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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.

 

 

 

Durika, Altos de Salitre. Buenos Aires

On September 15th my wife Karina my friends Johan Fernandez and Roy Orozco went to Durika and Los Altos de Salitre in search for the birds that are specific to this area i.e wedge tailed grass-Finch, White tailed Nightjar, ocellated crake and rosy thrush-tanager.
This is located north of Buenos Aires in the Puntarenas province.
On the 15th we found a hotel where to sleep for the night, checked in at 7:30pm and went to Los altos de Salitre in search for the Nightjar as the night was really nice (no rain) we got to the soccer field of the place and looked aroud there base on other friend’s suggestion and no luck, we drove back down and one flew off the road, our only chance!  We got off the car and surrounded where the bird landed, it flew again but this time flew right infront of us quite slow allowing us to see it good just by the necked eye,  in anoher attempt to get a picture we got to see it in the ground just enough for some in the group to put the binoculars on it, what a treat!  First lifer at 10:00pm!

Roy spotted this beauty! a common potoo.

Next day (16th) we left the hotel at 4:30am and went back to the soccer field as we were told the wedge tailed grassfinch lived by, at 5:20ish I got to spot it and called the other immediately! We got 3 individuals.

Wedge tailed grass-finch

Breakfast time! notice the soccer “field” the grass-finch was across from it.

After breakfast and a toast (with coffee instead of beer) we continued for another specific bird; rosy thrush tanager, considered by many one of the hardest to see of all CR bird species.

I guess camo colored didnt work that well!

We got to the intersection to Durika, where the bird is located (we had done a trip here before to search for it, we got to hear it several tikes but it just acts like a ghost) and after an hour of hiding and looking in the middle of he forest with dense vegetation and hilly terrain Johan Fernandez spotted the first female and all of us got to see thanks to him, I was lucky to get a picture of it even though its bad it was exiting due to the difficulty level . Later I got to see a male and then in another spot Roy had a great view of a male but no chance to get a picture,  it is incredibly elusive.

A great picture of the leafs, notice a female rosy thrush tanager in the back

A great picture of the leafs, notice a female rosy thrush tanager in the back

The population here at Durika is good, we got to ID at least 6 individuals by ear in different spots

Interesting during a trip to Panama, we got to see the rosy thrush tanager various times and it behave completely different than the population here in CR.  It was much more deliberate and would come to the edge of the trail easily,  like if it was a robin!!

Here a picture I got from Pipeline in Panama, completely exposed and not shy at all

We walked down the road searching for more and then we got army ants which led to many Thamnophilids and similar birds associated with the ants. Bare crowned antbird was a lifer for all except Johan F.

Bicolored antbird, an ant swarm specialist

Slaty spinetail

Later as we continued I almost stepped on a jumping pit-viper, it is incredible that one develops a sixth sense or truly has an angel protecting us, if my step was 15 inches longer I would had stepped right on it. It was picture time of course!

Atropoides mexicanum – Jumping pit-viper

 

we moved the snake for pitures and then relocated away from the road to avoid people from having an accident, the road is frequented by some local indigenous people who live at Durika.

I guess the poor snake was more afraid of us than we were of it!

 

After a while we jumped back on the car for our last target of the day; ocelleated crake. We played Mp3 in 3 sites untill one responded, once then we crushed the grass making a circle surrounding the birds (remember this 15cm birds like tall grass and behave like a mouse) we waited 1+hr under the hot sun, the bird kept responding but were not able to see it, we crushed more grass to corner the bird even more, it was THE ONLY way to see it, once it flew out of the grass we all got 3 seconds to see it, forget the pictures as you either see it or loose it. I must thank Johan F. for his spontaneous jump to get that bird outta there!

Based on the previous experience and this one this works better on taller grass than at shorter grass as the birds were much more skittish at grounds with shorter grass, I imagine we were more exposed?

After seeing this birds we all were extremely pleased as anyone who has tried them knows the dedication and physical effort it requires to get this 4 birds from this area.

 

shore birds, Southern migration 2014th

While any birder from the US or Canada, as well as european birders come to Costa Rica in seek of the brilliantly colored toucans, macaws, Quetzal, trogons, the fast, hard-to identify hummingbirds or the elusive hard-finding tinamues or antpittas we local birders are in seek for those plain colored (due to winter plumage) very hard to identify shore birds, ironic isn’t it?

Roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) at least this are colorful!

 

Near Quepos (where I am from) there are some good spots for waders, most close by, these are Parrita shrimp farms, Parrita river, Paquita river, El rey, Damas and others.

 

Shorebirds are represented by the families Charadriidae, recurvirsotridae, Jacanidae, Haematopodidae, Phalaropodidae and Burhinidae (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

Many of this group members use Costa Rica as a pass to get to wintering grounds, some of them considered passage migrants and many others which might reside in CR during the northern winter e.g spotted sandpiper, willet, whimbrel and more.

The best time of the year to observe these birds is that between August to September or April to May and thanks to the amount of gulfs, rivers, and muddy habitats/mangroves and river mouths present on the pacific side makes it the best side of the country to observe them while the stop to feed and/or rest in order to continue with their journey.

Willet and whimbrel at Parrita shrimp farms AUG 30th, 2014

 

This year I am particularly interested on this group and hope to see as many as possible and perhaps to add 1 or 2 to my life list, or simply to see those I have not seen with regularity, so far I had 2 pectoral sandpipers (Calidris melanotus) and 1 stilt sandpiper (calidris himantopus) as the “less” common sightings I’ve had so far in this last week.

semipalmated plover, short billed dowitcher, and possibly least sandpiper (at the bottom right) At Parrita Shrimp farms, AUG 30th, 2014

A BAD picture taken trhough my spotting scope and my cellphone, notice the importance of the shrimp farms for this birds. At Parrita shrimp farms, Aug 30th

 

 

Royal terns, at Bandera beach, Parrita. Sept 1st

 

Collared plover (Charadrius collaris) a plover not found in north america except for NW and E Mexico. Small with abut 7″ in size.

Sanderling, palest of all CR Calidris species, typically seen foraging on the beaches, runs for short distance, then stops, looks and then pecks rapidly for various invertebrates.

 

Sanderling

Not exactly what I was looking for!

I bet you imagine where the kick ended!

 

So, what I am really hoping to see this year are wondering tattler, which in not that rare, I just had not been lucky, surfbird and upland sandpiper. Lets see what this migration has for me this time!

 

 

 

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.

 

Scaled antpitta, my best bird of 2014.

Atpittas are probably one of the funniest looking birds of Costa Rica and perhaps the american tropics; long legs, big eyes, short tail and chubby body, not the mention the way the hop in the forest ground makes them look like a hyperactive mouse!

These are some of the hard finding birds, often elusive, silent throughout the day vocalizing mostly early in the am or late in the pm. The Scaled antpitta is considered rare an middle elevations from 800 meters to 1600 meters (Garrigues 2007).

Today, after a birding tour in the morning in Esquipulas I decided to go with my wife and a friend; Oscar Herrera, since another friend had seen this antpitta 3 days ago and gave me directions to the place. We got here at 3:50pm and went straight to the exact spot and waited. Our antpitta showed up until 5:20pm and what an encounter! So far I consider this the best bird of the year.

Not the best photo but at least for the record

Its always good to see a snake, specially if its eating! Here is presumably a Rhadinea decorata pink bellied leaf litter snake AKA salmon bellied Leaf litter snake.

Manuel Antonio birdwatching tour, with a lifer!

Yesterday (Feb 10th) while I was in a birding tour in the country side of Manuel Antonio I had the opportunity to bird with Mr John Pratt, an avid birder and a former guide in New Foundland Canada with vast experience with both NA bird species and CR species.

We went to Esquipulas, La gallega river and El rey in the afternoon, and what a day! it even yielded me a new specie to my life list a yellow rumped warbler.

Here is what we saw during the day:

Esquipulas, CR-SJ
Feb 10, 2014 6:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
Comments: Birding tour with Mr John Pratt. CA.
78 species

Cattle Egret X
Black Vulture X
Turkey Vulture X
Barred Hawk X
White Hawk X
Broad-winged Hawk X
Short-tailed Hawk X
Pale-vented Pigeon X
Ruddy Ground-Dove X
Blue Ground-Dove X
White-tipped Dove X
Groove-billed Ani X
White-collared Swift X
White-crested Coquette X
Long-billed Starthroat X
Violet-headed Hummingbird X
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird X
Violet Sabrewing X
Charming Hummingbird X
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird X
Blue-throated Goldentail X
Gartered Trogon X
Green Kingfisher X
Fiery-billed Aracari X
Black-mandibled Toucan X
Golden-naped Woodpecker X
Red-crowned Woodpecker X
Crested Caracara X
Yellow-headed Caracara X
Laughing Falcon X
Scarlet Macaw X
Orange-chinned Parakeet X
White-crowned Parrot X
Red-lored Parrot X
Cocoa Woodcreeper X
Streak-headed Woodcreeper X
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet X
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet X
Paltry Tyrannulet X
Western Wood-Pewee X
Great Kiskadee X
Boat-billed Flycatcher X
Social Flycatcher X
Gray-capped Flycatcher X
Streaked Flycatcher X
Piratic Flycatcher X
Tropical Kingbird X
Orange-collared Manakin X
Masked Tityra X
Brown Jay X
Northern Rough-winged Swallow X
Southern Rough-winged Swallow X
Mangrove Swallow X
Rufous-naped Wren X
Riverside Wren X
Clay-colored Thrush X
Northern Waterthrush X
Tennessee Warbler X
Yellow Warbler X
Chestnut-sided Warbler X
Cherrie’s Tanager X
Blue-gray Tanager X
Golden-hooded Tanager X
Blue Dacnis X
Red-legged Honeycreeper X
Green Honeycreeper X
Blue-black Grassquit X
Variable Seedeater X
Bananaquit X
Yellow-faced Grassquit X
Buff-throated Saltator X
Black-striped Sparrow X
Summer Tanager X
Melodious Blackbird X
Great-tailed Grackle X
Baltimore Oriole X
Montezuma Oropendola X
Spot-crowned Euphonia X

Aracaries are fairly common at Esquipulas

Male charming hummingbird, a commonly requested specie and often seen at Esquipulas area.

Let its crown speak for himself!

White hawk

Montezuma oropendula

Male spot crowned euphonia

Paltry tyrannulet, notice absence of wing bars, thus avoiding confusion with similar sized tyrannulets

Just another shot of the spot crowned euphonia

Find the long billed start throat (hummingbird)

So you did find it in the first photo huh? try this one

much easier here. Long billed start throat

Here is the most wide spread bird specie of the world, and its nesting at Esquipulas!

 

La gallega, CR-P

Feb 10, 2014 11:00 AM – 11:25 AM
Protocol: Stationary
13 species

Great Egret X
Cattle Egret X
Green Heron X
Collared Plover X
Spotted Sandpiper X
Greater Yellowlegs X
Least Sandpiper X
Groove-billed Ani X
Ringed Kingfisher X
Mangrove Swallow X
Tropical Mockingbird X
Red-breasted Blackbird X
Great-tailed Grackle X

Finca Maritima (Playa El Rey) rice fields, CR-P

Feb 10, 2014 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 kilometer(s)
61 species

Wood Stork X
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron X
Great Blue Heron X
Great Egret X
Snowy Egret X
Little Blue Heron X
Cattle Egret X
Green Heron X

Double striped thicknee
Black Vulture X
Turkey Vulture X
Common Black-Hawk X
Purple Gallinule X
Northern Jacana X
Pale-vented Pigeon X
Inca Dove X
Ruddy Ground-Dove X
Blue Ground-Dove X
White-tipped Dove X
Mangrove Cuckoo X
Groove-billed Ani X
White-collared Swift X
Green-breasted Mango 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
Common Tody-Flycatcher X
Great Crested Flycatcher X
Great Kiskadee X
Streaked Flycatcher X
Tropical Kingbird X
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher X
Yellow-throated Vireo X
Philadelphia Vireo X
Southern Rough-winged Swallow X
Mangrove Swallow X
Northern Waterthrush X
Prothonotary Warbler X
Tennessee Warbler X
Gray-crowned Yellowthroat X
American Redstart X
Yellow Warbler X
Chestnut-sided Warbler X
Yellow-rumped Warbler X
Cherrie’s Tanager X
Blue-black Grassquit X
Variable Seedeater X
White-collared Seedeater X
Bananaquit X
Black-striped Sparrow X
Indigo Bunting X
Great-tailed Grackle X
Bronzed Cowbird X
Black-cowled Oriole X
Baltimore Oriole X

Tricolored Munia X

Dickcissels are found by hundreds at el rey.

This is so far (that I know) the southern most a thick knee its been reported except for a ebird report in 2010 in osa area.

a juvenile bare throated tiger heron eating a fish

green breasted mango

A back view of the yellow rumped warbler (Myrtle) a new to my life list. Thanks to Mr John for the quick ID, a species common for his place, very uncommon for CR.

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