, macaws and more, although for the moment the best bird had been a striped cuckoo! although I did enjoy seen my first-for-the-year yellow-green vireo.

We then moved up the road a little, 1 mile from villa Lapas precisely. At this site you will see a nice new restaurant with an amazing view to the gulf, tarcoles river and Carara in general, I had never been disappointed here! Yellow-throated toucans (former black mandibled) and fiery-billed aracary were seen almost simultaneously, then gartered trogon and later crested guan! rufous naped wren, baltimore oriole, yellow billed cacique,  hold on! not done yet! turquoise-browed motmot, blue black grossbeak, and the typical seedeaters and several more birds, I felt like I didnt want to leave the site, but it was time to move to Carara, it was 7:45am after all!

Philadelphia vireo

Philadelphia vireo

Squirrel cuckoo

Squirrel cuckoo

Gartered trogon, crested guan and fiery billed aracary.

Gartered trogon, crested guan and fiery billed aracary.

 

After paying our fees we drove 1 more mile to the river trail (best known as the lagoon trail) I prefer to bird the morning here for those dry (ier) forest species species since as the day warms up it offers good chances to see raptors, which otherwise would be missed since at the headquarter trails the forest is so thick and does not allow much views of the sky. Soonest we parked we got lucky with a pair of pale billed woodpeckers, the first 50 meters were a bit slow, but once reaching the first fig tree there was some activity, we got northern bentbill, clay colored thrush, we heard rufous tailed jacamar, royal flycatcher and streak chested antpitta, and missed a female orange-collared manakin, although 10 minutes later we got a goo looking male! After a few “regular” birds we worked hard to find a calling Baird’s trogon, our second trogon of the day!

Orange collared manakin, bairds trogon and long billed hermit

Orange collared manakin, bairds trogon and long billed hermit

For those who had never been to Carara and are planning a trip here, the lagoon trail is nice, fairly open trail, mostly shady but with some sunny patches, we did the “short cut” to the lagoon and looped back via the main trail, the short cut is only suggested with a guide as it is easy to take the wrong turn. On our way we saw white-whiskered puffbird, macaws of course, black bellied and rufous breasted wrens, dot winged antwrens (which are common here) golden hooded tanagers, plain xenops and various other birds. On our way back we got scrub greenlet, 2 black headed trogon and later near the exit a black throated trogon! at this point we had seen 4 out of 5 trogons species that occur here, slaty tailed trogon should not be that hard I said to Christine! its 11:00am after all!

Black headed trogon

Black headed trogon

scrub euphonia, a common dry forest specie

scrub euphonia, a common dry forest specie

At 11:15am after seen king vulture on a thermal as we drove to Tarcoles, we got to the Mangroves near the southern side of Tarcoles river mouth, here we got Panama Flycatcher, mangrove vireo, common black hawk, bare throated tiger heron, some peeps and birds associated to this habitat, then we got american pygmy kingfisher, and orange fronted parakeet, all which we only saw here.

Orange fronted parakeet, panama fc, common black-hawk and mangrove vireo.

Orange fronted parakeet, panama fc, common black-hawk and mangrove vireo.

american pygmy KF.

american pygmy KF.

After that we then went back to Carara, this time to cover the head quarter trails, now at 1:00pm we hoped to get the most out of it as Carara closes at 4:00pm (a bit too early in my opinion). We soon saw bicolored antbird and gray headed tanager, we knew it! army ants were there! although it seemed the flock (and ants) were a bit too far from the trail, fingers crossed for our return. Our priority was manakins tinamous and antpitta!

Great tinamou, scarlet macaw and gray headed tanager

Great tinamou, scarlet macaw and gray headed tanager, Carara is got to be about the best site in the west coast fro tinamou and antpitta.

We then continued to the famous “manakin baths” located on the Quebrada Bonita trail, and there it was! red capped manakin! both male and female. We waited for the blue crowned to show up but unfortunately it did not, we needed to head back as we hoped the ants would come down so we could get those nice ant specialists! Getting some birds such as white whiskered puffbird, macaws, streak chested antpitta, great tinamous and more along the way.

 

(Play the video in the highest resolution possible)

Finally as we returned out (3:20pm) we got the ant swarm come down the trail! time to enjoy the birds! we got pretty much all the common birds that join this fierce swarms, highlights included black-faced antthrush and northern barred woodcreeper.

Now, once out of Carara, and because there is always room for more birds we decided to stop at Los Sueños Marriot as I know there is a pair of thick-knees there as well as least grebes at the golf course, we did see them as well as southern lapwings and some herons on the ponds! Not every day you go to a gold course from any of the Marriott hotels to find a bird right?!

At the end we sat to work on today’s list and what a surprise! we counted 150 species total, this includes all the species that were actually seen, including the villa lapas road, the mangrove path at the river mouth of Tarcoles and Carara NP, it excludes species that were heard only such as green shrike-vireo, rufous tailed jacamar, royal flycatcher, slaty tailed trogon and others.

white whiskered puffbird

white whiskered puffbird

 

 

Birding Poas and Cinchona area. 

On February 18th I had the opportunity to lead a birding trip to the Poas Volcano and Cinchona area to miss Loretta Pelettier from Maine who I had the pleasure to bird with in 2 occasions in the past few years both at Esquipulas and Carara NP, accompanied by my friend Karen Castillo.

We met at El Robledal hotel which is right near the airport at 5:15am, we soon made our drive to Poas area, as we started to go up the hills of Poas we did our first stop which produced some of the common species for this region such as mountain elaenia, Philadelphia Vireo, rufous-collared sparrow, melodious blackbird, rose-breasted grossbeak which we only saw at this stop! And many more common garden species.
We did another stop some kilometers up the hill which produced collared redstar, stripe tailed hummingbird, olive striped flycatcher, all which we only saw at this stop plus others we saw elsewhere too such as common chlorospingus, slaty flowerpiercer, short tailed hawk, just to mention some.

By 7:30ish we got to Fredo Fresas restaurant which was convenient (highly recommended not just for good food but for birds! Here the coordinates) the soonest we got into the hummingbirds garden we got great views of a hermit warbler, considered rare to CR and sure a life bird to me!

The restaurant is on the right and the hummingbird garden on the left as you go up towards Poas.

Hermit warbler

Hermit warbler

 

The feeders produced green crowned brilliant, magnificent hummingbird, magenta throated woodstar, green violet ear and violet sabrewing, however despite our efforts we did not see volcano hummingbird.
There is a little trail down the feeder area, a 50 meters loop that is ok to do, we got black faced solitaire and heard golden browed chlorophonia, prong billed barber and long tailed silky-flycatcher.

Magenta throated hummingbird

Magenta throated hummingbird

Later up the road we got a nice resident raze red tailed hawk, we then continued to Poas, we tried to bird the road past the stone gate but found it rather very slow, the narrow road with heavy traffic was not comfortable at all, so we decided to bird the gravel road that turns left right before the stone gate and glad we did! Immediately we got large footed finch, Karen found a hairy woodpecker and then an ochraceus wren!

Later we got a small mixed flock that produced the beautiful endemic flame-throated warbler, sooty capped chlorospingus, black and yellow silky-flycatcher, then we got fiery-throated hummingbirds and even a black guan!

Flame throated warbler

Flame throated warbler

Gravel road just before the stone gate.

Gravel road just before the stone gate.

the endemic fiery throated hummingbird

the endemic fiery throated hummingbird

It was time to move to Cinchona area as Loretta’s most wanted target was the emerald toucanet!
We drove past the Restaurante Cinchona and did a stop at La Paz Waterfall to look for black phoebe, torrent tyrannulet and american deeper, saw all but the last one.

After that another stop by the old “El Angel” plant/factory, this was great as we got golden-olive woodpecker, red faced spine tail, tufted flycatcher, red headed barbet as the highlights.
After that we turned around and got directions to the cinchona restaurant, we got there at about 2:30pm and wow! This was productive! They just put some fresh fruit and immediately silver throated, blue gray, palm, Passerini’s tanagers came in, then red headed and prong billed barbets, after other various birds our target came in! Not 1 but 3 emerald toucanets!

white hawk

white hawk

After a delicious soup for lunch it was time to call it a day, everyone was happy, we all got lifers and truly enjoyed the birds and the wonderful companion.

Birding Cinchona and Poas area is indeed great! not only for the wonderful scenery you get to see but the variety of habitats in which you will be will let you nice an interesting mix of species.

Emerald toucanet

Emerald toucanet

 

red headed barbet, a serious bird!

red headed barbet, a serious bird!

Prong billed barbet. Defending one banana!

Prong billed barbet. Defending one banana! Endemic to CR and W Pa.

Restaurante y mirador Cinchona, excellent birds, TASTY food!

Restaurante y mirador Cinchona, excellent birds, TASTY food!

Notice that recently they put this sign here, large cameras would be charge a $10 fee, I think if you consume at the restaurant they may charge less, this since lately a lot of large groups would come in with their cameras, take the entire space, photo and then leave not even consuming or at least donating a tip!

Notice that recently they put this sign here, large cameras would be charge a $10 fee, I think if you consume at the restaurant they may charge less, this since lately a lot of large groups would come in with their cameras, take the entire space, photo and then leave not even consuming or at least donating a tip!

Las cruses and Esquinas Rainforest lodge birding trip report; Part 5 of 5

On our last day, Jan 17th we were ready at 5:50 AM, this was our last day together, the end of any field trip it is always a sad day after meeting wonderful birders but above all nice new friends!

We birded some part of the gardens as usual, although this time we just focused on the bright-rumped attila which he heard every day but could not see, well, we could not see it at this time neither (high up on tree canopy and fog does not rhyme well) but managed to find one later on the morning finally!

Black striped sparrow, common garden, forest edge and roadside specie.

Black striped sparrow, common garden, forest edge and roadside specie.

After getting great looks at a black-bellied wren and rose-throated becard right behind Malcom’s and Eleanor’s room. We continued the road towards the Tropical station, as this road is productive most times, the forest edge, road side and pasture allowed views of southern-beardless tyrannulet, various tanagers, social and gray capped flycatchers and white-whinged becard among several others, time flew so fast! we walked fast back for breakfast so we would not miss it! (breakfast here is served from 7:00am to 8:00am). On a safety note, be careful if you plan to walk this road at night, the night before we saw a fer-de-lance (venomous snake) cross the road, although it does not mean there are snakes there all the time it is not bad to just watch were you step.

swallow-tailed kite

swallow-tailed kite

Although initially we were going to bird Coto 47 and after lunch we would do the species found at the town of La Gamba we decided to invert our plans, we then looked for one of out main targets; rusty-margined flycatcher which we got, a pair is known to hang out by the house with the corral, just 500-600 meters outside Esquinas. There we got several good birds we needed such as pale-breasted spine tail, yellow tyrannulet, and fork-tailed flycatcher, and other good birds we had seen already but nice to see again such as red-breasted meadowlark (blackbird), Baird’s trogon, ithsmian and riverside wrens, blue-ground dove, laughing falcon  and more.

Rusty-margined flycatcher, although this photo had been edited to compensate the awful light were the bird was at the brown margins are visibly, also notice the black cheeks and darker brown back.

Rusty-margined flycatcher, although this photo had been edited to compensate the awful light were the bird was at the brown margins are visibly, also notice the black cheeks and darker brown back.

Then, after some good birds near that house area we continued little more by car to the spot he had heard the striped-cuckoo some nights ago, and there it was! other good birds we got here where the best views of yellow bellied seedeater (a common bird in this region), white lined tanagers and streaked saltator. Then we continued to the town of La Gamba, turned left towards the Piedras blancas national park and drove for 400 meters only as I knew  a site to try great antshrike which we missed unfortunately but got a bright-rumped attila at last! After checking the river for a while we then went back for lunch.

striped cuckoo

striped cuckoo, one day I hope I can see the similar, yet improved-version pheasant cuckoo here in CR! one day as I owe that bird to a friend.

After lunch it was time to run, we needed to drive to Coto 47 near Villa Neily and had at least 35 min drive, our main targets were savanna hawk and sapphire, throated hummingbird. Soonest we got to Coto we found a small marsh drying out due to the normal summer conditions, birds everywhere! birds such as the typical herons and egrets, black bellied whistling ducks, blue winged teal, glossy ibis, spoonbills, storks, gallinules, jacanas (no wattled was seen although we looked hard for it) osprey, lesser yellowlegs and so much more, I really regret I did not take a picture as it would had been a nice memory!

We drove a few more kilometers and I heard brown-throated parakeet, one of our targets, we got at least 6 to 8 individuals and later in the afternoon we got a large flock.

Brown throated parakeet

Brown throated parakeet

We went to the site where I had seen Savannah hawk nest in the past, despite our efforts we could not see them and I fear that no matter how hard we look for the sapphire throated hummingbird at all sites, La Gamba, Coto and Ciudad Neily, the flowers all/most looked old and fading now, so we missed the hummer too. We got 3 kingfisher spp: ringed, green and amazon, as well as the common southern lapwing which was new for the trip.

A very productive day indeed!

Our day ended with a lovely dinner, we did the day’s list and counted all we saw during our five days together. Good birds, many lifers for miss Eleanor and Malcom who had visited the country various times now, on this field trip we all had great moments lived and the best, new friends!

From left to right: Malcom, Johan and miss Eleanor, from Portland, Maine. USA.

From left to right: Malcom, Johan and miss Eleanor, from Portland, Maine. USA.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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