Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Costa Rica birding March 2017

 Day 1.

A two week visit to Costa Rica with birding pal Steve Carter and Explore began in the capital San Jose and the Hotel Villa Tournon. Arriving late afternoon we checked in and headed straight for the small garden and pool area where the following species were observed:-
Turkey Vulture, White-winged Dove, Great Kiskadee, Great-tailed Grackle,
Rufous-collared Sparrow.


Slightly jet lagged we struggled to sleep so at dawn we headed off down to the hotel garden noting the following species:-
Tropical Kingbird, Clay-coloured Thrush (3), Great Kiskadee, Prothonotary Warbler (1), White-winged Dove, Crimson-fronted Parakeet (2), Yellow Warbler (1), Rufous-collared Sparrow (2).

                                                        Prothonotary Warbler

After breakfast we headed off to Poas Volcano walking the trails and visiting the crater areas. At nearly 9000 feet at its highest point the temperature was cool and clouds lay heavy in places. There are two crater lakes, Laguna Caliente or hot lagoon which is located at a height of around 7,500 feet and is one of the worlds most acidic lakes. This contrasts with Laguna Botos which fills and inactive crater that last erupted around 7500 BC. The water here is cold and clear and is surrounded by cloud forest. 

                                        Laguna Caliente.

                                      Laguna Caliente viewing area.

                                   Laguna Botos with clouds rolling in.

Species observed included:-

Cattle Egret, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Fiery-throated Hummingbird (1), Sooty Thrush, Black Phoebe*(1), Yellow-thighed Finch (2). At Laguna Botos viewing area two Yellow-thighed Finch showed well.

                                        Yellow-thighed Finch. 


                                           Sooty Thrush.


Black Phoebe.
After lunch we headed back towards San Jose and visited the National Museum late afternoon. Among the exhibits was a wonderful Butterfly house where many native species could be seen. At the adjacent plaza the following bird species were noted:- Feral Rock Dove, White-winged Dove, Hoffmann’s Woodpecker (1), Crimson-fronted Parakeet (50), Tropical Mockingbird, Great Kiskadee (2), Blue-grey Tanager (2), Clay-coloured Thrush, Baltimore Oriole, Red-billed Pigeon (1), Rufous-collared Sparrow (1).

                                                         Red-billed Pigeon.

                                       Tropical Kingbird.

                                                        Hoffmann’s Woodpecker

                                                       Great Kiskadee.
Day 3.
Another early morning around the grounds of the Hotel Villa Tournon provided the following species:- Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, White-winged Dove, Red-billed Pigeon, Great Kiskadee, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Tennessee Warbler, Blue and White Swallow, Blue-grey Tanager & Great-tailed Grackle. After breakfast we then headed off to Cartago briefly visiting the old ruins and the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles. A few species were observed including Feral Rock Dove, Red-billed Pigeon and Rufous-collared Sparrow.

                       Basilica de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles.

                                   Rufous-collared Sparrow.

We then continued east towards Guayabo National Park passing through the foothills of Turrialba Volcano. Species observed on route included Grey-headed Chachalaca, White-winged Tanager, Passerini's Tanager and Broad-winged Hawk. 

                                                             Grey-headed Chachalaca.

We arrived at Guayabo National Park and archeological site mid-afternoon and received at guided tour along the trails learning mostly about the ancient city that is mostly covered now by cloud forest with only a small portion uncovered and visible. The cloud forest is protected and so is an ornithological seekers paradise where we noted the following species:- Swallow-tailed Kite, Montezuma Oropendola, Keel-billed Toucan, Short-billed Pigeon, Green Honeycreeper, Common Yellowthroat, Brown Jay, Black-crowned Tityra, Squirrel Cuckoo, Slaty-tailed Trogon, White-crowned Parrot, Sunbittern, Lesson’s Motmot, Common Tody Flycatcher, White-tailed Kite, Tropical Kingbird, Clay-coloured Thrush, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Black-cheeked Woodpecker. 

            Walking the forest trails provided some fantastic photographic opportunities.
                                                        Vista above the ancient city.
                                                               The ancient city.

                                 A Sunbittern showed briefly at the ancient city ruins.
                           A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was observed busily catching insects.

Day 4.

Hotel Wageilia, Turrialba.
Early morning birding from the hotel courtyard produced the following species:-Montezuma Oropendola (displaying pair), Great Kiskadee, Blue-grey Tanager (pair), Clay-coloured Thrush (singing male), Yellow Warbler (1), Red-billed Pigeon (singing male), Blue and White Swallow (30), Grayish Saltator (male), Roadside Hawk (mobbed by Great-tailed Grackles). 
We then conducted a late morning visit to CATIE Tropical Agriculture Research Centre and Nature Reserve where the following species were noted:- Great Kiskadee, Montezuma Oropendola, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Broad-winged Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk (dozens overhead on migration north), Social Flycatcher,  Black-cowled Oriole, Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Band-backed Wren(pair nest building), Gray-headed Chachalaca (20), Brown Jay, Palm Tanager (pair), Chestnut-sided Warbler, Collared Aracari (pair nest excavating), Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (nest with young), Buff-throated Saltator, White-crowned Parrot (2), Boat-billed Flycatcher Great-crested Flycatcher, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl (1), Purple Gallinule (pair with fledged young), Northern Jacana (several pairs with fledged young), Great-tailed Grackle, Great White Egret,  Great Blue Heron (1), Anhinga (2), Cattle Egret (100 present at heronry), Black-crowned Night Heron (several occupied nests with young), Black Phoebe (1), Boat-billed Heron (several occupied nests with young), Ringed kingfisher (1), Muscovy Duck (2 domestic birds), Yellow-headed Caracara (1), Green Heron (1), Mangrove Swallow.Then we moved on to nearby sugar cane fields where the following species were noted:- Variable Seedeater (10), Bronzed Cowbird (50), Tropical Mockingbird (2), Red-breasted Meadowlark (3 male and single female), Eastern Meadowlark (1), Spotted Sandpiper (1), Grooved-billed Ani (6).

Collared Aracari excavating nest.

Northern Jacana

 Purple Gallinule with young.

Cattle Egret.

Boat-billed Heron.

Boat-billed Flycatcher.

Day 5.



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