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2022 A year of some normality.

As 2022 comes to its end with just 7 hours left on the clock I find myself writing this post full of joy but most important, gratitude.

2020 was a roller coaster and although 2021 was better it wasn’t exactly the best year neither. No complaints, there was health, and some laughter, but also tears and sacrifice.

2022 was a year of good, prosperity but in my opinion above all of that was a year of reflection, a year where we all learnt we are capable of great things during the strangest times our generation has lived. We fought, suffered but we adapted, evolved and thrived.

How was 2022 for me? amazing, blessed, full of health, tests and overcoming. Many of my clients who over the years had become friends came back to Costa Rica and got to take them on different birding trips ranging from multiple-day trips to one day trips, new friends were made and many, many birds were seen. Do I have any favorite birds, oh where do I even start!?

On January, during a trip I led for friends Mary and Dave Collins we had a blast and enjoyed not only amazing birds but also the companion, the jokes, the experiences we lived. During this trip we got the closest looks and perhaps the best pictures I have ever gotten of the rare Agami Heron, a bird I have seen several times before, but not this close.

During February although I had the chance to conduct two trips in CR the best bird came from the one I led for Natalie Tanner and her nieces Claire and Hannah. This trip was epic and although we got birds like Lanceolated Monklet, my favorite was no doubt the Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo, a lifer bird to me and basically the last bird we saw as we were ending the trip.

On March I had a few favs, On early March I went on a scouting trip near the Panamanian border searching for some targets for my friends and clients Jim and Gretchen Peterson, this produced Northern Mouse-colored Tyrannulet, a lifer to me then.

Next bird would be Lattice-tailed Trogon a bird David Northrup and I got as lifer to us both during our CR trip in El Copal!

Oh how could I forget the Black-chested Jay! this was during Jim and Gretchen´s trip to San Vito area, a friend Henry gave us intel on where to find it and we did!

Gretchen, Jim, the Black-chested jay and I. This Jay apparently has an addition to reflections!

My next favorite bird was thanks to my friend Alex Montero who gave us the intel needed for it; Rusty Sparrow, near Puriscal.

Rusty Sparrow

Western Gull is next on my fav list, apparently one individual has been in Port Puntarenas since a year + now and after 6 trips searching for it I finally got it during a NON birding trip!

Back in October I was guiding some days in Monteverde area for friends Dennis and Kristin from NY and a report of Blue-winged Warbler was recent in Curi-cancha reserve, after an intense search we got it! Thanks to Esteban Mendez for the heads up and to Kristine and Dennis for bringing me yet another lifer (they got me a Violet-green Swallow some years ago!).

Finally the last favorite bird of 2022 was a Ringed-billed Gull. Yes a gull! These birds usually do not come this far south but every now and then some do and really make exiting news to us Costa Rica birders.

I am now looking forward to 2023, What would the new year bring to us all? Lets we make an awesome year!

Happy new year to you all!



Birding Cloudbridge and San Gerardo de Rivas — Global big-day Oct 6th.

A big day, year, sit, or any period of time you decide to call it is an event in the birding community where birdwactchers try to record the highest number of birds possible within that period of time – again, day or year! and list could be a yard list, feeder list, state/province, country, or even the whole world! Its a fun and friendly competition of between birders. Some call it the wold cup of the birding industry!

On Oct 6th the second Global Big day was celebrated, and unlike a personal big day, on this event teams work hard to get the biggest number possible to put their respective countries high on the list (whilst I am sure many teams also are eager to tip their country team “competitors”!). I had the chance to join my friends Andres Chaves “El Socio”, Eidel Chaves “Socio jr” and Oscar Herrera. We decided to bird Cloudbridge and part of the trail that leads to Costa Rica’s most strenuous hike; Chirripó mountain, an excellent place for furnarids, our main wanted group, with our target species being Buff-fronted, Scaly-throated, and Lineated foliage-Gleanes are our target list, we therefore called our team “The foliage-gleaners”.

The Team. Cameras, audio recorders, bins and scopes, boy we were off to a great day! Form L to R: Andres, Oscar, Eidel, Johan.

We arrived to Cloud bridge at 6:45am and soon began to bird, we got the common forest edge species such as Snowy-bellied, Stripe-tailed hummingbirds, Red-faced Spine tail, purple-crowned Fairy and others, as typical of this place, the entrance area was quite productive.

Snowy-Bellied Hummingbird, a common regional endemic.

Once we ventured into the forest we found the activity to be quite slow, despite the beautiful sunny day we had (3-4 days of non-stop rain just had ended), still we continued and too the trail that leads to the Chirripo’s main trail (4km area), the is quite steep, and often difficult to carry a tripod, during the first 2 hours we got some iconic species such as Resplendent Quetzal, Northern Emerald Toucanet,  rufous-browed Peppershrike, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, PLENTY of Brown-capped Vireos, and after several more birds we finally recorded our first Lineated Foliage-Gleaner!

Then, followed by almost 1hr of CERO activity and about 2km of ascending a very steep, open habitat we finally cough up with some more highlights, which included the beautiful Brown-billed Scythebill which allowed some good audio recordings and some documentation pictures, very nice to bring back the energies to continue! Other common birds here included both Collared and Slate-throated Redstars, Tufted Flycatchers and Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, but if that was not enough, a pair of Golden-browed Chlorophonias came into the view!

Collared Redstar – a regional endemic, common at highlands and middle elevations.

Tufted Flycatcher

The Brown-billed Scythebill

Female Golden Browed Chlorophonia

Once we made it to the 4th kilometer junction, we all took a short break, but in the meantime were quite eager to spot the SIlvery-throated Jay–a bird I have never seen before, nevertheless we were not fortunate to find.😣

Later as we began the 4 kilometers steep descend we were fortunate to get another furnarid; “Buffy Tuftedcheek!”-screamed Oscar, then Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Spotted Barbtail and then, one of our targets: Buff-fronted Foliage Gleaner a bird I had seen few times in San Gerardo de Dota, Los Quetzales NP, and other sites.


Buffy Tuftedcheek.

Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Considered a rare inhabitant of mossy cloud-forest













Spot-crowned Woodcreeper

In Resume, birding here, like many middle-elevation sites is all about mixed flocks, and if you are lucky with a few flocks along your hike it can be a superb day of birding, we considered it to be a very slow day but it did produce some highlights -we all agreed Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner to be the bird of the day!. Nevertheless we recorded 87 species for the day.

After all, we all had learned that the best part of these events are not just the birds, it is the companion, the jokes, the food at the field, and the many memories to take in our minds of a wonderful day with people who sahre the same passion; BIRDS!

The ebird List can be seen at

late lunch

I was curious what was past the sign “Outdoor Rustic Bathroom”

Chirripo trail


Our team “flag”


Birding Puriscal area — Bocana

Bocana de Puriscal is located just north of the little visited la Cangreja National park, this in the province of San Jose.

The area suffered severe deforestation decades ago , and unfortunately what must have been precious foothill and parts of middle elevation forest is now turned into cattle pasture, and agriculture fields. Nevertheless the pioneer farmers kept a narrow strip of forest
along the ravines on which the small creeks run down the mountains, these have been extremely important habitat to the few species that were able to adapt to this serious forest alteration.

I usually get to visit this place 3 to 5 times a year to visit family and I always get to enjoy some birding at this place, it is excellent for owling, at times I have seen literally three species of owls perched on the same branch in a gap of 1.5 hours!

On this this trip I spent 2 days Birding along the track down the mountains -each trip was about two to three hours -. This time it was geared with my recorder to collect some audio as well as with my camera.

Again, the Level of deforestation , and the way the forest have been narrowed down to a slim strip had made made it

easier to get species that are otherwise extremely difficult such as scaly breasted wren, basically every time I come here I get to see this bird and to even good decent pictures of this elusive little wren.

Other species that favor this kind of habitat are Sulphur-rumped flycatcher which remains near water.

Other typical species that are nearly always seen here include the near endemic endemic Black-hooded Antshrike, fiery billed aracary, spot crowned euphonia, although the later can be easily see at open habitat.

Tropical Gnatcatcher.

The Fiery-billed Aracari is a common bird here. A near endemic shared with Panama


Despite the steep walk I always find birding here quite productive as the track is essentially along the creek, so does the forest, like this it is easy to follow foraging troops as the line of forest dictates their traveling pattern. Now, from a photographer’s perspective, it is great to walk down the hill so birds are seen near eye level.

This might not be a place for the tourist to visit as it would be a bit hard to fit in an itinerary unless your birding trip is off the beaten path, although if you are a Costa Rican or an simply someone retired and living near Puriscal, it might worth to bird the area, you never know what you can get.

The lists:

Pale-billed Woodpecker

Some of the audio recordings:

Lesson’s motmot

Rufous-and-white wren

Blue-crowned manakin

Blue ground dove

Female gartered trogon

Birding Esquinas Rainforest lodge and Coto 47 – Field trip.

Between July 16th to July 18th I had the opportunity to lead a birding trip to the southern Pacific side of Costa Rica to my friends Jim and Gretchen Peterson whom I have had 4-5 consecutive years the opportunity to be their guide while during their last birding trips to Costa Rica.

After three years of trying Scaly-breasted Wren unsuccessfully we decided to try luck at Esquinas Rain-forest Lodge. My friends picked me up from Quepos and so another adventure began. We did some stops along the way,  including El Rey Marsh, where in just 20-30 minutes we got some of the common birds nevertheless the highlight was no doubt American Pygmy-Kingfisher.

A long drive we saw Gray and Roadside Hawks as well as a Double-toothed Kite perched on a wire (a bit unusual). We got to the town of La Gamba and began our Birding; our first birds included Red-crowned Woodpecker which is very common naturally, some of the typical Seedeaters, then Blue-headed Parrots flew over providing us some quick -poor views but fortunately later on we were able to spot some perched. As we continued we found Rusty-margined Flycatcher, one of our targets, then we stopped at River right before getting to Esquinas and we got entertained seeing a Band-tailed Barbthroat and then one of our targets showed up, Red-rumped Woodpecker, we began to run out of targets so soon! recording of the BTBT

Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

Curassows are the stars of the show here.

After dinner we went to do some owling which produced two owls; Black-and-white Owl and Tropical Screech-Owl, unfortunately we missed Striped Owl and potoos.


Gladiator tree frog

The next morning and with big expectations we decided to take the riverbed trail, soon enough we got one of the 2 main targets for Jim, Striped Woodhunter along with some of the common species including Great Curassow, Black striped and orange-billed sparrows, Bairds Trogon, the Costa  Rica only endemic Black-cheeked Anttanager and others.

After breakfast we had to focus on our next target; Scaly-breasted Wren, and taking Julia’s recommendation we took the waterfall trail looping back via la Fila trail and finally we were able to hear 1 singing! as we approached to its location our sudden moves and a bad maneuver from my part flushed the wren away, three years of effort flushed away in front of her eyes!! As rain came upon us we had to continue down the Fila trail and we found a small mixed flock feeding with an army ant swarm, after seeing a couple of Tawny-winged Woodcreepers, Bicolored antbirds, gray-headed Tanager, Lesson’s Motmot, another Scaly-breasted Wren sang so we knew we were back in the game!. After less than a minute of play back that little brown and elusive wren flew in front of us, walked up for 3 to 4 feet and began to call in front of us, great success!

On our Next day, after a short birding session and a good breakfast we left for Coto 47, a marshland south of Esquinas, not far from the Panama border. Although first we stopped at the Hospital road we got Sapphire-throated Hummingbird as the highlight. Later not one but three Gray-lined Hawks! We were just missing the famous Savanna hawk at this point.

Later we went to the sector known as Las Pangas, the flooded conditions where ideal for the thousands of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, hundreds of Northern Jacanas, however, we had to be so lucky to stop at a spot, where after some scanning I was able to spot a pair of Masked ducks! a new species to my life list, and new for Gretchen and Jim’s CR list! A duck I had tried many times at San Vito in the past!

A picture Gretchen got of me while digiscoping my lifer.

After that we then continued to another spot for more Red-rumped Woodpecker, unfortunately, given the floods suffered in the area some months ago the habitat is gone, nevertheless we got many Crested Oropendolas and a pair of Brown-throated Parakeet. After this, we checked another marsh and got a good glossy ibis, and right after that a bird that had characteristics of a Hybrid Northern x Wattled Jacana was foraging near the road.

The Hybrid Jacana, I saw, exactly on the same spot what I presume is the same individual (?) back in September

Followed that we had our last stop, Savanna hawk. I took Gretchen  and Jim to one of the spots and as we scanned the trees Jim asked – “Do they perched on the fence posts?” and soon enough a hawk was been harassed by some kiskadees and perched on the post – “now we know they do” I said!! (seconds before I just had said I had never seen them on posts, but only on trees, dead branches or the ground!).

Savanna Hawk

This is a trip I particularly enjoyed guiding, excellent and challenging at the same time due to the tough targets but above all for the wonderful companion. Enjoyed every minute of it.


Celebration selfie! From left to Right: Gretchen, me and Jim.

Photos by Jim and Gretchen.


Global Big day 2018

On May 5th 2018 another Global Big Day was celebrated, I was able to join my friend Oscar Herrera and called our team “Solitary sandpipers”.

We visited La Marta Wildlife refuge, we left Manuel Antonio by midday and arrived by 7:00pm after some stops along the way. After dinner we immediately ventured into the forest to do some photography.


May 5th, up and ready just about sunrise. We were waken by the many birds near the open habitat right at the main building.

Tawny-crested Tanager, fairly common at this location.

The area by the gate and the road that leads towards the camping site is very, very productive, we got various flocks of tanagers where black and yellow tanagers and emerald tanagers were the highlights and also quite common. The flowers along the road produced snowcap, Bronze tailed plumeleteer, purple crowned fairy and crowned woodnymph. We found that spending the time here was quite good since it produced the largest amount of birds seen on the day thanks to the fruiting trees (Melastomataceae) on the area.


Black and yellow tanager

The forest at La Marta is quite interesting, La Marta is a large reserve and most of it used to belong to the Hacienda La Marta, a huge coffee and sugar cane plantation that used to operate between 1890s to 1920’s. One can still see the vestiges of what seems was a prosperous hacienda.

Most of the forest that can be accessed consists of advanced secondary growth, and the primary forest is quite far and we were told it would take 3-4hrs hiking to get to. Our expectations were a bit higher as we were comparing it with a nearby reserve; the amazing El Copal. However, this site is known as one of the best in Costa Rica for the rare Lanceolated Monklet, special thanks to PATRICK O’Donnell for the heads up! We got a bird reply to our playback and it flew over our heads, allowing only quick views but enough to count it in the GBD, however, we went back to the location and were able to see it, after a long and patience wait, this had been the second time I had seen this small, hard-finding bird.

Cellphone photo by Oscar H.


The lodging here is very, very simple (fine to us, and quite fun indeed), but if you are looking for some luxury this is not your place. We were the only ones and were able to use the kitchen to prepare our own meals, reservations must be made if you plan to stay here, however if you plan to visit for the day you can just drop by and pay the entrance fee, the road from the town of Pejiballe is in excellent conditions.


WARNING: If you plan to visit Tapanti NP after La Marta and are considering taking the short cut that leads towards El Copal, keep in consideration that the road to El copal is in excellent conditions, however, the road 3 km ahead of El Copal gets pretty bad, then it becomes a rally cross track (literally) we drove on it and I will NEVER will again, I just wish I knew that before.

This “mortal danger” warning sign did not stop us from birding

Oscar Herrera (right) and me at La Marta.



Birding Talamanca reserve and cloudbridge reserve; San Gerardo de Rivas.

Cloudbridge reserve and Talamanca reserves are nestled right below Costa Rica’s highest peak; Chirripo mountain

with 3821 meters of elevation (Both reserves elevation is about 1500+ at the entrance area).

I visited this site with my wife and our baby on

Jan 10th 2018 as I needed to scout both places for upcoming birding and photography trips I will be leading here soon. Although I had birded the area in the past and I’m aware of the great birding here I needed to see the potential for photography.

Main parking site and entrance to the reserve.  Cloudbridge reserve has a nice trail system which allows for some productive birding, from the entrance we got red-headed barbets, white tailed emerald, red faced spinetail, speckled tanager and so much more.

There is no “official entrance fee” to the reserve and all they ask is a voluntary donation, they suggest us$6 per person, this is used to help maintain the reserve and reforest, so feel free to be generous.

The trails are wide enough to walk around. although a bit narrow and dark for photography.


There is no official schedule, so according to volunteers at the entrance you can get in at dawn but you must leave before dusk.

As is typical of this habitat birds come and go in mixed flocks where one can encounter tanagers, furnarids, some wrens, warblers, common chlorospingus, vireos, and more.

The birding here is very good and we got birds such as (Northern) emerald toucanet, black-faced solitaire, gray-breasted woodwren, slaty antwren, spotted barbtailed, chestnut-capped brushfinch, orange billed nightingale-thrush, scaly-breasted wren and many more.

The trails here are wide enough for birding, although, it is too narrow to shoot with a camera mounted on a tripod, the trails was a bit steep at parts to be looking around for birds with a tripod on the shoulder, too dark and the forest a bit too thick so I did not feel that this would be a good place to photograph. Still, a nice hike and impressive views of the cloud forest with almost zero crowds.



Chestnut capped brush-finch and black faced solitaire

A picture of the wall map at Cloudbridge.

We left the place to see Talamanca reserve, although on our way we were lucky to find a small bakery, a small touristic project called Garden house bird observatory. +506 71630339 contact is Christopher Instagram  This little place is a small family business that believes in conservation and environmental education through the birds. They are getting started with some reforestation, also they have WELL maintained feeders that are extremely productive, I got here golden-olive and red-crowned woodpeckers, red-headed barbet, white naped and chestnut capped brush-finches, tanagers, thrushes, snowy bellied hummingbird, white-tailed emerald crested coquette (nailed some SE-CR and W-PA endemics from the chair) and more!

I am really fond of small family business like this as people had learned that birds can provide an income and hence a better interest to protect them and their forest.

Red-headed barbet, a bird with attitude

My favorite off all CR tangara spp; Speckled tanager

After a nice chat with Christopher and 1000 clicks on my camera it was time to leave to Talamanca reserve. Once there we were received by Kenneth who is the manager of the place, I intermediately  saw the potential for birding and bird-photography; their feeders are full of gree, red leggued, shinning honeycreepers, speckled, silver-throated, cherrie’s tanagers, thrushes, lesson’s motmot, fiery billed aracary, gosh was it busy!

Lesson´s motmot. Portrait capture using Canon 7DMII + Swarovski TLS APO + Swarovski ATX scope. Subject at 10 meters. No flash. 1/125 ISO 1000. NO aperture nor focal length available with this technique

Fiery billed aracary

The grounds of Talamanca are beautiful for photography or simple to bird watch, the trails of the reserve, although as steep as Cloudbridge’s are somewhat wider, thus allowing good views. Apparently the chance to see Quetzals at both places are good during the right time of the year.



My 2017 Top ten birds.

We are only 7 days away from the end of 2017! It is time to be with family and friends, to think of everything we had done this year and what will we do on the next year, learning from the positive and negative things the year brought to us.

2017 has been a beautiful year, I have had the chance to meet many wonderful people that had leaved a positive impact on my life, both personal and professional.


In terms of birds, 2017 has been a bit of a slow year for my personal birding, being a father brought me different priorities which I greatly enjoy, and I hope as Edrian grows up I can catch up with my hardcore birding style on 2018. Simply being a father is the best thing it has ever happened to me!



Roy Orozco

On the other hand, I really, really miss my friend Roy with whom I chased birds all around the country, birding simply has not been the same to me since he left.  Although close friends had been there for me and I had really had fun with them birding, I am thankful for their friendship and for all they had thought to me.


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.

From left to right: Karen Castillo, Johan Chaves, Andres Chaves “Socio” and Manuel Cabalceta. Photo courtesy of Socio.

I am very excited for 2018! and looking forward to the birding tours I will be leading but also looking forward to birding with my peeps.

Here is a list of my favorite birds of 2017.

10: Cedar Waxwing. A bird we chased quite a bit back in 2015 and 2016, but finally I managed to see it early in the year while leading a birding tour in Carara NP.

9 Rufous-rumped antwren:

We saw this bird in Tapanti NP with my friends Oscar H, Andres Ch. and Karen C. on Sept 1st. A bird I was hoping to see at one point.

8 – Yellow-rumped warbler:

A bird I had seen at El Rey in the past, but this warbler are certainly always a good bird to Costa Rican birders! I saw one at Maquenque eco-lodge on early December while I was working as the naturalist guide on a photo tour.

7- Hooded warbler:

My first lifer of the year! I got this bird at El Rey on Jan 05th while birding with a friend Andres E.

6- Plain chachalaca:

A bird Roy and I chased in Guanacaste are but we failed to see it back in 2014-2015.

5- Hermit warbler.

A surprise bird to me, while leading a tour to a friend and client Miss Loretta P. near Poas volcano area.


4 Central american pygmy-owl.

A nestling bird at Laguna Lagarto lodge during a visit there on April 9th.

3- Pain billed Crake.

Oh big thanks to my friend Daniel Hernandez! who insisted I should go to see this bird! Coto 47 Sept 14th

2- Agami Heron.

A bird I had seen only once ever back in 2006. A bird had been seen regularly in Cahuita Natinal park, my wife and I happen to be there during that time and thanks to the directions given by a friend Daniel Martinez we got the bird.


1- Aplomado Falcon

A bird got established for several days in Coris De Cartago back in Late Jul early Sept. thanks to my friend Johan Fernandez for the heads up.


Have a merry Christmas and may the 2018 bring you health, peace and prosperity, but also excellent birding!

Johan Chaves.

Johan Chaves- Photo courtesy of Nancy Barcelo




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!








Rufous-crested coquette at Rancho Naturalista

Rancho Naturalista as is known is one of Costa Rica’s best birding lodges, not only the infrastructure itself is nicely design but the birding here is superb and so are the great guides found at Rancho such as Harry Barnard, Herman Venegas, Luis Murillo and others.

Well, if Rancho was not great enough already, one of the 2 rarest hummingbirds in Costa Rica re-appears at Rancho, Rufous-crested coquette! According Skutch and Stiles (1989) […known from 4 captured birds in October on different years 1892-1906…]yes! little more than a century ago!

On October 30th one bird was noticed by a local guide; Ludovico Vega and photographed by a birder Beltran Lara (know in Facebook by his pseudonym Astro Natura) who generated an excellent alarm in all aspects, needless to say this caused what many might consider the best twitch in MANY years!

One thing that I must detach is that the birding ethics here at Rancho are second to no one, and while the owners Miss Kathy, mr John, and Lisa Erb are extremely wonderful and welcoming they make sure the birds are not stressed.

No flash, no playback, keep your distance.

No flash, no playback, keep your distance.

After some attempts I finally made it to Rancho on Nov 2nd to see this fantastic bird, we literally got out of the car at 2:35pm and Harry pointed the bird immediately! how pleasurable after a 5.5hr drive! I must thank Miss Kathy and mr John, Lisa Erb for being so generous and welcoming, to Harry Barnard for taking the time to bird with me on the trails!

Presumably a juvenile male, only one individual suspected to be on the site.

Presumably a juvenile male, only one individual suspected to be on the site.


This is how adult male looks like. This is a photo (AMAZING photo) taken by Miguel Siu, a photographer friend from Panama. Photo used with permission for illustrative purpose.

This is how adult male looks like. This is a photo (AMAZING photo) taken by Miguel Siu, a photographer friend from Panama. Photo used with permission ONLY FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSE. I highly suggest his blog


I am not a photographer myself, but sure one enjoys taking photos of the hummers here at Rancho, the site is known as one of the best places in the entire country for Snowcap, and well, as of today the only site you could see all 3 CR coquettes i.e. white-crested, black-crested and rufous-crested coquettes! I truly enjoyed birding Rancho Naturalista once again, the trails are good and very productive.

Black-crested coquette female

Black-crested coquette female


Female green thorntail

Female green thorntail



Snowcap, a classic must-see here at Rancho!




An unforgettable day at Esquipulas.

Two days ago I had the opportunity to bird Esquipulas with Susan Newman and Scott Haber, an ornithologist from Cornell University. We had previously visited the Manuel Antonio national park for a nature history tour but with some successful time including pale-billed woodpecker, double-tooth kite, northern-barred woodcreeper and common potoo!, among other good birds for a total of 47 birds during our tour.

Our birding day began the soonest we got to the road to Naranjito with some of the common species; blue black grassquit, variable seedeater, yellow headed caracara, then to the more interesting ones including ferruginous pygmy-owl, mealy parrot, and black crowned tityra and others. This was just the start of a wonderful day.

Weather was overcast but no rain which made the morning just perfect with nice temperature, and weather held until our walk back to the car

The morning yielded about 117 species but the best experience and perhaps one of the top quality moments I’ve had while birding with clients was saved towards the end of our walk, after seen a rufous tailed jacamar, Susan spotted a male turquoise cotinga (one of the top wanted in the list), well over 1000ft away from us up on a tree top! that was an amazing spot by Susan! but if that wasnt enough I spotted a gorgeous male white crested coquette just about 15ft above our heards, no words to describe the experience…

Let this picture explain the moment we lived

Let this picture explain the moment we lived

After that exiting moment we continued and were able to see nice white hawks, white ruffed manakin, and heard a great antshrike which didn’t cooperate at all.

We ended our day with chicharrones and great memories of a day we will never forget; quality birds, quality birders and great companion!

Scott And Susan

Scott And Susan










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