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Trip Report. Birding with Susan and Ian Hardy: Part 1

Between March 2nd to March 11th I had the opportunity to lead a 10-day trip for a couple of birders from England; Ian and Susan Hardy, well experienced birders who had been to the neotropic in various occasions.

Our itinerary included a nice combination of habitats, birding some of Costa Rica’s well known localities as we as those little more off-the-beaten path; Carara which includes lowland transition between dry forest to rain-forest. San Gerardo de Dota, Pacific middle and high elevation. Rancho Naturalista and El Copal reserve with it’s amazing caribbean middle elevation and foothills. Then La Selva biological station and its amazing Caribbean lowland VERY humid forest.

Day 1, we change our route slightly given Ian photography requests and we drove up to the mountains of Poas, stopping at Freddo Fresas for hummingbirds and coffee, although activity was very slow, our first birds of the trip were Baltimore oriole, mountain elaenia, sparrows, purple-throated Mountain-gem, purple sabrewings, and some others.

We then continued to the famous La Paz waterfall (El Angel). A quick stop here produced American deeper, after that and some good Costa Rican corn bread and snacks we continued to Mirador Cinchona; Ian’s main target of the day was awaiting.

The feeders at soda y mirador Conchona were, as usual, quite good. Red headed Barbet, Northern Emerald-toucanet, prong billed barbet were there along with the various common tanager species that fill the feeders. We also got some specialties such as the white-bellied Mountain-gem, green Thorntail, and coppery headed emerald. Unfortunately we did not see the famous Buff-fronted quail-dove that has been coming to feed under the feeders lately.

Male red-headed Barbet, this has got to be the best place in CR to photograph this bird!

Road to La Virgen Del Socorro.

On this day the activity was a bit slow, perhaps due to the hot hours on which we were there. Nonetheless we did see the rufous browed tyrannulet, on the exact same spot where I saw it with friends some days ago! Other birds were black Phoebe, tufted flycatcher, later emerald tanager, swallow-tailed Kite, and more tanager and honeycreeper species. Birding this road is quite good normally and it is a place you must stop if you are around.

On our return we stopped near Freddo Fresas again and were lucky to see a pair of resplendent quetzals near the road! what a way to end our first day with this beautiful bird!

Day 2: we stayed at Cerro lodge, this is an excellent lodge for those who are birding Carara and want to get the best of both worlds; Rainforest and dry forest habitats.
Our day inside Carara was very productive, we got slaty tailed, gartered, black-headed and Baird’s Trogons. Various wren species, orange collared and red-capped Manakins, some antbirds, although hard to choose we agreed our best birds were the close looks we had of Streak-chested antpitta and the young male Yellow-Billed cotinga we saw while returning to Cerro lodge!

Scarlet macaw at Cerro Lodge

Streak chested antpitta. This is what a Canon 300 f2.8 and 7D Mark II can do huh! Not my lens, Ian was so kind to let me use his lens for this picture!

The road of Cerro lodge is a good option for owling, on this night we got Pacific screech-owl and we heard the calls of spectacled owl up in Villa Lapas road.

Pacific Screech-owl

Day 3– we covered the Tarcoles river vicinity and Mangroves, also we birded the road to Cerro lodge and villa Lapas. We were fortunate to get most of the Mangrove specialists such as Mangrove vireo, Northern scrub FC and Panama Flycatcher, yellow (mangrove) warbler and more. Along our drive to San Gerardo de Dota (Trogon lodge) we did some strategical stops and got Double-striped Thickknee, mangrove hummingbird, American pygmy kingfisher and other species. Later while driving up to San Isidro fiery-billed aracary was seen, lucky us as I thought we would had missed this near endemic toucan specie already!

 

 

Ferruginous pygmy-owl

Turquoise-browed Motmot

Orange fronted parakeet

Double-striped Thickknee seen in Jaco area

It was fantastic, by the end of the day, we had a total of 187 species in 3 days! Now we were off to a different habitat!

Day 4. San Gerardo de Dota.

To be continued.

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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)

 

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