1 - 10 January 1997
by Tom Grey
I just (Jan 1-10) took a mostly birding vacation to Costa Rica with my wife Barbara, a quasi-birder who is good at relaxing -- she calls herself a "bird voyeur." In early December I sent out an RFI to Birdchat asking for advice on where would be a good place to stay that had comfort and beauty as well as good birds; this wasn't to be dawn-to-dusk chasing with a lot of driving around, but a nice vacation for my wife as well as myself. We got a lot of good advice, and among the recommended places were Tisquita Lodge on the Osa Peninsula, which sounds great and we may try some day; several of the hotels at Monteverde; Rara Avis (which sounded terrific but a little too hard core); Manuel Antonio; and Selva Verde Lodge, which sounded promising (though later we heard a number of birders who preferred Gavilan Lodge to Selva Verde in the La Selva area.) But we settled on the combination of the two lodges operated by John Erb, Rancho Naturalista in the Caribbean foothills near Turrialba, and Tarcol Lodge on the mouth of the Tarcoles River near Carara Reserve at the mouth of the Bay of Nicoya on the Pacific coast. This meant missing the high mountain birds, including the Quetzal, and those of the Caribbean lowlands, which seem to be the primary targets in most first trips to CR. Nevertheless we ended up very satisfied. Thanks to Joan Thompson, "JRF0704," Jim Danzenbaker, Matt Heindel, Jack Hugus, and Jeanne Fossani for their advice.
Both lodges have good comfort -- more at Rancho; Tarcol has shared bath, but we lucked out and were the only people there during our stay, so in effect it our private lodge! Both have really outstanding food, a major plus. Both have great views from the lodge. Still, this would not justify the luxury resort prices at the places -- $120 a day/person at Rancho, and $99 at Tarcol. What in my opinion *does* justify the big bucks is the birding amenities. Both have great birding nearby -- lists of over 40 0 in the vicinity of each place, and I saw 125 species at Rancho and 145 at Tarcol. And both have terrific resident guides, excellent birders who know the birds of the vicinity, where they can be found, and their vocalizations, and are good at adjusting t o varying skill levels -- Jay Vandergaast (backed by lodge manager Lisa Erb) at Rancho, and guide-manager Tony Nunnery at Tarcol. They are around at meals and generally, and give great personalized birding service, besides being in both cases very nice guys. And the birding attracts interesting people and good birders as guests, so mealtime conversation was very lively and pleasant.
Rancho has a sweeping overlook of the Tuis River valley to Turrialba and Irazu, and up close a wonderful back yard birding environment from the lodge balcony, where feeders, pools, and well-selected plantings produce a fabulous early morning bird sho w, including toucans, oropendolas, chachalacas, manakins, woodcreepers, and woodpeckers, and many species each of tanagers, warblers, sparrows, and hummers. The hummers are the stars of the show here; the beautiful (and I understand generally rare) little SNOWCAP is regular, and I saw 11 other species. There is a feeder set-up with a nice sheltered sitting area up the trail a couple hundred yards from the lodge, and down a hill by the stream is the true magic show -- five pools in which the hummers *bathe *! CROWNED WOODNYMPH, WHITE-NECKED JACOBINS, SNOWCAPS, and PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRIES regularly visit to hover over the pools and plunge in and out, in some cases dozens of times. The rest of the on-site birding is along a well-maintained network of trails w inding up the hill above the lodge, crossing and recrossing a ravine through second-growth forest, and opening out at the top on pasture land, an old coffee and sugar cane plantation, and a little remaining primary forest in some steep ravines. January we ather is temperate, high 70's in the day and 60's at night. The altitude, 3000 feet, also is at a transition point between lowland and highland Caribbean slope birds, and provides a good mix of both.
Tarcol Lodge has an even more spectacular setting, on the edge of the estuary of the Tarcoles River, within sight of the breakers on the Bay of Nicoya. At high tide the water comes up to the base of the lodge porch, and at low tide the porch overlook s extensive mudflats teeming with shorebirds and herons. There are crocodiles in the river. Up to 40 MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRDS circle overhead and bathe, and hundreds of BROWN PELICANS, GREAT & SNOWY EGRETS, and WHITE IBISES roost in the mangroves across t he river, and a flock of gulls and terns dominated by 70 BLACK SKIMMERS come and go. WOOD STORKS, ROSEATE SPOONBILLS, and a REDDISH EGRET were occasional visitors, and we heard that Scarlet Macaws sometimes fly by. A small mangrove patch with a feeder ri ght next to the porch attracts some regulars, including YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA, WHITE-THROATED MAGPIE-JAY, GREAT KISKADEE, HOFFMAN'S WOODPECKER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, and a Myiarchus flycatcher who never gave a peep and was either a Brown-crested or a Dusky-capped, tho I tried to turn it into a Panama. I could have spent all day on the porch, watching the distant breakers, the changing light, the rise and fall of the tides, and the coming and going of hundreds of birds. The lodge is on the edge of a small and almost completely untouristy beach and fishing village, where Tony the lodge manager has made himself an integral citizen rather than a fenced-off gringo. Within walking distance of the lodge a trail along the river provides a l ot of scrub birds, and the outer beach has COLLARED PLOVERS and great views of the mountainous coast and the islands in the bay. A short drive away is the magnificent birding (on level trails) of Carara Reserve, as well as the steep waterfall trail outsid e the park, and the beach resorts of Herredura and Jaco are a little further down the coast if you want variety -- we went sailing one morning at Herredura, and saw a roost of several hundred MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRDS at close range. Weather is tropical, 8 0's to 90 in the day, and 70's at night, but the river's edge location provides breezes; we found fans were plenty at night.
There follows a species-by-species chronicle (apologies in advance for omission of scientific names of species -- just didn't have time!):
Arrived San Jose airport at 9 pm, and spent the night at the Erb's in San Jose.
Before leaving Erb's around 8:45 am, I saw RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROWS, BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOWS, HOFFMAN'S WOODPECKER, as well as BALTIMORE ORIOLE, CATTLE EGRETS flying overhead.
Arrived Rancho 11, and by 11:30 Lisa the manager had taken me (Barbara was unpacking) to the hummingbird feeders a couple of hundred yards up the trail from the house, where I saw (in the half-hour before lunch) a great display of hummers, including RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD, GREEN HERMIT, LITTLE HERMIT, WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN, SNOWCAP, GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT, VIOLET-CROWNED WOODNYMPH, RED-FOOTED PLUMELTEER, & SNOWCAP. The Snowcap is found reliably in CR only at Rancho, so we were told, and the Plumel teer was to be the only one I would see on the trip. The Rufous-tailed, Jacobin, and Woodnymph are the most commonly seen hummingbirds around Rancho. I also had a WILSON'S WARBLER, a common bird at Rancho, at the humfeeders.
After lunch Barbara and I went on the walk with fellow guests Jim and Ellen Shelton, led by Jay, up the trail from the house in search of a roving ant swarm and attendant birds. We didn't find it, and the afternoon birding was slow, but nonetheless I got my life YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (the dull little female, seen in the shrubbery around the lawn in front of the lodge) EYE-RINGED FLATBILL, SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER, SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (yellow above and below with silver throat), SPOTTED WOODCREE PER, TAWNY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER (hard to see, dark in the dark undergrowth), VIOLET-HEADED HUMMINGBIRD (singing on his territory), SHORT-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (staked out roosting on a branch over the waterfall) & (best of all the afternoon birds) a pair of ve ry well-seen RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMARS, sitting like giant hummingbirds not far of f the trail. Also seen was a CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, the most common warbler at Rancho.
At 4, we went to one of Rancho's star attractions, a series of five pools on the creek below the house from which the drinking water comes, where hummingbirds regularly *bathe*! The most vigorous bather was the Woodnymph, followed by the Jacobin and the Snowcap; the Hermits came briefly. The Rufous-tailed does not bathe in the pool, but rather rolls around in the dew on large leaves. We added a new and spectacular hummer to our life list, the PURPLE-HEADED FAIRY. At this point, we had seen 11 of the 12 total species of hummers we would see at Rancho, and were altogether dazzled by them.
Count for the day, 26 species, of which 22 were lifers.
In the morning, we (Barbara, me, and Jim and Ellen Shelton) were introduced to the other star feature of birding at Rancho, the morning feeding, viewed from the balcony, starting with first light at about 5:45.. An array of feeders with rice, ba nanas, plantains, and papaya, surrounded by pools and well-selected shrubbery, and backed by several large sheltering trees, attract an array of morning birds. Here are the ones that appeared on the first morning, in their order on the Rancho checklist: NEOTROPIC CORMORANT, CATTLE EGRET, TURKEY VULTURE, BLACK VULTURE (all seen flying over the valley) GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (10 or so fly in after about an hour and finish off the bananas), RED-BILLED PIGEON, WHITE-TIPPED DOVE, BROWN-HEADED PARROT, WHITE-C ROWNED PARROT (flyovers down in the valley), WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN, VIOLET-CROWNED WOODNYMPH, RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD, BLUE-CROWNED MOTMOT (our first big tropical bird -- it was there at first light at the banana feeder), COLLARED ARACARI (our first touc ans -- about 5 of them came in early, ate bananas quickly, then left); KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Jay said they never came to the feeder, and just after that I saw one coming in directly at me on the balcony, and excitedly shouted "Toucan"; I was primed to look at and clearly see the rainbow bill as it flew by), BLACK-CHEEKED WOODPECKER (a lot like Acorns, came to upright post and ate rice, a pair), HOFFMAN'S WOODPECKER, GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (plain front, bars on back), LINEATED WOODPECKER (good view of a pai r of these Pileated-like crested woodies on tree behind feeders), SPOTTED WOODCREEPER, STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (both in trees behind feeders -- species of this group hard to i.d.), CINNAMON BECARD, TROPICAL KINGBIRD, GREAT KISKADEE, SOCIAL FLYCATCHER, S ULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER, COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (little blacktopped yellow-bottomed bird in bushes behind feeders), YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (little empid-like flycatcher, in bushes), SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (down the hill from the feeders), BROWN JA Y (many at feeders), PLAIN WREN (in bushes behind feeder, like Bewick's -- more eyeline than House), HOUSE WREN, CLAY-COLORED ROBIN (many on all feeders), BANANAQUIT, (pretty little warbler-like curvebill bird, in bushes), TROPICAL PARULA (in trees behind feeder), CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, CHESTNUT-HEADED OROPENDULA, MONTEZUMA OROPENDULA (the latter the main one -- wonderful long-billed oriole relatives, with males displaying, and females carrying nesting material, at feeders and especially in big tree behi nd), BALTIMORE ORIOLE, SPECKLED TANAGER (great view of pair of this pretty green and white bird), SILVER-THROATED TANAGER, GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (beautiful blue-winged bird, well seen in trees), BAY-HEADED TANAGER, BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (regulars at feeders), PALM TANAGER (plain gray and white bird, a couple came to feeders), SCARLET-RUMPED TANAGER (many at feeders, male black with glowing scarlet rump; female olive and brown), SUMMER TANAGER (molting male), OLIVE TANAGER (plain green and olive bird), WHITE-L INED TANAGER (male all black with white wing linings, female cinnamon; many at feeders), BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR, BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (both at feeders, first more frequent; one singing in bushes), YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT, VARIABLE SEEDEATER (black bird, several near feeders), ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW, BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (both in bushes near pond under feeders), RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW.
Then after breakfast birded around the lawn and then went on a walk over the mountain trails in search of ant-swarm; afternoon we went up the hill road to the old coffee plantation along the public road. After lunch had a couple of new sightings on lawn and at pool -- BLACK-CRESTED COQUETTE, RUFOUS-CROWNED WARBLER -- and then returned to trails, B staying at home. Both hikes very successful. Birds listed again in the check-list order. GREAT TINAMOU (seen briefly as it flew off from off trail ahead of us -- "like a flying bowling ball"), BROAD-WINGED HAWK, SWAINSON'S HAWK (both seen over valley at the beginning of the morning walk), WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (overhead up hill in afternoon), VIOLET-HEADED HUMMINGBIRD (along trail in same territorial spot), GREEN HERMIT, LITTLE HERMIT, SNOWCAP, OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER, WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER, BROWN-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (great view from trail of this long curved-bill creeper), BUFF-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER, PLAIN XENOPS, GREAT ANTSHRIKE (heard over and over aga in singing up in coffee plantation, and then Jay spotted a tiny visible fragment of its breast through a gap that -- never moved, except for slight swelling with song), DOT-WINGED ANTWREN, (good view of male, all black with white dots and stripes), DUSKY ANTBIRD (mediocre view of pair that flew across trail, male black, female brown), DULL-MANTLED ANTBIRD, IMMACULATE ANTBIRD (didn't see blue skin area around eye), SPOTTED ANTBIRD, MASKED TITYRA (in tree down hill on morning walk -- not a great view), WHIT E-THROATED SPADEBILL, EYE-RINGED FLATBILL, SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (little bird with crest, constant singer that I had trouble seeing), MISTLETOE TYRANNULET, OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW, STRIPED-BREAS TED WREN (beautiful singers, seen singing duet in bushes alongside trail), BLACK-THROATED WREN, WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (the most constant singer in the forest, like Carolina Wren, seen only this once), YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, PHILADELPIA VIREO, BLACK-AND -WHITE WARBLER, GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (great view, my first, of this beautiful bird), TENNESSEE WARBLER, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (last both male and female, like most of former in the flock of small birds that we intercepted coming up the ravine near the hum feeder), KENTUCKY WARBLER (along trail), WILSON'S WARBLER, AMERICAN REDSTART, TAWNY-CAPPED EUPHONIA (female tanager, distant view), GREEN HONEYCREEPER (startling green).
That night, Dick Butler and his wife, herpetologists from Western Carolina U, arrived to study salamanders. They went out in the dark with wearing head-torches and found seven of the needed species. Gene and Jane Gwin from Houston also arrived for bi rding.
98 species, 81 new CR, 63 lifers. Total, 107 CR, 85 lifers.
At feeder, again a great show; new additions were SHORT-BILLED PIGEON (in tree behind lodge), WHITE-COLLARED MANAKIN (in bushes behind feeder), BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER, DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (only Myiarchus seen at Rancho; its melancholy "peeer " was heard constantly on the trail), and INDIGO BUNTING.
Morning hike -- less good than previous day. We did see a few new birds, the CHECKER-THROATED ANTWREN, SLATY ANTWREN, GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER. Good views of SPECKLED TANAGER, GREEN HONEYCREEPER, YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA, STRIPED WOOD-WRENS.
Afternoon I took a rest after lunch and then led Gene and Jane down to the humfeeder where we saw the same birds as the first day, including the PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY.
7 new lifers, 8 new CR. Totals, 115 CR, 92 lifers.
Feeder show in a.m. added GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER. Good views of STREAKED WOODCREEPER, ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW.
We (Barbara, me, Jane, Gene) had a good morning hike (Lisa leading, Jay was sick) at the beginning and the end, near the humfeeder, with rest of hike rather quiet.At beginning we added TROPICAL GNATCATCHER, SULPHUR-WINGED PARAKEET (in trees over humf eeder), RUFOUS MOTMOT (wonderful bird, well-seen in tree over trail near beginning of hike). On trail we added in underbrush near the Violet-headed Hummingbird spot as part of a flock RED-THROATED ANTSHRIKE. Then at end of hike near humfeeder, finally got our first trogon, spotted by Gene, a beautiful male COLLARED TROGON in the tree. Also saw the difficult SONG WREN as part of this flock, and I saw more RED-THROATED ANTSHRIKES.
Afternoon Gene, Jane, and I, again with Lisa, got great views of dueling male GREEN HONEYCREEPERS, good view of a male WHITE-COLLARED MANAKIN, good view of colorful male TAWNY-CAPPED EUPHONIA (only the relatively drab female badly seen before); and n ew birds: THRUSH-LIKE MANAKIN (plain bird looking like Clay-colored Robin), and COMMON PAURAQUE (flew up in trail ahead of us, giving good views of the large wings with white cross-stripes visible in flight).
9 lifers, giving total of 124 CR, 101 lifers.
Feeder in a.m. at Rancho on our last day I added RUDDY GROUND-DOVE. Final Rancho totals, 125 CR, 102 lifers.
We left at 8:15 and after lunch at the Erbs in San Jose finally got to Tarcol in mid-afternoon, with Tony driving.
On the way in, we saw a couple of birds along the road, CRESTED CARACARA, and our first lifer, the locally very rare DOUBLE-STRIPED THICK-KNEE in a field. Also a great view of a RINGED KINGFISHER on a phone line. On arriving we looked out on the wond erful scene of the Tarcol River at low tide, where I saw BROWN PELICAN (up to 200 over river), NEOTROPIC CORMORANT, MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (up to 40, and later bathing in river at high tide -- didn't see any pirating behavior), YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON , CATTLE EGRET, LITTLE BLUE HERON, REDDISH EGRET, GREAT EGRET, GREAT BLUE HERON, WOOD STORK, WHITE IBIS, TURKEY VULTURE, BLACK VULTURE, OSPREY, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, WILSON'S PLOVER, WHIMBREL, WILLET, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, RUDDY TURNSTON E, SANDERLING, LEAST SANDPIPER, GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE.
Then we went for a short walk around the little town of Playa Azul, and saw some very good birds: GRAY HAWK (sitting in a tree), INCA DOVE, FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (first heard, then seen in the failing light in a tree in a house right behind the lodge ), RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD, TROPICAL KINGBIRD, BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER, WHITE-THROATED MAGPIE-JAY (great view of flock in tree; later they visited the feeder regularly); RUFOUS-NAPED WREN (heard singing and seen in a weedy field near the house; thereafte r seen constantly, a very unshy large wren, reminiscent of Cactus Wren).
Day at Tarcol: 35 Tarcol species, 28 new CR, 6 lifers.
Total: CR, 154; lifers, 108.
Morning new on the river from the porch with coffee: GREEN HERON, TRICOLORED HERON, SNOWY EGRET, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, WESTERN SANDPIPER, BLACK-NECKED STILT, PACIFIC SCREECH-OWL (heard only at first light), BELTED KINGFISHER, HOFFMAN'S WOODPECKER , NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (latter 2 by feeder).
Morning on the scrub trail: ROSEATE SPOONBILL, BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (alongside river); BOAT-BILLED HERON, COMMON BLACK HAWK ("MANGROVE"), ROADSIDE HAWK, ZONE-TAILED HAWK (overflew, with spots on bottom of tail and yellow bill differentiating from TV), YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (also a visitor by the feeder, visible from the porch), LAUGHING FALCON (great view of perched pair), RUDDY GROUND-DOVE, YELLOW-NAPED PARROT, MEALY PARROT, SQUIRREL CUCKOO, SCALY-BREASTED HUMMINGBIRD, LINEATED WOODPECKER ( good view on the trail), STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER, BARRED ANTSHRIKE, BLACK-HOODED ANTSHRIKE, CINNAMON BECARD, ROSE-THROATED BECARD, SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER (flyover, not very good view, but unmistakable with tail), STREAKED FLYCATCHER, SOCIAL FLYCATCHE R, GREAT KISKADEE (also a feeder visitor), BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER, GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER, TROPICAL PEWEE, YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER, COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER, SLATE-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER, SCRUB FLYCATCHER, SOUTHERN BEARDLESS TYRANNULET, GRAY-BREASTED MA RTIN (seen perched on the top of a bare tree), NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, MANGROVE SWALLOW (seen over the river on scrub trail), CLAY-COLORED ROBIN, MANGROVE VIREO, SCRUB GREENLET, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (near the feeder), TENNE SSEE WARBLER, YELLOW WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, AMERICAN REDSTART, BALTIMORE ORIOLE, SCRUB EUPHONIA, BLUE-GRAY TANAGER, SUMMER TANAGER, VARIABLE SEEDEATER, BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT. Great flyover and perch by a Wood Stork.
On the way to and at Lapas: NORTHERN JACANA (in the little pond between Playa Azul and Tarcoles); PLAIN-BREASTED GROUND-DOVE (seen on river bank at Lapas), TURQUOISE-BROWED MOTMOT (great view in tree near the lodge, on the way out). Afternoon at the beach, and in the mangrove grove alongside: COLLARED PLOVER, LAUGHING GULL, COMMON TERN, ROYAL TERN, SANDWICH TERN, ELEGANT TERN, BLACK SKIMMER, "MANGROVE" YELLOW WARBLER.
Day: 70 species, 52 new CR, 33 life.
Total: 105 at Tarcol; 205 CR; 141 life.
Went to Carara and walked the level trail along the river in the morning, in nice conditions; went home for lunch; went back and walked it again in the afternoon (birds thin, but saw Agouti and White-faced Monkeys at end of walk); finished at ri ver bridge at dusk.
Morning at Carara: LEAST GREBE, ANHINGA, BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON, SHORT-TAILED HAWK (overfly, only a quick view), RED-BILLED PIGEON, SCARLET MACAW (first saw this indescribably wonderful bird in a flyby through the forest of a pair; very good view -- later saw at bridge, and on road to Jaco the next day, also good views); CRIMSON-FRONTED PARAKEET; WHITE-CROWNED PARROT; BAND-RUMPED SWIFT; LONG-TAILED HERMIT; LITTLE HERMIT; BLUE-THROATED GOLDENTAIL (beautiful new hummer, seen along trail); PURPLE-CRO WNED FAIRY; SLATY-TAILED TROGON (saw two females and one male); VIOLACEOUS TROGON (our first trogon of the day, and B's first ever, as she had missed the one at Rancho -- a real beauty, a male); RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (right by trail, full view); GOLDEN-NA PED WOODPECKER (excellent view of pair nesting on snag by trail); PALE-BILLED WOODPECKER (great view of pair on tree right along trail); BUFF-THROATED WOODCREEPER, PLAIN XENOPS, DOT-WINGED ANTWREN (excellent view of female, with chestnut plumage), DUSKY A NTBIRD, CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD, DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER, TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (spotted by B), LESSER GREENLET, GOLDEN-WINGEDWARBLER, YELLOW-CROWNED EUPHONIA (a beauty, well seen), WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER, BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR, ORANGE-CROWNED SPARROW.
Also though we never saw the bird, we heard the famous bong of the Three-wattled Bellbird many times; also heard in the distance the haunting call of the Great Tinamou.
Afternoon at Carara: GRAY-CHESTED DOVE (seen near the end of the trail out); ORANGE-COLLARED MANAKIN (male, great up-close view of this beautiful bird); MISTLETOE TYRANNULET; BROWN JAY. Good views of perched Mealy Parrots, previously seen only in fly over. On the way back, finally saw the GROOVE-BILLED ANI, later realized that they are everywhere. White-faced Monkeys in the trees, Agouti on the forest floor near the trail.
At the bridge: RED-LORED PARROT, excellent flyby views; SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (pale rump patch visible from above from bridge); great flyby view of Scarlet Macaws. Several crocodiles in river, also Northern Jacanas, Mangrove Swallows, Black-b ellied Whistling-ducks.
38 new Tarcol birds; 22 new CR birds; 20 new lifers.
Totals: Tarcol 143; 227 CR; 161 life.
We went sailing from Herredura for a change from forests and birding; beautiful sail, with great views of coast line, and roost of Magnificent Frigatebirds, plus lots of Brown Pelicans, and a couple of Elegant Terns.
Along the road on the way to Herredura we saw a couple of perched Scarlet Macaws, and several flyover Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, much better views than previous. And at the same spot we finally saw CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED TOUCANS, a pair in a tree.
On way back, saw PURPLE GALLINULE, excellent views of a pair in pond alongside road beyond Herredura toward Jaco.
Day: 2 new life birds.
Rancho: CR 125, life 102.
Tarcol: 145; CR 104; life 61.
Totals: CR, 229; life 163..
No new birds -- the usual river show, poignant now as the last time, and a few more looks to try and find Pygmy Flycatcher in the grove by the feeder (Tony says it comes there) and listen for a call from the Myiarchus flycatcher that hangs out there -- Tony (who didn't see it) said a Panama Flycatcher sometimes comes there, but this one has brown in the tail, and is a Brown-crested or Dusky-capped, or a very pale Great-crested -- all of which we have heard here. Left for the airport about 10 am .