Blog Archives

Birding Rainmaker park. Quepos – Manuel Antonio.

   If you are birding at Manuel Antonio National Park and have already visited the park itself, El Rey, and Esquipulas but still you would like to birds other surrounding areas you might find a visit to Rainmaker park convenient!
   Rainmaker is in nature park with a well-maintained trail system including little more than a dozen hanging bridges on the canopy of the primary rain-forest, which in my opinion can yield some good looks to species such as trogons, bright-rumped Attila, and others which otherwise you would see their under parts from the forest floor. However, this site will not produce big lists, I will rather think of it as a place for the birder visiting with family or non-birding friends so you can feed two birds with the same seed! I.E enjoy the trails and waterfalls and also get 2 or 3 birds to your list.
The road to Rainmaker, the gravel road is usually in good condition, a sedan-type-vehicle should be able to get you there no problem.
   The trails are relatively steep but all with some nice steps and side railing, thus making it easier, I  don’t suggest to bring telescopes or even a tripod for your camera, not a good idea (yes today I carried mine) when you are in this kind of trails, binoculars are the key here.
   Also, I would invest more time at the hanging bridges trails rather than those near the streams and waterfalls, it is a bit noisy and the water sound wont let you hear the birds, however do look for buff-rumped warbler and fasciated tiger-heron at the river. On the smaller creeks look out for sulphur-rumped flycatcher and riverside wren. And hey! good luck (REAL good luck!) with the pair of crested-owls who typically roost before the first hanging bridges!
wpid-20131119_134430.jpg

Fasciated tiger-heron, unlike the common bare throated T.H. this one favors fast running creeks or rivers instead of canals and lagoons. (  Picture for illustration)

 

Today we got a nice wood thrush, Sitting quietly in the dark understory of the forest.

 Target species:
Great and little tinamous, Fasciated tiger-heron, King vulture, Gray headed kite, white-crested coquette (at the gardens) trogons, bright rumped attila, red-capped and blue-crowned manakins, yellow-bellied tyrannulet, sulphur rumped flycatcher,tawny-crowned greenlet, buff-rumped warbler, blue-black grosbeak. Scaled antpitta has been seen here in the past!
Suggestions: Park fee is about $20 per person. The administration of this park quite is interesting, while the trails are nicely kept all the time, its hard to speak of operating hours, normally you will see staff at the entrances after 7:30am and will leave about 1:30pm, but the gate does not close so you can leave after that. If you enter and do not see personnel at the trail entrance, you can pay the fee at the house located right next to the gate. You need to sign a waiver.
oh! why it’s called Rainmaker? let this picture taken today Jan 30th explain, this is CR’s summer months!
Advertisements

Birding Manuel Antonio Area.

In this post I’d like to share some photos and info about the birding potential that this area has. Manuel Antonio is an excellent national park for the  traveler seeking for a general nature experience, monkeys are fairly common, sloths, deers, frogs and many others that despite the crowd that shows up they are not afraid and rather can offer nice sightings. Naturally its crowded during the busy seasons (Christmas, new years, spring break etc) but visit this park in the morning (7:00am) should be enough to avoid most of the crowd).

In the other hand it is not a good birding spot and only a few-yet interesting species can be expecting such as brown boobies, black bellied and river side wrens, black hooded antshrikes, frigatebirds, some herons, gray necked woodrail as well as the long billed gnatwren and few others, but still, you wont get that much and the morning could end with about 20ish or so species.

One of the beaches during the low season, just beautiful!

A close encounter with a young white faced-capuchin monkey

Squirrel monkeys are very uncommon but often times the afternoon is when you have better chances at the park, bee on the look out since gray headed tanager, double tooth kite, slaty tailed trogon and a few woodcreepers follow this type monkey so they can eat the bugs that are flushed away by the monkeys.

But this is what happens if you try to enter this park at 11:00 on December the 25th!

But this is what the park looks like early in the am and during the “wet” season.

 

Depending on the season chances of seeing a common potoo are good, ask local guides for it during early rainy season

Orage billed sparrow in one colorful bird in the Arremon group, commonly seen at the sloth trail.

If you still want to come to MA and bird the park I suggest you to take the look out point trail (sendero Mirador), right at the bifurcation  of the Mirador and Gemelas beach trails is a good spot for great tinamou, as you walk towards the look out look for striped-throated hermit, red capped manakin and ochre bellied flycatcher. The punta catedral trail is the one that takes you to the end of the small peninsula (cathedral), it takes you “closest” to the islands so chances of seeing brown bobbies are good, notheless if you do not have a spotting scope views can be limited, as going up look for blue throated goldentail, little and great tinamoues.

Male blue-thorated goldentail

The area around Manuel Antonio offers a much better birding opportunity, these are Esquipulas, La gallega river and El rey.  And of course! your hotel garden!

Esquipulas:

Esquipulas is basically a small country town 45 minutes to the east of Quepos, located just at the foothills of the mountains of Nara mountains, the public road that leads to the Town is the birding spot, the varied landscape includes cattle fields, home gardens, secondary rain forest, orchards, creeks and the primary rain forest in the back! So it offers sightings variating from house wrens to Baird’s trogons, from rufous tailed hummingbirds to King vultures, simply a great spot.

Esquipulas Location, right at the foothills of the central pacific mountains, the Naranjo and La gallega rivers run down this mountains creating a small low pass which presumably helps middle elevation species to migrate to the lowlands during the attitudinal migration.

 

The access to Esquipulas requires a 4WD car or at least a car with good ground clearance and sometimes during the summer it can be done in a 2WD sedan.

White hawk

 

Laughing falcon

Baird’s trogon is seen often here at Esquipulas.

Bay headed Tanager

 

 

Close to Esquipulas is La Gallega river, this is located near the town of Naranjito, 8 km north east of Quepos, within 30 minutes  drive.

This river is home to some particular species of interest, such as red breasted blackbird, Southern lapwing, tropical mockingbird, collared plover and ferruginous pygmy-owl.

Southern Lapwing

Tropical mockingbird

Naturally other species such as mangrove swallow, southern and northern rough winged swallows, king fishers and others call this place home. If you do come to this river in search for this species make sure to wear long sleeves and hat, you will be in the open, if you have enough time then explore the grass in the other side of the river in search for pale breasted spinetail.

Collared plover isn’t easy finding, try!

 

 

EL REY marshes/rice fields.

El rey is located 16km south of Quepos, near the “Finca” Maritima, in the western side of the palm oil plantation.
This place consists of temporary rice fields with some canals that feed the rice paddies, these canals flood the area and during the rainy season, water remains between June to Mid February, it makes it an strategical stop for NA migrants such as mangrove Cuckoo, various warblers, swallows, scissor tailed Flycatcher and various FC spp. American pygmy kingfisher, gray necked wood rail, purple gallinules, green brested mango and other interesting species are common targets here.

One of the top wanted at el rey; American pygmy kingfisher

Purple gallinule

Bare throated tiger-heron

This little evil-eyed bronzed cowbird is abundant at El rey

Seeing mangrove cuckoo is not an every day opportunity but chances are good during migration.

Interestingly El rey is surrounded by a massive palm oil plantations, which is one of the main products of the area, the marshes, grasslands, mangroves close by and canals that feeds the area are important factors that make El rey a true oasis for many migrant species to stop and feed in order to continue their journey home. During 2013 2 bird species were added to CR list and were spotted here; Clay colored sparrow and lined seedeater.

Lined seedeater, a south american vagrant was seen at El Rey for 5 days in a row.

 

Manuel Antonio near by birding spots.
If you do not have a car or do not have the time to take one day to explore/tour the mentioned sites before there are some spots that are worth to try:

The road down to La mansion and Parador hotel.
If you find your self in this area take time to walk a long this road, species to expect are cocoa and streak headed Woodcreepers, palm, cherri’s, blue gray and golden hooded tanagers, red legged honeycreeper and green Honeycreeper are often seen right by the entrance of Arenas del Mar. Also black mandibled Toucan had been reported nesting here in 2 years in a row now. In the afternoon (3:00-5:00pm) chances to spot the squirrel monkeys are high, be in the look out for double tooth kite, gray headed tanager, northern barred woodcreeper and slaty tailed trogon who are known to accompany these monkeys in search for food.

The road down to playitas:

Once you reach the entrance to Arenas del mar, 30 meters before on the left hand side there is a gravel road, it leads to the playitas beach. Birding here can be basic but can offer possibilities to spot chestnut backed antbird, black hooded antshrike, yellow headed caracara as well as fiery billed aracaries in the morning. Try luck on king vulture and laughing falcon here.

The public beach area.

The southern end of the public beach leads to the exit of MA park. There is a small mangrove estuary, look for gray necked wood-rail near the roots of red mangrove trees, some times yellow crowned night heron roost by the end of the beach.

Green heron, little blue heron and white ibis are common.
Protonothary warbler, northern Waterthrush are possible during CR summer, and try luck on the endemic mangrove hummingbird which feeds on the flowers of pineapple mangrove trees.

Of course if you have a spotting scope available make sure to look on the near by islands, brown boobies and magnificent frigatebirds are abundant, but occasionally elegant tern can be spotted. Not much in the islands besides that.

%d bloggers like this: