The Southern Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica has a tremendous contrast in habitats, ranging from wetlands such as the Terraba-Sierpe river, mangroves, foothills, the pristine forest at Corcovado National Park (one of the most bio-diverse sites in the country) and Golfo Dulce area, Piedras Blancas National park, etc, but also land devastated by the mono-culture of palm oil, rice fields and even bananas back in the day! However, sites such as Coto 47 are great for some of the newer Panamanian invasive species such as Sapphire-throated hummingbird, wattled jacana, rusty margined flycatcher, Savanna hawk, and in matter of time might surprise birders with one or two new records for the country such as the long-time-waited crimson backed tanager (if it doesn’t show up at San Vito area first!).
The small town of La Gamba is the gateway to the wonderful Esquinas rainforest lodge, an excellent option to stay “in” the forest. The road that leads there produces quality species, on September 7th 2016 my friend Karen and I went to bird this site, and as any time I come here was pleased with the birds seen. The soonest one lives route 1 and drives on the gravel road to La Gamba is a great site for the some what rare red-rumped woodpecker, which I had seen there on other occasions. Various Flycatchers, blue headed parrots, scrub greenlet, tanagers and more where pretty active there.
Now, while rusty margined flycatcher can be seen basically along this road the most reliable site I know is closer to town, once at La Gamba town, take the turn to the right past the school (Notice the MINAE 9KM sign on your right) and drive for about 650 meters, basically right after crossing the second bridge (under construction the day we visited), it had nested here 2 years ago.
We saw about 4 adults and 1 juvenile bird, interestingly juvs looks much social flycatchers but no rusty margins but do have the yellow crown as adult RMFC.
After 2.5hrs we spent on La Gamba we moved to Esquinas lodge, the staff is always welcoming here! we quickly looked for our main target which we got easily; Black cheeked ant-tanager, although it can show up in any trail this time we found 2 with a small mixed flock near the entrance of La Trocha trail, were a pair of great curassows welcomed us!
After that we then moved to Coto 47, south of Villa Neily, here our targets were Savanna hawk, sapphire throated hummingbird and also the Jacana which I have failed at least 5 times already, and had not heard resent report here lately, I wonder…
No hummingbird nor Jacana but we got great looks of the hawk, despite the rainy weather. Located very near the tree on which it nested 2 years ago (First confirmed nest for CR).
This part brought so many memories of the many times I went there with my Friend Roy Orozco in search for these targets, last time we promised we would return to take revenge with the savanna hawk, so this photo is dedicated to the memory of my best friend, I cannot accept the fact he is no longer with us.
The american avocet is a rare NA migrant and very few individuals are reported annually (about 1 to 2 reports). This year this specie was reported in Panama around January, and was reported in CR at a location called homes, located at the eastern side of the gulf of Nicoya during the southern migration and now this month during the northern Migration. A facebook memeber of the AOCR reported the bird again about a week ago so my friend Roy and I went in search for it, as usual accompanied by my wife Karina and this time our friend and colleague Manuel Cabalceta.
We left Manuel Antonio at noon and after 3.5hr drive we got to Chomes, we looked for the bird for about 15 minutes and there it was! Mission accomplished!
A bird I had patiently waited for… We looked around for other birds for our annual list and got the common ones of this important site for waders, i.e black skimmers, terns, laughing gull, whimbrels, willets, all the common plovers sandpipers, being the stilt sandpiper the most “unusual” bird besides the avocet. Very nice to see them in their beautiful breeding plumage!
Mar 27, 2015 3:45 PM – 5:45 PM
Comments: Karina, Roy O y Manuel C.
Wood Stork X
Magnificent Frigatebird X
Neotropic Cormorant X
Brown Pelican X
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron X
Great Egret X
Snowy Egret X
Little Blue Heron X
Tricolored Heron X
Cattle Egret X
Green Heron X
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron X
White Ibis X
Roseate Spoonbill X
Black Vulture X
Turkey Vulture X
Black-necked Stilt X
American Avocet 1 bird reported 2 days ago by other birder.
Black-bellied Plover X
Semipalmated Plover X
Northern Jacana X
Solitary Sandpiper X
Greater Yellowlegs X
Lesser Yellowlegs X
Marbled Godwit X
Ruddy Turnstone X
Stilt Sandpiper X
Least Sandpiper X
Semipalmated Sandpiper X
Western Sandpiper X
Short-billed Dowitcher X
Laughing Gull X
Gull-billed Tern X
Royal Tern X
Sandwich Tern X
Common Ground-Dove X
Hoffmann’s Woodpecker X
Orange-fronted Parakeet X
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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!
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.