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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.

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!

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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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!

Birding Manuel Antonio; Esquipulas.

Several times before I had stated that Esquipulas is the best spot for bird-watching in Manuel Antonio. Although the park itself has however some good birds if birded early in the morning, taking the right trails can yield some quality birds. Currently a perch of black and white owls on the waterfall trail, some perches for lesser nighthawks and the current best; common potoo! nesting on the sloth trail! may make your visit to this park enjoyable!

Common potoo, courtesy of Manuel Cabalceta. Manuel Antonio birds

Common potoo, courtesy of Manuel Cabalceta.

Black and white owl, by Michael Araya

On the other hand other good birds easily seen here at MA NP are black bellied wren, riverside wren, long billed gnatwren, fiery billed aracary. Currently slaty-tailed trogon and black-throated trogon had been actively calling from the waterfall trail  and many others.

Long billed gnatwren. Foto taken in Puriscal, for illustration purposes.

   The elevated boardwalk on the sloth trail is quite good for black bellied wren, also for long billed gnatwren and blue crowned manakin.

 

But, I am not going to lie at you! the park itself is busy and could produce a small list if compared with other great parks such as Carara, great for general wildlife though, such as sloths, monkeys, frogs, snakes etc, a great option for the birder visiting this area with family or non-birding friends, if that is your case then Esquipulas is the place to go for birds, away from the crowds!

Thanks to it’s location on the foothills of the mountains near Manuel Antonio/Quepos region, this is the best site for birding, often including species not expected for the locality such as rufous-breasted wren, montezuma and chestnut headed oropendolas. A good morning here should produce any where between 60 species to 100 species, depending on the weather conditions as well as fruiting/flowering trees and of course! how good your eyes are to spot and ID those tropical beauties!

The road at Esquipulas

Chestnut headed oropendola

 

 

the very common roadside hawk.

Esquipulas is home to common species and various endemics but also to some highlights for many visiting Costa Rica such as white crested-coquette, turquoise cotinga, and great for raptors such as king vulture, white hawks, barred hawk and others.

This beautiful male turquoise cotinga was seen on my last birding tour to Esquipulas with Jennifer Timmer, not 1 but a pair!

This beautiful male turquoise cotinga was seen on my last birding tour to Esquipulas with Jennifer Timmer, not 1 but a pair!

 

Follow this link to eBird for the list of the birds reported for Esquipulas  http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L1855002 or contact me for a checklist I have made which contains all the sightings reported here since the last 9 years

I hope to post about other small spots where you can get some good birds if you are bird-watching in Quepos, stay tuned!

 

Birding the upper mountains of Esquipulas; El Diamante

   Esquipulas is located at the foothills of the Central Pacific mountains just about 35 minutes east of Quepos, at about 400 meters on elevation; the best bird-watching site in the Manuel Antonio area.

Both Roy and I bird here very often as we lead birding tours here and know the place well enough (I personally live about 10 minutes away from Esquipulas), today Roy O, and I accompanied by friends and colleagues took the day to bird the upper mountains of Esquipulas where we don’t frequent and what a morning!

 The first bird of the morning: a bat falcon.

Bat falcon, way back, picture taken with scope and cellphone

We got several of the common species and perhaps the best birds of the morning were barred forest-falcon, speckled tanager, Zeledon’s antbird (former immaculated antbird) and red crowned ant-tanager as is a bird we do not see often at the lower part of Esquipulas.

The road is currently in great conditions as ICE is working on the environmental impact studies as they plan to make a dam in the Naranjo river in the future but that’s another story.

The site currently can be visited basically even on a sedan, and a trip from Manuel Antonio should take 50 minutes to 1hr, we found this a great option to those birding Manuel Antonio who would like to see middle elevation species such as tanagers, hummingbirds and foliage gleaners etc and do not want to drive to other middle elevation sites such as Bosque del Tolomuco in San Isidro or Los Cuzingos.

A male gartered trogon

today’s favorite picture; Ruddy tailed flycatcher, a commonly requested bird here at Esquipulas.

 

Breakfast time!

 

And because it’s not always just birds! here a coca fruit, where chocolate comes from!

Esquipulas–El diamante, San José, CR
05-oct-2015 6:00 – 11:00
Protocolo: Con Desplazamiento
5.0 kilómetro(s)
Comentarios:    Danny Vasquez, Manuel Cabalceta y Roy Orozco
83 especies (+5 otros taxones)Black Vulture  X
Turkey Vulture  X
Barred Hawk  1
Broad-winged Hawk  1    soaring with vultures and 1 barred hawk
Short-billed Pigeon  3
Inca Dove  X
White-tipped Dove  X
Squirrel Cuckoo  2
White-collared Swift  X
large swift sp.  X
swift sp.  X
White-tipped Sicklebill  1
Band-tailed Barbthroat  1
Green Hermit  1
Stripe-throated Hermit  1
Crowned Woodnymph  1
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird  X
Gartered Trogon  1
Black-throated Trogon  1
Blue-crowned Motmot  1
Yellow-throated Toucan  X
Golden-naped Woodpecker  X
Bat falcon 1
Barred Forest-Falcon  1    at least one individual heard
Orange-chinned Parakeet  X
Black-hooded Antshrike  X
Dot-winged Antwren  X
Dusky Antbird  X
Chestnut-backed Antbird  X
Zeledon’s Antbird  1    call heard. Bird was with a mixed flock with red crowned ant-tanager, tawny crowned greenlet, some antbirds, etc. Elevation about 900ish meters asl.
Black-faced Antthrush  X
Tawny-winged Woodcreeper  1
Cocoa Woodcreeper  X
Streak-headed Woodcreeper  X
Plain Xenops  4
Paltry Tyrannulet  X
Northern Bentbill  X
Eye-ringed Flatbill  X
Yellow-olive Flycatcher  X
Western Wood-Pewee  X
Eastern Wood-Pewee  X
Western/Eastern Wood-Pewee  X
Willow Flycatcher  1    bird responded to recording.
Alder/Willow Flycatcher (Traill’s Flycatcher)  X
Dusky-capped Flycatcher  X
Great Kiskadee  X
Boat-billed Flycatcher  X
Tropical Kingbird  X
Rufous Piha  1
White-ruffed Manakin  6
Red-capped Manakin  2
Rose-throated Becard  1
Red-eyed Vireo  X
Tawny-crowned Greenlet  2
Lesser Greenlet  X
Scaly-breasted Wren  3
Black-bellied Wren  X
Rufous-breasted Wren  1
Tropical Gnatcatcher  X
Clay-colored Thrush  X
Golden-winged Warbler  1
Black-and-white Warbler  X
Tennessee Warbler  X
Blackburnian Warbler  X
Yellow Warbler  X
Chestnut-sided Warbler  X
Buff-rumped Warbler  1
Canada Warbler  X
warbler sp. (Parulidae sp.)  X
White-shouldered Tanager  X
White-throated Shrike-Tanager  3
Cherrie’s Tanager  X
Blue-gray Tanager  X
Golden-hooded Tanager  X
Speckled Tanager  4
Bay-headed Tanager  8
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis  3
Blue Dacnis  2
Green Honeycreeper  X
Variable Seedeater  X
Bananaquit  X
Buff-throated Saltator  X
Orange-billed Sparrow  X
Red-crowned Ant-Tanager  3
Blue-black Grosbeak  2
Baltimore Oriole  X
Yellow-crowned Euphonia  X
Spot-crowned Euphonia  X

 

Birding the coast at Dominical and Dominicalito.

Given the activity at the sea in the last few months here in CR (Waved albatross as the newest rarity seen just about 6 days ago near Uvita–PN Marino Ballena) I have been really keen at keeping an eye at the coast, and while desperately waiting for a pelagic trip to become true this week my wife and I went to explore the rocky coast of Dominical and Dominicalito.

First we checked the river mouth of Rio Barú at Dominical, not much success here, other than collared plover we didnt get anything too interesting, just spotted sand piper, willet and whimbrel.

Rio Barú.

After that I drove to a sector north of Playa Dominicalito called Rocas de Amancio (Northern end of Dominicalito beach) and soon saw Spotted SP, a rudy turnstone and then a group of surfbirds! first of this year! as I was getting better/closer pictures of the surfbirds a brown noddy flew past by me, I must had been sitting on the rocks and I scared it away, best views I had ever had of this sp.

This area is known by locals as The Rocas de Amancio (after the former owner of the property near here).

Brown noddy

Surfbird

 

Surfbird dominicalito share

Then we headed to the southern end of Dominicalito, excatly at La Parcela restaurant area, we didnt get much here, but I do suggest any birder to visit this rocky beach if you find yourself in this area, this is a great time to get some of the unusual coastal birds heading south from NA.

Entrance, picture taken as if driving from south to North.

 

A screen shot for the map to the site from google. The birds were at rocks where the arrow is.

 

 

 

Yellow Headed Blackbird and “bobolink”? in Costa Rica.

Birding here in CR has been just amazing lately, 2014 has been a year full of great birds and surprises, rarities, new species, just superb!

Inca tern, black billed cuckoo, sooty shearwater, yellow backed oriole (new specie for CR), and today Bobolink (see clarification at the end) and yellow headed blackbird. Not to mention the many other species that to my wife, my great friend Roy O and to me had required hours of dedication to get.
Yesterday an AOCR member posted an alarm on yellow headed blackbird at Coto 47 (again Coto surprising us with quality birds!) So my friend Roy and I (unfortunately my wife who is a trooper couldnt go today) went today to try to find the bird based on directions provided by Leo Garrigues and other fellow birders who found it yesterday, and after some exhaustive search we found something almost as good, Bobolink! A rare passage migrant for CR.

Bobolink, a very rare passage migrant.

Bobolink, a very rare passage migrant.

After a while we went to a well known spot for a recent panama invasive specie; sapphire throated hummingbird which Roy had not seen yet, and we got to see! Then we returned to the spot and there was the blackbird! How amazing has our luck been!

Yellow headed blackbird, this would be the second individual reported for Continental CR apparently.

Yellow headed blackbird, this would be the second individual reported for Continental CR apparently.

Asociated with bronzed cowbirds and some shiny cowbirds, as well as grackles

Asociated with bronzed cowbirds and some shiny cowbirds, as well as grackles

The emotions of getting quality lifers aren’t the same without my wife, who is so jealous, so we are returning tomorrow!

If you are birding Manuel Antonio national park or if you are staying near by, a visit to Coto should be productive, particularly during the wet season, its a 3hr drive or so.

( EDITED) NOTE regarding to the “bobolink”:

Today the committee of rare birds of the AOCR confirmed that this bird is NOT a Bobolink, it is indeed a female RED BREASTED BLACKBIRD, we lost a lifer but gained experience, now thanks to their experience and suggestions we now know what to look for next time. Thanks to Jim Zook, Kevin Easley, Leo Guarrigues, Richard Guarrigues and others who helped to short this one out.  

More about Coto:

butorides-striata-striated-heron-in-coto-47

another-trip-to-south-pacific-cr-coto-47-and-la-gamba-areas

birding-southern-pacific-cr-la-gamba-and-esquinas-lodge

 

Crested oropendola, a recent Panama invasive, one of the many good reasons to keep birding coto area

Eastern meadowlark

 

Wandering tattler in Quepos

Its funny how things work, on Monday, Sept 1st I wrote a note about shorebirds an I stated the birds I have not seen and wanted to see this migration, well, guess what! I got 2 wandering tattlers in Quepos.

About 4 months ago 1 individual was reported during the northern migration by my friend Johan Fernandez, Jim Zook Diego Vargas and Kevin Easley, since then I kept going every 2 days to the site with no success, lost my faith during the July since migration was long ended, on the 1st I went again to the site and there it was! 2 of them!

a bad pic taken with a cellphone and binoculars.

 

On Sept 3rd, after a pelagic birding trip I was on, and since we were close the spot I took my wife and my friend Mario Brenes to see the birds and there they were.

 

 

If you are in the area

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.

Pauraque at Manuel Antonio National Park

image

The pauraque is a member of the whip-poor-will family. The most common of the caprimulgidae family  in CR. Here this female showing good camouflage. Did you nitice its baby?
At Manuel Antonio National Park.

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Birding Manuel Antonio area and Carara, 2 full days with Mike and Suzzane Britton. Part 1

A full day in Manuel Antonio area on March 6th, in this occasion I had the opportunity to bird with Suzanne and Mike Britton for Ottowa Canada.

While they were here about 15 years ago, back then they were not really birders and this second trip to Costa Rica was really their first birding trip to our tropics. Suzanne is an avid birder and has noticeably taken her time to study our birds which made the days very interesting as she had a nice wish list of birds she wanted to see, but of course, all species were welcome!

Here is the wishlist, those on bold letters were the species we saw:

1-Masked duck 2-Great curassow 3-Anhinga 4-Boat billed heron 5-King vulture 6-Swallow tailed kite 7-White tailed kite 8-Black and white hawk-eagle 9-Ornate hawk-eagle 10-Bat falcon 11-Laughing falcon 12-Gray necked wood-rail 13-Rufous necked wood rail 14-Purple gallinule 15-Northern Jacana 16-Scarlet  macaw 17-Squirrel cuckoo 18-common potoo 19-violet sabrewing 20-Green breasted mango 21-Violet crowned woodnymph 22-White crested coquette 23- Violaceus trogon (gartered) 24-Baird’d trogon 25-Slaty tailed trogon 26-Blue crowned mot mot 27- Turquoised browed motmot 28-Green kingfisher 29-American pygmy kingfisher 30-Black mandibled touca 31-Fiery billed aracary 32-Barred antshrike 33-Royal flycatcher 34-Scissor tailed flycatcher 35-Long tailed manakin 36-White throated magpie-jay 37-speckled tanager 38-Golden hooded tanager 39-Shining honeycreeper 40-Red legged Honeycreeper 41-Orange billed sparrow 42-Montezuma Oropendola 43-Any euphonia spp

Male Masked tytira, Suzanne’s favorite songster.

Bay headed tanager and Fem Green honeycreeper

Our day began when we met in Hotel Pueblo real, 10 minutes outside of Quepos, and then we headed to Esquipulas our plan was to bird all day in the areas of Esquipulas, La gallega river and El rey.

Our morning was very productive and saw about 72 bird species, this counts a couple seen along the way in the town of Naranjito as I usually keep track of what could be seen on the road we do not usually see in Esquipulas such as Rufous napped wren, scarlet macaw and others. here we birded until 1:00pm then we went for La gallega river.

Esquipulas, CR-SJ
Mar 6, 2014 6:20 AM – 12:20 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
Comments: Birding tour with Mike and Suzzane Britton. Ottowa Ca.
72 species (+1 other taxa)

Crested Guan X
Cattle Egret X
Black Vulture X
Turkey Vulture X
King Vulture X
Double-toothed Kite X
Roadside Hawk X
Gray/Gray-lined Hawk X
Short-tailed Hawk X
Pale-vented Pigeon X
Short-billed Pigeon X
Inca Dove X
Ruddy Ground-Dove X
White-tipped Dove X
Groove-billed Ani X
Stripe-throated Hermit X
Purple-crowned Fairy X
Violet-headed Hummingbird X
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird X
Violet Sabrewing X
Charming Hummingbird X
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird X
Baird’s Trogon X
Blue-crowned Motmot X
Fiery-billed Aracari X
Golden-naped Woodpecker X
Red-crowned Woodpecker X
Lineated Woodpecker X
Crested Caracara X
Yellow-headed Caracara X
Scarlet Macaw X
White-crowned Parrot X
Chestnut-backed Antbird X
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper X
Streak-headed Woodcreeper X
Yellow-bellied Elaenia X
Common Tody-Flycatcher X
Eye-ringed Flatbill X
Acadian Flycatcher X
Great Kiskadee X
Boat-billed Flycatcher X
Social Flycatcher X
Streaked Flycatcher X
Piratic Flycatcher X
Tropical Kingbird X
Masked Tityra X
Rose-throated Becard X
Brown Jay X
Southern Rough-winged Swallow X
Gray-breasted Martin X
House Wren X
Rufous-naped Wren X
Riverside Wren X
Clay-colored Thrush X
Tennessee Warbler X
Yellow Warbler X
Chestnut-sided Warbler X
Cherrie’s Tanager X
Blue-gray Tanager X
Palm Tanager X
Golden-hooded Tanager X
Bay-headed Tanager X
Red-legged Honeycreeper X
Green Honeycreeper X
Thick-billed Seed-Finch X
Bananaquit X
Orange-billed Sparrow X
Summer Tanager X
Melodious Blackbird X
Great-tailed Grackle X
Bronzed Cowbird X
Thick-billed Euphonia X
Spot-crowned Euphonia X

Baird’s trogon, its been seen regularly at Esquipulas lately

Male green honeycreeper, notice the cicada as well!

Male and female black crowned tytira

common tody-flycatcher

La Gallega is a river located just 5.5 kilometers from Esquipulas, in the way back to Quepos, I often visit this place in search for specific species such as the tropical mockingbird, collared plover, red breasted blackbird and southern lapwing, we went here in our way back for lunch and got:

Gray/Gray-lined Hawk X
Amazon Kingfisher X
Crested Caracara X
Yellow-headed Caracara X
Mangrove Swallow X
Tropical Mockingbird X
Red-breasted Blackbird

Tropical mockingbird

 

AFter La a quick stop here we then headed for Lunch, we stopped at a restaurant on route 34 south, and while just as we finished lunch I heard a plain wren call from behind the building so of course we had to see it!

Once in El rey we birded from 3:30 to 5:45pm  where we saw:

Finca Maritima (Playa El Rey) rice fields, CR-P
Mar 6, 2014 3:30 PM – 5:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 kilometer(s)
52 species

Great Egret X
Cattle Egret X
Green Heron X
Black Vulture X
Turkey Vulture X
Common Black-Hawk X
Zone-tailed Hawk X
Purple Gallinule X
Double-striped Thick-knee X
Northern Jacana X
Ruddy Ground-Dove X
Groove-billed Ani X
Green-breasted Mango X
Ruby-throated Hummingbird X
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird X
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird X
Blue-throated Goldentail X
Ringed Kingfisher X
Amazon Kingfisher X
Green Kingfisher X
American Pygmy Kingfisher X
Crested Caracara X
Yellow-headed Caracara X
Peregrine Falcon X
Common Tody-Flycatcher X
Great Kiskadee X
Boat-billed Flycatcher X
Streaked Flycatcher X
Tropical Kingbird X
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher X
Yellow-throated Vireo X
Gray-breasted Martin X
House Wren X
Plain Wren X
Clay-colored Thrush X
Prothonotary Warbler X
Tennessee Warbler X
American Redstart X
Yellow Warbler X
Chestnut-sided Warbler X
Cherrie’s Tanager X
Blue-gray Tanager X
Palm Tanager X
Blue-black Grassquit X
White-collared Seedeater X
Indigo Bunting X
Dickcissel X
Red-breasted Blackbird X
Great-tailed Grackle X
Bronzed Cowbird X
Orchard Oriole X
Baltimore Oriole X

American pygmy kingfisher

A barn swallow meeting! The sky was full of them by sunset.

spectacled caiman

A variegated squirrel

And what a way to end our already-great day of birding!.

Par 2: Full day at Carara.

 

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