Birding the Americas Trip Report and Planning Repository
Return to the Main Index

Return to the North America Index
Return to the Central American Index
Return to the Costa Rica Index
COSTA RICA

12 March - 24 April 2001

by Blake Maybank

This is an account of the birding portion of an atypical Costa Rica birding trip, one centered upon a six-week immersion course of Spanish language instruction. The immersion component involved living with Costa Rican families, and attending daily language classes. The birding component will be described in more detail below.

LOGISTICS

The entire trip was framed around a six-week course of Spanish language instruction.

I undertook my initial search of the possibilities on the Internet, focusing first on school "wholesalers" such as Spanish Abroad (http://www.spanishabroad.com/), which markets a number of different local schools in various Latin American countries (and Spain, of course). Once I decided upon Costa Rica as my country of choice (with Ecuador a close second), I then had to select a particular school.

There are numerous schools in Costa Rica from which to choose, and I eventually selected Centro Panamericano de Idiomas (hereafter CPI, web site http://cpi-edu.com/), a decision based in large part on its having three campuses, each in a different part of the country; Heredia (near San Jose), Monteverde, and Playa Flamingo (Guanacaste Province). CPI makes it easy to structure a program to incorporate all three destinations, and the adjacent birding opportunities seemed enticing.

Because I was interested in birding opportunities, I elected to pay a surcharge in order to have private language instruction in the afternoons. Most students choose the slightly less expensive option of group instruction (maximum four students to one teacher), but as group classes begin at 0800h, this prevents the option of morning birding.

Weekends are free, and the school, sometimes through local operators, organises trips to nearby sites of interest, many of which have birding possibilities. There are also numerous such trips through the week, but usually in the afternoon, when I had scheduled my own instruction period. But check prices carefully, as sometimes it is less expensive to organise your own excursion. Another disadvantage to the school-organised trips is that most require a minimum number of participants, and if that number is not reached, the trip is cancelled.

An advantage of attending the school is that one's student card provides for numerous local discounts at restaurants, stores, etc. These vary with the CPI location -- contact each campus for more information.

OVERALL ITINERARY
 
10 March Depart Halifax, Nova Scotia
11 March  Arrive San Jose. 
12 - 30 March  Heredia (CPI language school)
31 March  Travel from Heredia to Monteverde
01 - 08 April  Monteverde (CPI language school)
09 April  Travel from Monteverde to San Jose
10 April  Costa Rica Big Day (Bird Race)
11 April  Travel from San Jose to Osa Peninsula (excursion organised by CPI)
12-13 April  Marenco Nature Reserve & Corcovado National Park
14 April  Travel from Osa Peninsula to Heredia
15 April  Travel from Heredia to Playa Flamingo (Bahía Potrero, Guanacaste)
16 - 21 April  Playa Flamingo (CPI language school)
22 April  Travel from Playa Flamingo to Heredia
23 April  Depart Costa Rica, arrive Toronto, Canada
24 April  Toronto to Halifax 

INTERNAL TRAVEL

My journeys between cities and towns was organised through CPI, and there were generally two options, the extensive nation-wide system of buses (said to be inexpensive, slow, and frequently uncomfortable), and InterBus, a private company that links areas popular with Gringoes, using minivans. These vans are faster, air-conditioned, and more comfortable, and although considerably more expensive than the buses, are still reasonable in price, generally between $20 to $30 U.S.. I invariably chose the InterBus.

For contracted birding excursions, transportation was organised by the guides.

In Monteverde I used the local bus that runs between Santa Elena and the Monteverde Reserve, as well as taxis.

In Playa Flamingo I used the minivan service run by CPI.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Trips to Costa Rica do not require mandatory innoculations, and I experienced no difficulty with food or water anywhere during my trip. Despite being a cold-weather Canadian, I remembered to properly hydrate where the heat was extreme, particularly the Osa Peninsula, and Playa Flamingo.

PESTS

Mosquitos were only slightly annoying in Heredia, generally at dusk, and inside the bedroom at night. Mind you, it was the end of the dry season ("summer"), and I'm sure activity would pick up once the rains commenced.

LOCAL GUIDES (alphabetical order)

Richard Garrigues
    http://www.angelfire.com/bc/gonebirding/index.html

Sergio Vega Marín
    (serjungle@racsa.co.cr)

Monteverde Reserve Guides
    http://monteverdeweb.com/id82.htm

Winnie Orcutt (contact the Birding Club of Costa Rica)
    [web sites is no longer in operation}

Dennis Rogers
    http://www.cinclustours.com/

REFERENCES

1) "A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica," by Stiles, Skutch, & Gardner. Indispensable. Carried by the American Birding Association, among others.

2) "The Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guide - Costa Rica," by Les Beletsky. Useful for charismatic fauna other than birds. Carried by the A.B.A..

3) "Site Guides - Costa Rica & Panama," by Dennis Rogers. Much better, and more current, than Keith Taylor's now unavailable guide. Amazon carries the book, though ABA inexplicably does not. You can also order directly from the author through his home page:
    http://www.cinclustours.com/

4)  "Costa Rica Handbook" by Christopher P. Baker. Published by Moon Travel Handbooks.  I looked at many country handbooks, and this is the BEST. Go to: http://www.travelguidebooks.com

BIRDING ITINERARY
 
DATE HOURS LOCALE Guides or Companions
11 March  1200-1600 Sarapiqui, Horquetas, Caribbean slope none
12 March 0900-1200 San Joaquin de Flores, Heredia none
13 March 0600-1000 San Joaquin de Flores, Heredia none
14 March 0630-0930 San Joaquin de Flores, Heredia none
15 March 0600-1100 Vara Blanca, above Alajuela Winnie Orcutt
1130-1200 Virgin del Socorro - Mirador feeders Winnie Orcutt
17 March 0630-1300 Virgin del Socorro Forest Reserve Dennis Rogers
18 March 0730-1345 Cerro de la Muerte Dennis Rogers
19 March 0630-1100 Parque Nacional Volcán Poás Winnie Orcutt
22 March  0730-1100 Braulio Carrillo National Park Richard Garrigues
1200-1430 Horquetas (en route to La Selva) Richard Garrigues
1430-1730 road to La Selva Richard Garrigues
25 March 0730-1230 Virgin del Socorro Forest Reserve Richard Garrigues
1300-1400 Virgin del Socorro - Mirador feeders Richard Garrigues
1400-1600 Restaurant Lodge el Churrasco, near Fraijanes Richard Garrigues
27 March 0630-0945 Reserva Forestal el Rodeo, in the Cerros de Escazu, above Santa Ana  Dennis Rogers
01 April 0700-1200 Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve Toby (staff guide)
03 April 0700-0900 Finca Ecológica, Monteverde none
04 April 0630-1200 Finca Ecológica, Monteverde none
05 April 1530-1730 Finca Ecológica, Monteverde none
06 April 0600-0900 road to San Luis, Monteverde none
1300-1700 Monteverde Sky Walk Sergio Vega Marín
07 April 1230-1500 Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve Dorothy MacKinnon
08 April 0800-1200 Santa Elena Forest Preserve Dorothy MacKinnon
10 April 0500-0800 Carara Biological Reserve Dennis Rogers, Jim Zook
0900-1000 Rio Tárcoles Estuary Dennis Rogers, Jim Zook
1200-1400 Virgin del Socorro Forest Reserve Dennis Rogers, Jim Zook
1600-1800 La Selva Dennis Rogers, Jim Zook
12 April 0830-1430 Osa Peninsula - Corcovado National Park none
13 April 0530-1800 Osa Peninsula - Marenco Nature Reserve none
16 April 0900-1200 Guanacaste - Bahía Potrero none
18 April 0530-0930 Guanacaste - Bahía Potrero none
19 April 0530-1100 Guanacaste - Bahía Potrero none
21 April 0600-0900 Guanacaste - Bahía Potrero none

SITE NAVIGATION -- SITE DETAILS AND BIRD LISTS
 
 
# SITE
A) Sarapiqui, Horquetas, Caribbean slope
B) San Joaquin de Flores, Heredia
C) Vara Blanca, above Alajuela
D1) Virgin del Socorro Forest Reserve
D2) Virgin del Socorro - Mirador feeders
D3) Virgin del Socorro - Restaurant Lodge el Churrasco, near Fraijanes
E) Cerro de la Muerte
F) Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
G) Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo
H) Horquetas (en route to La Selva)
I) Access road to La Selva
J) Reserva Forestal el Rodeo, in the Cerros de Escazu, above Santa Ana
K) Monteverde
K1) Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve
K2) Finca Ecológica, Monteverde
K3) road to San Luis, Monteverde
K4) Monteverde Sky Walk
K5) Santa Elena Forest Preserve
K6) Cerro Plano
L) Carara Biological Reserve
M) Rio Tárcoles Estuary
N) La Selva
O) Osa Peninsula - Corcovado National Park & Marenco Nature Reserve
P) Guanacaste - Bahía Potrero
& Complete Costa Rica Trip List

A) - SARAPIQUI, HORQUETAS, CARIBBEAN SLOPE -- 11 March 2001

I arrived at the San Jose airport at 0200 a.m., and, as I had no checked luggage, I was the first one through customs, and I found my driver from CPI (the Language School) without difficulty. The home of the family (Yvette and William Viquez) where I was to be billeted for the next three weeks was only four kilometres distant.

Later that morning, my host family communicated to me that there was to be a family excursion that day, and I was invited. We drove over the mountains, through beautiful Braulio Carrillo National Park, and then down the other side to the hot, humid, Caribbean lowlands, where William has one of his farms. The habitat was somewhat mixed, and there were some good patches of mature forest. Despite it being early afternoon, in the heat of the day, there were some birds about, and between courses of the BBQ I managed to identify a few of them -- it was slow going, but fun. Here is my list for that part of the Caribbean lowlands:

Sarapiqui, Horquetas, Caribbean Slope ~ 11 March 2001 ~ 17 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Blue Ground-Dove Claravis pretiosa
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
Black-striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus
Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
White-ringed Flycatcher Conopias albovittata
Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor
Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia
Passerini's Tanager Ramphocelus passerinii
Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina
Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris
Black-faced Grosbeak Caryothraustes poliogaster

Most of the species were new for me, of course, and one of them put me over 1600 on my life list, but I'm not sure which one it was, as I didn't keep track of the order in which I saw them.

B) - SAN JOAQUIN DE FLORES, HEREDIA -- 12-30 March 2001

As might be imagined, the birding opportunities in a heavily developed urban and suburban environment are not too great. Some of the gardens were good, but access was difficult, as every house, garden, and field was heavily and securely fenced against the world. But I had some small successes.

Along the main road from San Joaquin into Heredia, a scruffy looking creek crossed the road, the Rio Heredia, with water an indescribable colour, like old toothpaste. But the creek was lined with trees and shrubs, and there were a few birds present therein, including a singing Yellow-green Vireo.

One morning I did a nice walk of 10 km or so, venturing into the coffee fields to the north of the town. I saw a few new birds for the trip, and some interesting countryside. There was a flight of swifts overhead, including a couple of White-collareds, easy to identify, while the rest were apparently Vaux's Swifts. A Boat-billed Flycatcher was a nice study next to a Great Kiskadee, and a Squirrel Cuckoo was a surprise. Another morning I went out for a walk after breakfast, following an old railway track to the east, and found some nice habitat near the Rio Heredia, but found no new species. I again heard a bird I'd encountered three different times, each time without being able to see the singer. I eventually discovered the bird to be a Blue-gray Tanager, which was singing from its nest. The railway track runs north-south, and lies a hundred meters or so west of CPI school. Walking the track north also looked promising, but I didn't make the time to explore that direction.

I found a parrot roost in a couple of big palm trees, roughly one km south of the CPI school, and on the same unnamed road. After a couple of days I was finally able to see one well enough for identification; it was a Scarlet-fronted Parakeet. The garden hummingbirds were equally difficult to ID, as they never seemed to stop for a look. I finally put a name to one in my host's garden, and as the field guide predicted, it was a Rufous-tailed Emerald, the common hummer of city gardens.

I also took a guided tour of the Café Britt coffee export company. The grounds around the facility were quite birdy (a singing Melodious Blackbird was unexpected), and the coffee was excellent, as was the professional interpretive guided tour, equal to the best I've seen elsewhere. I recommend it, and the coffee. They have a great sales outlet with affordable shipping home, and my box of coffee arrived back in Canada before I did. (www.cafebritt.com)

San Joaquin de Flores, Heredia ~ 12 - 30 March 2001 ~ 35 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Rock Dove Columba livia
Red-billed Pigeon Columba flavirostris
Inca Dove Columbina inca
Crimson-fronted Parakeet Aratinga finschi
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
Black Swift Cypseloides niger
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
Hoffmann's Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Rufous-naped Wren Campylorhynchus rufinucha
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio
Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Grayish Saltator Saltator coerulescens
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
Melodious Blackbird Dives dives
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula
Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius
House Sparrow Passer domesticus

C) - VARA BLANCA, ABOVE ALAJUELA -- 15 March

This was the first formal birding outing, arranged through William's sister, Nelia, who is a beginning birder. She put me in touch with the past president of the Costa Rica Birding Club, Winnie Orcutt, and she agreed to take me for a morning's birding, for a fee of roughly $25 Cdn, or 5000 colones, the local currency. We were to meet at a hotel near the airport, as it is very difficult to give directions to specific houses, as streets are not named, and houses not numbered.

I arose before 0400, and my taxi showed up on time at 0430, but not before I had caused some consternation in the household, occasioned by my difficulty in getting out of the fortified and locked house. It seems that due to my incompetant Spanish, they thought I was heading out at 0430 in the afternoon, not the morning. Regardless, I made my rendezvous at the Hampton Inn near the airport at 0500, and Winnie and I headed out for a morning's birding. We went to Vara Blanca, a patch of remnant rain forest above Alajuela. Winnie was a fine companion, and knew her birds well, but her hearing is going. Since my eyesight is not acute, and colour-challenged as well, we made a good team. We (or rather, I) heard a Quetzal, but we didn't see it. Still, there were many fine birds, most new for me. The Collared Redstart was especially showy. We birded the area until just before 10, and then headed back to town.

Despite the rather sedate birding pace at Vara Blanca, we saw many birds, most new. Here is the list:

Vara Blanca ~ 15 March ~ 35 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
Barred Forest-Falcon Micrastur ruficollis
Purple-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis calolaema
Scintillant Hummingbird Selasphorus scintilla
Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno
Prong-billed Barbet Semnornis frantzii
Red-faced Spinetail Cranioleuca erythrops
Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens
Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii
White-throated Spadebill Platyrinchus mystaceus
Tufted Flycatcher Mitrephanes phaeocercus
Yellowish Flycatcher Empidonax flavescens
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
Black-faced Solitaire Myadestes melanops
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush Catharus frantzii
Mountain Robin Turdus plebejus
Yellow-winged Vireo Vireo carmioli
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla
Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus
Collared Redstart Myioborus torquatus
Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus
Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus
Golden-browed Chlorophonia Chlorophonia callophrys
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala
Spangle-cheeked Tanager Tangara dowii
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea
Slaty Flowerpiercer Diglossa plumbea
Yellow-thighed Finch Pselliophorus tibialis
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis

D1) - VIRGIN DEL SOCORRO FOREST RESERVE - 17 March, 25 March, & 10 April

17 March

On this, my first Saturday in-country, I had made arrangements to go afield with Dennis Rogers, the author of "Site Guides - Costa Rica & Panama." It's a good 180 page book, much better than Keith Taylor's guide, but inexplicably is not carried by the ABA. As with my earlier outing with Winnie, I arranged to meet Dennis at the Hampton Inn. But, a panic. Somehow, I slept through my alarm, and woke up at 4:58, with my taxi due at five. Perhaps the earplugs weren't such a good idea, although they seemed a brilliant move when the mosquito was buzzing about my ears. Fortunately, I had prepared everything for departure the evening before, so I threw on my clothes, grabbed my gear (but forgot my hat), and was out the door in two minutes, but not before the taxi driver had honked once to remind me that he was waiting. So much for a quiet, gracious departure.

As I waited outside the hotel with a coffee, I could hear the cacophony of bird sounds from the nearby grove of pine trees, which I had heard the first time I rendezvoused here. But unlike the earlier morning, this time I could see the birds leaving their roost, as it was 30 minutes later. They were Great-tailed Grackles, and there were thousands of them, quite a sight, as they left in every direction. Then Dennis arrived, and we were off birding. He took me to an area called Virgin del Socorro, at around 7000 ft in elevation, and we saw and heard many new birds for my life list. He really knows his birds.

This outing produced my biggest day-list to date, with many life birds (some heard-only, of course, which happens a lot in the thick tropical forests).

25 March

I was picked up at 0610 by Richard Garriguez in his van, and the entire family was along for the outing, and they needed their 12 passenger van, as there was Richard, his wife, and their five children, aged from 17 through 8.  And every one of them enjoyed birding, all having binoculars, and keeping track of their sightings and life lists. Young eyes are sharp eyes, and upon arrival at Virgin del Socorro, the family quickly strung out along the road, finding birds everywhere. It was impossible to keep up, and I inevitably missed some sightings, but it was good fun. We birded the road down and up the valley, and I had a few new sightings, including a Greet Toucanet, and a Fasciated Tiger-Heron, the latter a great find, apparently. Richard found an American Dipper nest on an old bridge support structure, and it was interesting to watch the adults sneak in to feed their young. The dippers here, while considered the same species as those in western Canada, look quite different, with light gray bodies, and dark wings and tail. The Western Wood-Pewee we encountered had the good grace to call, although the "Traill's" Flycatcher didn't. Richard and his eldest son insisted it was a Willow, but I was not about to make that determination. It was "willowish," perhaps, but without my Sibley guide, and likely not even then, I would not venture a definitive ID.

It was interesting to me how different my list was from my previous trip to the same trail. On my first trip I had 62 species, the second 55, and the combined trip lists was 88 species. And I missed some that others saw, with the Gray-crowned Yellowthroat the most annoying. There was an impressive movement of White-collared Swifts, and 5 or 6 Swallow-tailed Kites sailed up and down the valley, a very beautiful show. And I saw (and held) my first snake of the trip, a small Blunt-headed Snake, a non-venemous species.

Just as we were back on the road driving to our next stop, we had great views of a troop of White-faced Monkeys, the first I'd seen.

10 April

Virgin del Socorro was one of several sites visited by the Big Day team of Dennis Rogers and Jim Zook. It was a hasty visit, and I made note of only those species I saw that I hadn't seen on earlier trips.

Virgin Del Socorro Forest Reserve ~ 17 March, 25 March, & 10 April ~ 94 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME 17/03 25/03
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor en route (17th)
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis en route
Fasciated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma fasciatum - X
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus X X
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura X X
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus X X
White Hawk Leucopternis albicollis - X
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus - X
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus - X
Swainson's Hawk Buteo swainsoni - X
Red-billed Pigeon Columba flavirostris X -
White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis X -
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana X X
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris - X
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy X -
Violet Sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus X -
Violet-headed Hummingbird Klais guimeti X -
Violet-crowned Woodnymph Thalurania colombica X X
Purple-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis calolaema X -
Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula X -
Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti X X
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris 10th April
Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus - X
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus X X
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus X -
Smoky-brown Woodpecker Veniliornis fumigatus X X
Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus X X
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus - X
Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius - X
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii X -
Brown-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus pusillus - X
Russet Antshrike Thamnistes anabatinus - X
Slaty Antwren Myrmotherula schisticolor X -
White-ruffed Manakin Corapipo altera X X
Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea 10th April
Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus X -
Paltry Tyrannulet Zimmerius vilissimus X X
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus X -
Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum nigriceps X -
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens - X
Yellow-margined Flycatcher Tolmomyias assimilis X -
Tufted Flycatcher Mitrephanes phaeocercus 10th April
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi - X
Dark Pewee Contopus lugubris X -
Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus - X
"Traill's" Flycatcher Empidonax sp. - X
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans X X
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus X -
Rufous Mourner Rhytipterna holerythra X -
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer X -
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus X -
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca X -
American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus X -
Bay Wren Thryothorus nigricapillus - X
Stripe-breasted Wren Thryothorus thoracicus X -
House Wren Troglodytes aedon - X
Ochraceous Wren Troglodytes ochraceus - X
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys X X
Nightingale Wren Microcerculus philomela X -
Black-faced Solitaire Myadestes melanops X -
Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus fuscater X -
Pale-vented Thrush Turdus obsoletus - X
Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio X -
Azure-hooded Jay Cyanolyca cucullata X -
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus X X
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus X X
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera X X
Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi X X
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica X X
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca - X
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia X -
Louisiana Waterthrush Seiurus motacilla - X
Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia - X
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla X X
Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus X X
Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus X X
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola X X
Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus - X
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra X X
Flame-colored Tanager Piranga bidentata en route (25th)
Crimson-collared Tanager Ramphocelus sanguinolentus X -
Tawny-capped Euphonia Euphonia anneae - X
Emerald Tanager Tangara florida X -
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala X -
Speckled Tanager Tangara guttata X X
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola X X
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis Dacnis venusta - X
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza X X
Sooty-faced Finch Lysurus crassirostris X X
Yellow-thighed Finch Pselliophorus tibialis 10th April
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis X X
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna en route 
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus en route 
Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus X X

D2) - VIRGIN DEL SOCORRO - MIRADOR FEEDERS - 15 March & 25 March

My first visit to the remarkable Mirador feeders near the Virgin del Socorro Forest Preserve was with Winnie Orcutt on March 15. Time was pressing, and the blizzard of hummers coming to the feeders was overwhelming. I learned to ID five species before we had to leave, but when I returned to the feeders on March 25 with Richard Garrigues and his family, we spent more time here, seeing the same species I noted March 15, plus many more. The view is also impressive here, at least when the clouds and mist clear. A spectacular waterfall is visible far below and across the valley. We also stopped here briefly during the Big Day on April 10th, and the only new "site bird" for me was a Hepatic Tanager.
 

Virgin del Socorro Mirador feeders - 15 & 25 March ~ 21 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy
Violet Sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus
Brown Violet-ear Colibri delphinae
Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus
Green Thorntail Discosura conversii
Coppery-headed Emerald Elvira cupreiceps
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
White-bellied Mountain-gem Lampornis hemileucus
Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula
Prong-billed Barbet Semnornis frantzii
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
Hepatic Tanager Piranga flava
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala
Spangle-cheeked Tanager Tangara dowii
Thick-billed Seed-Finch Oryzoborus funereus
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula
Black-cowled Oriole Icterus dominicensis

D3 - RESTAURANT LODGE EL CHURRASCO, NEAR FRAIJANES - 25 March

On both trips to the Virgin del Socorro Mirador feeders, we also stopped at a Steak House renowned by many, and very crowded on the Sunday, the 25th, although it was quieter on the 15th. The coffee and steaks are excellent. There were hummingbird feeders at this restaurant as well, and we saw different species from the previous stop, as we were at a higher elevation. On the 25th, by the time we were heading downhill into the Central Valley wherein lies Heredia and San Jose, I had seen 15 different species of hummingbird for the day.

Restaurant Lodge el Churrasco, near Fraijanes ~ 6 species (others not noted, but seen)
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Red-billed Pigeon Columba flavirostris
Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus
Purple-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis calolaema
Magnificent Hummingbird Eugenes fulgens
Volcano Hummingbird Selasphorus flammula
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus

E) - CERRO DE LA MUERTE - 18 March

Dennis picked me up at 0600 in front of the house, as he now knew where I lived. We headed into the mountains again, this time up Cerro de la Meurte, the Mountain of the Dead. The mountain's name seemed to influence Dennis's truck, as the engine kept mis-firing, a worrying sound at 10,000 feet. But there was some fine birding, with many new species, some hard to find elsewhere in the country. Dennis spent some time scraping a spark plug connection, and that seemed to help matters, and we headed down the mountain with more confidence than we had had going up, birding as we went. We had a shorter list than in the Virgin del Socorro, but still saw some fine new birds, my favourite being the Black Guans. For the second time I heard Quetzals without seeing them -- I hoped for better luck in Monteverde.

[On April 11, while on a rest-break en route to the Osa Peninsula, I saw two species in the Cerro de la Muerte that I'd not see March 18 - Swallow-tailed Kite and Streaked Xenops, the latter a lifer.]

Cerro de la Muerte ~ 18 March ~ 41 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Swallow-tailed Kite (11 April) Elanoides forficatus
Black Guan Chamaepetes unicolor
Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata
Ruddy Pigeon Columba subvinacea
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi
Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus
Fiery-throated Hummingbird Panterpe insignis
Magnificent Hummingbird Eugenes fulgens
Volcano Hummingbird Selasphorus flammula
Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
Ruddy Treerunner Margarornis rubiginosus
Streaked Xenops (11 April) Xenops rutilans
Silvery-fronted Tapaculo Scytalopus argentifrons
Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher Terenotriccus erythrurus
Black-capped Flycatcher Empidonax atriceps
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca
Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher Phainoptila melanoxantha
Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher Ptilogonys caudatus
Ochraceous Wren Troglodytes ochraceus
Timberline Wren Thryorchilus browni
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus gracilirostris
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Sooty Robin Turdus nigrescens
Mountain Robin Turdus plebejus
Yellow-winged Vireo Vireo carmioli
Flame-throated Warbler Parula gutturalis
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla
Collared Redstart Myioborus torquatus
Black-cheeked Warbler Basileuterus melanogenys
Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus pileatus
Golden-browed Chlorophonia Chlorophonia callophrys
Slaty Flowerpiercer Diglossa plumbea
Yellow-thighed Finch Pselliophorus tibialis
Large-footed Finch Pezopetes capitalis
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus

F) - PARQUE NACIONAL VOLCÁN POÁS - 19 March

I was again up on time, and was picked up outside the house at 0530 by Winnie Orcutt, who was somewhat nonplussed to learn that the area she had chosen for our morning's birding was the same spot to where Dennis had taken me on Saturday. So, as the weather was especially clear, I suggested that perhaps the Volcán Poás might be a good alternative, and that was where we went. The gate to the park didn't open until 0800, and we were on site by 0630, so we did some birding in the chilly air of the high altitude. I had forgotten my sweater, so was rather cold until the sun warmed things up a bit. It was quite windy, and that kept the birds under cover, and hard to see. In fact, I added no new ones to my list, although I did get better looks at a few of them.

We went into the park at 0800, and walked to the volcano crater. It was gorgeous, and still clear, the latter condition quite rare, I was assured by Winnie. We then walked a trail to a laguna, a old crater filled with water. There were not many birds in evidence, although I did see 80+ Broad-winged Hawks in migration over the volcano, and watched a Fiery-throated Hummingbird build its nest, a fascinating process.

Parque Nacional Volcán Poás ~ 19 March ~ 27 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata
Ruddy Pigeon Columba subvinacea
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium brasilianum
Black Swift Cypseloides niger
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi
Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus
Fiery-throated Hummingbird Panterpe insignis
Purple-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis calolaema
Volcano Hummingbird Selasphorus flammula
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii
Black-capped Flycatcher Empidonax atriceps
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher Phainoptila melanoxantha
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus gracilirostris
Sooty Robin Turdus nigrescens
Mountain Robin Turdus plebejus
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla
Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus pileatus
Yellow-thighed Finch Pselliophorus tibialis
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis

G) - PARQUE NACIONAL BRAULIO CARRILLO - 22 March

Given the rich possibilities of today's outing, I took it upon myself to cancel my classes for the day. As I am the only student in my class, this was easily arranged. I was going afield with Richard Garriguez, an American long living in Costa Rica. He has birded here nearly 20 years, and makes his living from planning or leading tours. I was to join him with one of his clients for a visit to some special places.

I arose on time, and then waited for Richard's arrival, at the Texaco station across the street. He arrived on time, and we headed off to pick up his client, a fellow from Minnesota, a newly fanatic birder in Costa Rica for a week, paying Richard to guide him the whole time.

We went first to Braulio Carrillo National Park, a park easy on the eyes but difficult of access, as there had been many tourist hold-ups by thieves in the past. Consequently, the only trail people feel secure using is the one behind the park offices on the Caribbean slope, and that is where we went, to hike a 2-km trail through thick rain forest. The forest was lovely, even though (or because) the clouds were low overhead, with occasional drizzle. The thick vegetation made viewing difficult. The Howler Monkeys also went unviewed, but it is impossible to not be aware of them, as they are well named. We did see Rufous-tailed Squirrels, however.

This was the toughest birding I've experienced in the Americas, and it was most frustrating. At least half the species were heard-only, and many of the rest were only briefly glimpsed. However, this trail is a "must-do," if only because many of the species here cannot be found elsewhere. For those that live in-country, multiple visits are required. For the one-time visitor, you take what fortune provides, and move on.

After finishing the trail, we birded around the parking lot at the park offices, and actually saw some birds this time, as well as a Golden Orb Spider, a huge beast several inches across, most impressive. Just down the road was a failed Butterfly/Hummingbird Garden enterprise, which still possessed a security guard, and plenty of plants to attract hummers, so we stopped there for awhile, and saw some new birds, including a female Blue-throated Goldentail, a nice-looking hummer.

Parque Nacional Braulio Carillo ~ 22 March ~ 33 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Short-billed Pigeon Columba nigrirostris
White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Violet-headed Hummingbird Klais guimeti
Violet-crowned Woodnymph Thalurania colombica
Blue-throated Goldentail Hylocharis eliciae
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum 
Yellow-eared Toucanet Selenidera spectabilis 
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani 
Cinnamon Woodpecker Celeus loricatus
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus
Russet Antshrike Thamnistes anabatinus
Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul 
White-ruffed Manakin Corapipo altera
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Stripe-breasted Wren Thryothorus thoracicus 
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
White-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucosticta 
Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus mexicanus 
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus
Green Shrike-Vireo Vireolanius pulchellus
Buff-rumped Warbler Basileuterus fulvicauda 
Olive Tanager Chlorothraupis carmioli
Tawny-crested Tanager Tachyphonus delatrii
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Tawny-capped Euphonia Euphonia anneae
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris 
Black-faced Grosbeak Caryothraustes poliogaster
Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus uropygialis

H) - HORQUETAS (en route to La Selva) - 22 March

After lunch we continued on to the access road to La Selva, a famous preserve and research facility. En route we stopped a couple of times when enticing birds appeared. I particularly enjoyed the Laughing Falcon, and the Gray-breasted Martin. Here is our "enroute" list.

Horquetas, enroute to La Selva from Braulio Carillo ~ 22 March ~ 9 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina
Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus

I) - ACCESS ROAD TO LA SELVA - 22 March

And then, La Selva. Well, not quite. The entrance costs are very high, so we contented ourselves with birding along the 500 meters of road that leads to La Selva's entrance gate, and we had more than sixty species, including some "wow" birds, such as Chestnut-mandibled and Keel-billed Toucans, Red-lored and Mealy Parrots, Montezuma's Oropendolas, and many more. My life-list grew by the minute, and I did not for one minute regret canceling classes for the day. There was intermittent drizzle and rain, though it was a warm rain, and despite the overcast conditions, Turkey Vultures had decided it was a good day to migrate, and we saw kettles of more than 2000 birds moving north, with smaller hawks mixed in, such as Swainson's and Broad-winged. An impressive sight. There were other north-bound migrants as well, including Barn Swallows, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and Eastern Kingbirds. It's a long way to Canada.

There was a Birdquest tour group there (from England), and as Richard had planned their itinerary and booked their accommodations, we joined them for a spell, and benefitted from their leader's tape recorder, when he brought the scarce Nicaraguan (Large-billed) Seed-Finch into view. As a point of interest, this was the only species on my entire trip list that I added due to a tape being played (and pishing was so useless as to be not worth the bother). I prefer it that way. A level playing field, as it were.

Nearly all the birds encountered here were seen, but among those that remained heard-only were the White-breasted Crake and the Yellow-tailed Oriole, the latter species now very rare due to capture for the bird-trade.

We drove back over the mountains through fog, mist, and rain, a very Nova Scotia feeling, until we crossed the continental divide, and descended into the drier Pacific slope. The streets of San Jose were dry. It takes a while to get used to the weather here. Here is our list for the La Selva road; it was an amazing 3.5 hours of birding.

Access road to La Selva entrance gate ~ 22 March ~ 67 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui 
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Mississippi Kite Ictinia mississippiensis
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
Swainson's Hawk Buteo swainsoni
Gray-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps
White-throated Crake Laterallus albigularis 
Pale-vented Pigeon Columba cayennensis
Olive-throated Parakeet Aratinga nana
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis
Brown-hooded Parrot Pionopsitta haematotis
White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis
Red-lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis
Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Chestnut-collared Swift Streptoprocne rutila
Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi
Green-breasted Mango Anthracothorax prevostii
Black-crested Coquette Lophornis helenae
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
Slaty Spinetail Synallaxis brachyura
Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans 
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Snowy Cotinga Carpodectes nitidus
Yellow Tyrannulet Capsiempis flaveola
Paltry Tyrannulet Zimmerius vilissimus
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Gray-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus
White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
Crimson-collared Tanager Ramphocelus sanguinolentus
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Yellow-crowned Euphonia Euphonia luteicapilla
Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi
Plain-colored Tanager Tangara inornata
Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus
Nicaraguan Seed-Finch Oryzoborus nuttingi
Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides
Yellow-tailed Oriole Icterus mesomelas 
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula
Black-cowled Oriole Icterus dominicensis
Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycercus holosericeus
Montezuma Oropendola Gymnostinops montezuma

J) - RESERVA FORESTAL EL RODEO, in the Cerros De Escazu, above Santa Ana

27 March

I was picked up at 0530 by a very tired Dennis Rogers, who had had a poor night's sleep, but was still game to do a bit of morning birding. We went to the Le Rodeo Forest Reserve, a mountain south of San José, past the town of Santa Ana. It was a drier forest, more like the forests of the NW in Guanacaste Province. We spent nearly three hours in the area, and there were wonderful vistas, and some birds of note, including Blue-crowned Motmot and Melodious Blackbird, the latter species only recently colonising Costa Rica. The mountain has spiritual significance, and is the site of the University of Peace. We met the German-born "chancellor" of the University as he was walking the roadsides near his home, dressed in his blue pajamas, and wearing wooden slippers. He was carrying a smelly bucket of cow manure soup, and a ladle, and was fertilizing numerous planted bushes and shrubs along the road. He stopped and explained the spiritual importance of the mountain, how the University came to be established, and many other details which I thought interesting, but which were putting Dennis to sleep, not a difficult feat, as he had had only 4 hours of sleep in the previous two days.

The birding was a bit slow, but I enjoyed repeated looks at Rufous-capped Warbler, and a nice Black-headed Trogon. Unfortunately, the Long-tailed Manakins did not show themselves, remaining heard-only. The Canivet's Emerald is a recent split (formerly Fork-tailed Emerald), and wasn't much to look at in either case, but the Yellow-throated Euphonia was attractive. The Plain Wren and Rufous-and-white Wren went unseen, but I'd have a chance for them again in Playa Flamingo. There were two calling Swainson's Thrushes, and we saw them as well, and I encouraged them to hurry up and head northeast to Nova Scotia.

El Rodeo Forest Preserve, near Santa Ana ~ March 27 ~ 43 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Inca Dove Columbina inca
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia
Canivet's Emerald Chlorostilbon canivetii
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Long-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia linearis
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Empidonax flaviventris
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
Rufous-naped Wren Campylorhynchus rufinucha
Rufous-and-white Wren Thryothorus rufalbus
Plain Wren Thryothorus modestus
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio
Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla
Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
Western Tanager Piranga ludoviciana
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Yellow-throated Euphonia Euphonia hirundinacea
Melodious Blackbird Dives dives
Montezuma Oropendola Gymnostinops montezuma

K) - MONTEVERDE - 1-8 April 2001

The road to Monteverde is said to be memorably bad; unpaved, dusty or muddy, winding, pot-holed. And it did turn out to be mildly entertaining, but to one used to the frost-heaved pavements of Nova Scotia, it was not a challenge.

Monteverde is roughly at 5000 feet, with the famous Monteverde Preserve somewhat higher, and the Santa Elena reserve higher still. The roads are unpaved and dusty, and run up or down, rarely on the level. The entire population lives off dairy products or eco-tourism.

One final Monteverde introductory note -- in my readings from earlier trip reports I did not recall the observers bemoaning the weather. However, weather, particularly the frequent strong winds, must be taken into account, as birding is negatively affected. Only my first day was relatively calm, and for the remainder of my time in Monteverde, the wind blew at 60 to 100 kph, with some gusts higher. The higher elevations were usually cloaked in cloud, and rain began on the final two days.

K1) - Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve
K2) - Finca Ecológica, Monteverde
K3) - road to San Luis, Monteverde
K4) - Monteverde Sky Walk
K5) - Santa Elena Forest Preserve
K6) - Cerro Plano

K1) - Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve

April Fools Day, starting with a longer than expected wait for the bus to the Monteverde Preserve. At the preserve I took a morning hike as part of a group. Indeed, one of many groups. This is a popular preserve, with tourists as far as the eye could see, in the area around the entrance parking lot, at any rate. Our group of 12 was led by Toby, one of three permanent staff guides at the preserve -- the rest are all free-lance. Given the wide range of interests, ages, and abilities our the members of our group, Toby did a remarkable job, introducing us to the complexities of primary cloud forest. With the thick vegetation the birds were predictably hard to see, but we did see three different pairs of Resplendent Quetzals, and these birds are alone worth the price of admission. Resplendent indeed, and hanging on here only through the intervention of nesting boxes. One bird that unfortunately went unseen that day was the Three-wattled Bellbird, with an amazing territorial call, best described as an astonishingly loud "bonk!"

After the tour, I spent some time at the Hummingbird Gallery just outside the preserve entrance, watching the antics of various species, including the Magenta-throated Woodstar, and the Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, both new for me. It's difficult to tire of watching the hummers at the feeders, but I elected to take the bus back to town, and it left the preserve at 1200.

During the rest of my week in Monteverde, the wind never stopped, blowing from 60 to 100 kph the entire time. This made birding very difficult. I visited the Monteverde Reserve two more times, once on a night hike, and once in the afternoon, without a guide.

The night hike went from 1930 to 2130, and it was quite beautiful, as the moon, two-thirds full, filtered through the various layers of the forest's canopy. And the thick vegetation sheltered us from the wind, which was still blowing a gale. Unfortunately, the bright moon caused some of the hoped-for mammals to hide for the night, and the wind's noise muffled any owl hoots we might have heard. But there were Rain-Frogs and Cloud-forest Anoles, Tarantulas and Wolf Spiders, crickets and fireflies, grasshoppers and cockroaches. Great fun, at least for those not squeamish (as the forest rang out with the lilting cry "Oh, gross.")

One aspect of this night hike was discouraging. Our guide informed us that since 1985, fully half of the reserve's forty species of frogs and toads have disappeared, including one that was endemic to the reserve, the Golden Toad. Of the twenty that remain, all but one are Rain-Frogs, which lay eggs from which hatch fully formed little froglets, instead of tadpoles. Those species that disappeared, both toads and frogs, had eggs that hatched into tadpoles, which require water for that stage of their life. The reasons for the disappearances are still unknown, although global warming, pollution, and increased UV radiation are all suspected.

K2) - Finca Ecológica, Monteverde

I visited the nearby Ecological Farm both in the morning and the evening. This is an area of lower elevation forest growing back from earlier pastures. There were many fewer people than in the Monteverde Preserve, as it is not as well-known. As it is lower in elevation, it holds a different array of plants and animals. The "farm" has an excellent system of trails, and they were easy to navigate. I hiked a total of 8 km, but avoided the steepest trail, that led down to a series of waterfalls. In no small part because of the wind, birding was rather difficult, and as ever it was easier to hear the birds than see them. But when I did manage a sighting, and, better yet, an identification, I felt a nice sense of ownership.

There were a couple of highlights, my favourite being watching a group of Long-tailed Manakins perform their mating displays at a communal lek. Several males would gather, and undertake a series of hops and short fluttering flights, interspersed with singing an alluring whistled song, always in a duet. Females will only respond to a full song, and it must be a duet, with one male singing the first half, and the other the second. A single male at a lek has no chance of romance.

At another spot a tiny spring bubbled its way across the trail, and the water encouraged a thick growth of an aquatic plant. From beneath this undergrowth I could hear some "peeping," which certainly sounded bird-like. With patience, and occasional glances between the thick green leaves, I eventually spotted several very small Black-breasted Wood-Quail, which soon vanished up slope in the remnants of a banana plantation.

I wasted quite a bit of time attempting to photograph the stunning Morpho Butterfly, whose upperwings flash with an incredible neon blue colour while in flight. It's flight is so unpredictable that a photo was impossible, but when it alighted somewhere, it immediately closed its wings, leaving only its underwings in view, which are not colourful at all, resembling instead a dead leaf. This makes sense for the butterfly's self-preservation, but it is not very helpful to photographers. Every few minutes or so the butterfly would briefly open its wings, as if stretching, but I was never ready with my camera when this happened. After several missed opportunities, I wandered on.

I eventually returned to the entrance, and chatted some more with the son's owner. I donated my hummingbird feeder to the reserve, as they were in sore need of more feeders, which are difficult to obtain in Costa Rica. He suggested I should return some late afternoon, as the birding can again be quite good. It was quite good even then, as he had thrown out some cooked rice, which had attracted two Gray-breasted Wood-Rails, very interesting birds, like large Sora Rails, and they had a good feast, until chased away by a couple of aggressive Agoutis.

K3) - Road to San Luis, Monteverde

One morning I rose early to catch a ride with Emiliano to the Cheese Factory, where he works, as I wished to bird the nearby road to San Luis in the early morning.

The wind gods then revealed they were not through having fun, for the power was out. This didn't affect breakfast, however, as the stove was propane. We left at 0540, and I was birding in the gale-force winds by 0600. I spent the better part of 90 minutes in a sheltered stretch of road, trying in vain to see all the species I was hearing, although I did manage a few sightings, including very close looks at the massive, and impressive, Keel-billed Toucan.

K4) - Monteverde Sky Walk

On a different afternoon I had arranged to go out with Sergio Vega Marín, the President of the Monteverde Guides Association. We decided to go on the Sky Walk, a trail in a part of the greater Monteverde Cloud Forest that contained seven aerial walkways, some more than 300 meters long, and suspended as high as 54 meters above the ground. Sergio was most knowledgeable with all aspects of the area's natural history, and he is very widely travelled in the Americas, as both his parents were research biologists. I unhesitatingly recommend him as guide in Monteverde.

For those of with acrophobia, the Sky Walk was well-designed, and I negotiated all the walkways without difficulty, my heart beating at only twice its normal rate. I once or twice even looked down, but that novelty quickly faded, as are my memories of this terrifying event.

K5) - Santa Elena Forest Preserve

On my final full day in Monteverde, the wind slackened off just a tad, but the clouds rolled in more than usual downslope. Earlier in the week my friend Dorothy had gone to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Preserve, and had had a great day, including views of the Arenal Volcano as it erupted, just 14 km distant. She suggested we go and repeat the experience. As we rose up towards Santa Elena, the highest land in the area, the sun disappeared, the clouds grew thicker, and a heavy mist descended. We walked the trail that circles the preserve, and we would have enjoyed wonderful vistas had the clouds not obscured everything. The mist collected on the leaves, and dripped incessantly, and true rain descended at times as well. As we hiked, the trail grew muddier and muddier. Few birds were seen, although more were heard. It was particularly frustrating to twice encounter feeding flocks, but fail to identify many of the birds because of the mist and poor visibility.

K6) - Cerro Plano

My home stay family lived in Cerro Plano, just a 10 minute walk from the CPI campus. It was a birdy enough place in its own right, with some species that I did not see elsewhere in the Monteverde area.

Monteverde ~ 01-08 April 2001 ~ 104 Species

My list from Monteverde is very modest indeed. If a person spent a week here birding with a guide, and with better weather, twice as many species might be expected.

K1) - Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve
K2) - Finca Ecológica, Monteverde
K3) - Road to San Luis, Monteverde
K4) - Monteverde Sky Walk
K5) - Santa Elena Forest Preserve
K6) - Cerro Plano
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus X X - - - X
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura - X X - - X
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus - X - X - X
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus - - - - - X
Collared Forest-Falcon Micrastur semitorquatus  X - - - - -
Black Guan Chamaepetes unicolor X - - X X -
Black-breasted Wood-Quail Odontophorus leucolaemus - X - - - -
Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea - X - - - -
Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata - - - X - -
Red-billed Pigeon Columba flavirostris - - X - - X
Ruddy Pigeon Columba subvinacea X - - X - -
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi - X - - - -
Chiriqui Quail-Dove Geotrygon chiriquensis - X - - - -
Brown-hooded Parrot Pionopsitta haematotis - X - - - -
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana - - X - - -
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris - - - - - X
Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi - - - - - X
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy X - - X X -
Green-fronted Lancebill Doryfera ludovicae - - - X - -
Violet Sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus X - - X X -
Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus X - - - - -
Coppery-headed Emerald Elvira cupreiceps X - - - X -
Stripe-tailed Hummingbird Eupherusa eximia X - - X - -
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl X - - - - -
Steely-vented Hummingbird Saucerottia saucerrottei - X - - - -
Purple-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis calolaema X - - X X -
Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula X - - X X -
Magenta-throated Woodstar Calliphlox bryantae X - - - - -
Orange-bellied Trogon Trogon aurantiiventris X - - X X -
Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno X - - X X -
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota X - - - - X
Prong-billed Barbet Semnornis frantzii X - - - - -
Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus - X X - - X
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus - X X - - -
Hoffmann's Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii - X X - - X
Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus - - X - - -
Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens - - - - X -
Ruddy Treerunner Margarornis rubiginosus - - - X - -
Lineated Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla subalaris  X - - - - -
Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius - - - X X -
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii - X - - - -
Brown-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus pusillus  X - - - - -
Silvery-fronted Tapaculo Scytalopus argentifrons - - - X - -
Three-wattled Bellbird Procnias tricarunculata X X - X X -
Long-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia linearis - X - - - -
Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii X - - - - -
Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus X - - X - -
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus X - - - - -
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens X - - - - -
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi - - - - - X
Yellowish Flycatcher Empidonax flavescens - - - - X -
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus - - - X - -
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer - - - - - X
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus - - X - - X
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis - - X - - X
Golden-bellied Flycatcher Myiodynastes hemichrysus  - - - X - -
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher Myiodynastes luteiventris - X - - - -
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus - - X - - -
Barred Becard Pachyramphus versicolor  - - - X - -
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata - X X - - -
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca - - X - - X
Rufous-breasted Wren Thryothorus rutilus - X - - - -
Rufous-and-white Wren Thryothorus rufalbus - X X - - X
Plain Wren Thryothorus modestus  - - X - - -
House Wren Troglodytes aedon - - X - - X
White-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucosticta - X - - - -
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys X - - X X -
Black-faced Solitaire Myadestes melanops  X - - X - -
Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus fuscater  X - - X X -
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush Catharus frantzii  - - - - X -
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus - - - - - X
Mountain Robin Turdus plebejus X - - X X -
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi - X X - - X
White-throated Thrush Turdus assimilis  X - - X - -
Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio X X X - - X
Azure-hooded Jay Cyanolyca cucullata X - - X - -
Rufous-browed Peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis  - X - - - -
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina - X - - - X
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica - X - - - X
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens - X - - - X
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia - X X - - X
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapillus - X - - - -
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla - X X - - -
Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis - - X - - -
Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus X - X - - -
Collared Redstart Myioborus torquatus X - - X X -
Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus - X - - - -
Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons - X - - - -
Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus X - - - X -
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola - - - X - -
Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus X - - X - -
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus X - - - - -
Yellow-throated Euphonia Euphonia hirundinacea X - - - - -
Golden-browed Chlorophonia Chlorophonia callophrys X - - X - -
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala X - - X - -
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea - - X - - -
White-naped Brush-Finch Atlapetes albinucha - - X - - -
White-eared Ground-Sparrow Melozone leucotis - X - - - -
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis - - X - - X
Black-thighed Grosbeak Pheucticus tibialis - - - X - -
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus - X X - - -
Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus - - X - - X
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula - - - - - X
Montezuma Oropendola Gymnostinops montezuma - - - - - X
Species totals by Monteverde Location =  39 34 26 32 18 29

COSTA RICA BIG DAY - 10 APRIL

L) - CARARA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE

I was invited to participate in a Costa Rica Big Day by Dennis Rogers and Jim Zook. Perhaps "participate" is too strong a word; I was simply an observer, a remora in search of life birds, picking up the scraps left behind by the Big Day sharks. But what scraps they were! It was a fun day. The driver was Joe, a friend of Dennis's, and was also a NPC (= non-participating companion).

We arose at 0100, picked up Jim, and headed off to the dawn starting point. En route we stopped at a the town square in Ortino, where a roosting Black-and-white Owl was seen in the beams of the flashlights, as well as a Two-toed Sloth with a baby.

En route we went through three police checkpoints, but they let us pass each time without a bribe.

The birdathon started in earnest at 0500h, at Carara National Park, a lowland rain forest. As I've mentioned before, Dennis certainly knows his Costa Rica birds, but Jim was amazing, his ears picking up notes, noises, songs, and burps from a great distance, and he was usually able to put a name to them. They had encountered 200 species by 0800h, a most impressive start to the day. I saw and heard only a small portion of these, of course, but they included Scarlet Macaws, Boat-billed Herons, Violaceous Trogons, White-throated Puffbirds, Roadside Hawks, Mangrove Swallows -- and many crocodiles. It was fun.

Here is my personal list from Carara, merely a fraction of the Big Day list.

Carara ~ 10 April ~ 94 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Great Tinamou Tinamus major
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
Great Egret Ardea alba
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Green Heron Butorides virescens
Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma mexicanum
Wood Stork Mycteria americana
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Collared Forest-Falcon Micrastur semitorquatus
Purple Gallinule Porphyrula martinica
Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa
Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus
Collared Plover Charadrius collaris
Short-billed Pigeon Columba nigrirostris
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti
Blue Ground-Dove Claravis pretiosa
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Gray-chested Dove Leptotila cassini
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao
White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis
Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa
Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia
Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
Band-rumped Swift Chaetura spinicauda
Western Long-tailed Hermit Phaethornis longirostris
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird Phaeochroa cuvierii
Green-breasted Mango Anthracothorax prevostii
Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti
Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus
Baird's Trogon Trogon bairdii
Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum
Turquoise-browed Motmot Eumomota superciliosa
White-necked Puffbird Notharchus macrorhynchos
White-whiskered Puffbird Malacoptila panamensis
Fiery-billed Aracari Pteroglossus frantzii
Golden-naped Woodpecker Melanerpes chrysauchen
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus
Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Black-hooded Antshrike Thamnophilus bridgesi
Dusky Antbird Cercomacra tyrannina
Bicolored Antbird Gymnopithys leucaspis
Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum
Greenish Elaenia Myiopagis viridicata
Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris
Northern Bentbill Oncostoma cinereigulare
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus
Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea
Rufous-naped Wren Campylorhynchus rufinucha
Black-bellied Wren Thryothorus fasciatoventris
Riverside Wren Thryothorus semibadius
Rufous-and-white Wren Thryothorus rufalbus
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
Long-billed Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus
Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus
Green Shrike-Vireo Vireolanius pulchellus
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapillus
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis
White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus
Cherrie's Tanager Ramphocelus costaricensis
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Yellow-crowned Euphonia Euphonia luteicapilla
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
Shining Honeycreeper Cyanerpes lucidus
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris
Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus

M) - RIO TÁRCOLES ESTUARY

This well-known estuary is key to Big Day success, but it was not as productive as hoped for, as the tide was wrong, and they missed several key species. But I added many to my trip and Costa Rica lists.

Rio Tárcoles ~ 10 April ~ 26 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
White Ibis Eudocimus albus
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
Mangrove Black-Hawk Buteogallus subtilis
Gray Hawk Asturina nitida
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
Crested Caracara Caracara plancus
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Sanderling Calidris alba
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
Yellow-naped Parrot Amazona auropalliata
Panama Flycatcher Myiarchus panamensis
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Rose-throated Becard Pachyramphus aglaiae

N) - LA SELVA

As far as Dennis and Jim were concerned, the Big Day went downhill from there. The other sites on their itinerary, that included Virgin del Socorro, Varablanca, and La Selva, were very quiet and unproductive, and they blamed the weather, as an early afternoon rain seemed to put a damper on the bird life. My highlight during the marathon driving was a life King Vulture. La Selva was especially disappointing, and I made note of only the eight species new for me from that location. They were:

La Selva ~ 10 April ~ 8 new species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus
Blue-chested Hummingbird Polyerata amabilis
Rufous Motmot Baryphthengus martii
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum
Black-striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus
Rufous Mourner Rhytipterna holerythra
Black-bellied Wren Thryothorus fasciatoventris
White-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucosticta

However, they did finish the day with nearly 300 species, which I thought impressive (the record for the country is 308).

My own list for the day was much smaller. The birds were being called (and often seen) so quickly that I couldn't keep track, so I concentrated on the ones that were new for me (either lifers, or new for my trip list), or were otherwise quite impressive. I ignored "common" species that I had seen numerous times already. Even including these, my day's list would be at best two-thirds of their list. There are a lot of birds in this country. As Joe and I were not members of the team, we were not permitted to tell them of any different species that we saw. There were only two in this category, Western Sandpiper and White Hawk.

O) - OSA PENINSULA - Corcovado National Park & Marenco Nature Reserve

11 April

Joe was kind enough to drive me to downtown San Jose, to the National Theater, where I was to be picked up for my tour to Corcovado National Park. The 12 passenger mini-van was right on time, and it was full. Much gear was stored on top, with the rest squeezed in among the students.

The first part of the journey took 6.5 hours, much on slow winding roads over two sets of mountains (during a lunch stop high on the Cerro de la Muerte I added a life bird, the Streaked Xenops), then finally down to sea level to the dumpy little village of Sierpe, at the base of the Osa Peninsula. From here it was a two-hour boat trip to our lodge. But first, the boat. The one we were supposed to climb aboard was much too small for 15 people (12 students, one guide, and two crew) as well as our luggage. After all, the boat had to travel one hour along the river, then over breakers at the river's mouth, followed by an hour-long trip over the open ocean to the lodge.

And so, with remarkably quiet determination, I fomented a people's revolution, convincing the others to forego the proffered vessel, and await a more substantial transport. Our intransigence occasioned many cell-phone calls, but we eventually prevailed. We subsequently learned that the original boat had been arranged for a smaller group, one of eight - the school had over-booked the trip somewhat, as it had proved so popular.

The new boat was adequate (the life jackets less so), and we headed off. It was hot and muggy, but the speedy boat kicked up quite a breeze.

Our eventual landing space was a tiny strip of beach between some impressive volcanic rocks, but we all eventually waded ashore, and our luggage arrived dry and intact. Then we had a long 350 meter walk uphill to the lodge, the Punta Marenca, located beside the Marenca Biology Reserve, itself adjacent to Corcovado National Park.

The lodge was a fairly basic place. The rooms were large thatched huts, with Swiss Cheese screens, cold running water (or none at all), and occasional dim light courtesy of an indifferent generator. My computer was of no use this weekend. We twelve students were placed in three rooms; four men in mine, six women in another, with a separate room for the one couple.

The thick forest offered very good birding around the lodge, as it is located high up, with good views, and there were plenty of plantings on the lodge grounds that attracted birds.

We ate supper after the wonderful sunset, and then to bed. It was hot and humid, augmented by barking dogs, loud crickets, and a thunderstorm. I slept surprisingly well (my ear plugs and sleeping mask probably helped), although some of my roommates looked quite groggy the following morning at breakfast.

12 April

By 0730 we were on another boat, this time for a trip to Corcovado National Park, a 45 minute boat ride further along the coast. Once there, our guide, David, paid our entrance fee, and we hit the trails. I hiked solo for several kilometers along south along the coast from the Ranger station, and after a lunch near our landing spot, the group hiked up a small creek to a waterfall, where everyone enjoyed a fine swim in the large pools at the base of the falls. I saw my first Spider Monkeys. It remained very hot and humid. We were only at the edge of this impressive park, the largest in Costa Rica, and the largest patch of virgin lowland rainforest in the Americas. A few of the good birds included Boat-billed Heron, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Riverside Wren, Chestnut-backed Antbird, and Blue-back Grosbeak.

We returned to the lodge, enjoyed another fine sunset, and went to bed.

13 April

Friday the 13th. You could feel it in the air. Something was going to happen.

In the morning the rest of the group chose to hike to the mouth of the nearby Rio Claro, where the swimming was good, and some waves make for fine surfing. I opted instead for a one-person bird hike, and followed some somewhat vague directions for the "Giant Tree," accessible via several unmarked trails. Great scope for disaster, given the date.

I hiked slowly up a mostly-dry creek bed, beneath tremendous rain forest, surrounded by calls, and seeing the occasional bird as well. I had already learned to ignore the constant rustling of the leaves on the forest floor, as the movement was invariably caused by a colourful land crab, which I dubbed the Harlequin Crab, as they looked as if they were painted. They numbered in the thousands, and any noises not made by them were caused by small lizards, also very common. But while hiking up the creek, I left the crabs behind, and the lizards were fewer, so when I heard more noise from the underbrush I checked it out. Leaves were flying everywhere, flung with wild abandon. It took a while to view the pitcher, but I eventually saw a remarkable small bird, the Scaly-throated Leaf-tosser, which truly lives up to its name. A whirlwind of leaves, as he searched for insects.

Then came my "nature moment" of the trip. I had paused again, when I heard more noise from the undergrowth, and this time three White-faced Capuchins (Monkeys) came cautiously into view, looking around constantly for danger. They took note of me, and decided I was no threat, and then all three proceeded to lie down on their stomachs in small pools in the creek, catching a break from the heat and humidity. One was no more than four feet from me. I watched, without moving, for 10 minutes or more, until they finally decided to leave. One passed by within touching distance, but I refrained. They have formidable teeth.

My good luck continued, as I was able to find the Giant Tree, and then continued on in search of the woodland trail to the Rio Claro (the others had taken the coastal trail). While exploring I found more birds, including a lek (dancing ground) of Blue-crowned Manakins, and later a lek of Orange-collared Manakins. Then, alerted by strange little call notes, I found a singing lek of Western Long-tailed Hermits. Three leks in one morning. Friday the 13th? For me, nothing but good lek.
 

Directions to the "Giant Tree": Hike for several hundred meters up the creek that flows through the valley to the south of the restaurant, until the creek becomes thoroughly blocked with deadfall. Before that point is reached, you'll see a different prominent trail leading uphill to the right, but as the creek will still be navigable on foot (at least in the dry season), keep along the creek. Once you reach the spot where the deadfall is too intimidating to continue, you should see a discernible track leading up the south (righthand) slope, and the Giant Tree will eventually be visible to the right as you climb. I continued further on past the tree as well, trusting the track would lead "somewhere," and it did, eventually meeting with a more prominent trail, that, when followed to the right, eventually led downhill back to the ocean. However, there are many trails in the area, and I advise against casual exploration without first discussing the routes with the lodge owners, and without having a good sense of geography and direction. Going to and from the "Giant Tree" is certainly fairly straightforward, and very birdy. In addition to the birds already mentioned, I enjoyed Black-hooded Antshrike, Collared Forest-Falcon, Buff-rumped Warbler, and Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher.

I arrived at the mouth of the Rio Claro just as the rest of the group was leaving. Our guide, David, had taken a tumble while surfing, and had broken a tooth on his surfboard, so he will go on believing in the Friday the 13th superstition.

As we all walked back to the lodge, the crabs rustled all about us. Then, suddenly, a lizard shot across the path in front of me, followed closely behind by a speedy brownish green snake. Everybody, including the snake, stopped. The serpent struck a menacing pose, and we debated the proper course of action, not knowing if this was a venomous snake, but taking no chances. I advised immobility and patience, and this seemed to work, as after several minutes the snake quickly slipped away from the trail. The good lek continues. Back at the lodge we consulted available references, and at least assured ourselves it was not one of the dangerous snakes, such as a fer de lance. But there are more than 120 species of snake in the country, and not all were illustrated in the book. Our best guess was a Green Racer. It certainly got the adrenalin racing.

In light of the snake incident, I thought it prudent to simply head back into the rain forest after lunch, where I enjoyed many more bird moments, as well as views of a Three-toed Sloth.

14 April

This was a transportation day. Take the luggage back down the hill, load the boat, bounce along for two hours back to Sierpe, and board the minibus for the 6.5 hour drive back to San Jose. Thus it was that the four-day trip to Corcovado consisted of two days of travel, and only two days in or near the park. Still, for the birds I saw, this was worth it, especially this last morning, when several pairs of Scarlet Macaws preened and posed in front of the lodge. Incredible birds, and this is their last remaining stronghold on the planet, as young macaws are worth $7000 each on the black market. A Violaceous Trogon put on a great show, as did two pairs of Cherrie's Tanagers, nesting right outside the restaurant/bar.

Here is my list of birds for the Osa Peninsula. In the end there were not too many heard-only birds, but of course the list would have been much higher had there been a good guide along. By the time I left this area my Costa Rica trip list was approaching 400 species, and I hoped that Guanacaste would put me over the top.

Osa Peninsula ~ 11-14 April ~ 81 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Great Tinamou Tinamus major
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius
White Ibis Eudocimus albus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
White Hawk Leucopternis albicollis
Mangrove Black-Hawk Buteogallus subtilis
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima
Collared Forest-Falcon Micrastur semitorquatus
Great Curassow Crax rubra 
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
Short-billed Pigeon Columba nigrirostris
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis
Red-lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis
Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
Band-rumped Swift Chaetura spinicauda
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis
Bronzy Hermit Glaucis aenea
Western Long-tailed Hermit Phaethornis longirostris
Stripe-throated Hermit Phaethornis striigularis
Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti
Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus
Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena 
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea
Fiery-billed Aracari Pteroglossus frantzii
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii
Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus
Rufous-winged Woodpecker Piculus simplex
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus
Scaly-throated Leaftosser Sclerurus guatemalensis
Long-tailed Woodcreeper Deconychura longicauda
Black-hooded Antshrike Thamnophilus bridgesi
Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul
Rufous Piha Lipaugus unirufus 
Orange-collared Manakin Manacus aurantiacus
Blue-crowned Manakin Pipra coronata
Slate-headed Tody-Tyrant Poecilotriccus sylvia
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher Myiobius sulphureipygius
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Riverside Wren Thryothorus semibadius
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus
Tawny-crowned Greenlet Hylophilus ochraceiceps
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica
Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia
Buff-rumped Warbler Basileuterus fulvicauda
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager Habia atrimaxillaris
Cherrie's Tanager Ramphocelus costaricensis
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola
Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
Shining Honeycreeper Cyanerpes lucidus
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus
Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides

P) - GUANACASTE - BAHÍA POTRERO - 15-21 April

15 April

Much of this day was taken up with the trip to Guanacaste Province, destination Bahía Portrero (Portrero Bay), the location of the third campus of CPI. Guanacaste Province is in NW Costa Rica, bordered to the west by the Pacific, and to the north by Nicaragua. There is a lot of coastline, with an increasing amount being developed for tourism. Bahía Portrero is one such place. It is a half-moon shaped bay, with roughly 10 km of coastline. At the southern end is Playa Flamingo (Flamingo Beach), the upscale resort area of the bay. While the beach is pleasant, the primary lure is deep-sea fishing for "bill fish," meaning sailfish, swordfish, and marlin. All the fishing is catch-and-release, and charters are very expensive, so adjacent tourism services lean to the pricier side as well.

The paved road leading into Bahía Portrero comes in at the Playa Flamingo end. From there a rough gravel road leads part-way (4 km) around the circumference of the bay to the village of Portrero, where the locals live; they work in the nearby tourism industry, or on farms. And because this is where the Costa Ricans live, this is also where the CPI students stay with their host families. For most students it is somewhat of a shock after the home-stays of Monteverde or Heredia, as the living situation in Portrero is much more basic. And there are no air conditioners in any of the homes, despite daily highs that frequently top 40 degrees. In light of this I had decided to forego the local experience, and had opted instead for an air-conditioned room at a small hotel called the Bahía Esmerelda, right in the "heart" of Portrero, but away from the beach. A small, clean, air-conditioned room was only $23 U.S. a night. It was a wise investment.

I had also decided to play hooky from my classes for that week, deciding that my already limited powers of concentration would be further diminished by the climate, as well as having had no classes the previous week (Easter Week vacation, Semana Santa). This was also an inspired choice, as the little gray cells were clearly not up to the task. Instead, my time quickly devolved to a rough routine; an early rise at 0430h, hiking and birding until the heat became oppressive (0900h), and reading and relaxing the rest of the day.

For this final week of my journal, I am not delving into my experiences on a day-to-day basis, as the heat has made it difficult to link a particular event with a particular day. And so. . .

April 16 - 21 --- Highlights and Notes

NOTE #1 - The only bank machine in the area was apparently exhausted after the Easter Week activities, and refused to honour anyone's bank cards all week. So, as only a couple of the most expensive restaurants and stores accepted credit cards, it was necessary to husband my remaining cash carefully, while still leaving enough for one desired school excursion, a sunset cruise.

Meals in the restaurant attached to my little hotel were a bit pricey, and they didn't accept plastic. And as I was the only guest in the hotel during most of the week, it would only open up upon prior arrangement. In any case, it wasn't open at 0430 when I headed out for my morning excursions. Therefore, I first ventured into the only "grocery" store in Portrero, called "Super Ceimy" or "Super Ciemy," depending which of the two exterior signs was correct. I purchased a long loaf of Bimbo Bread, some marmalade, a jar of peanut butter, a few bananas, and the only container of unsweetened fruit juice in stock. Breakfasts were now in hand, as were sandwiches for hiking, although a certain monotony crept in as the week progressed. Most suppers were taken at the Las Brisas Bar in Portrero.

NOTE #2 - I explored the area between Portrero and Playa Flamingo, but my favourite hike was along the coast NE of Portrero. There were a series of beaches, separated by headlands; some of the headlands could be walked around at low tide, while a road or trail was needed to get over others. To start this hike, a road extended from Portrero for more than two kilometres to Playa Azucar (Sugar Beach), which had a fine small resort. I walked this far on two occasions, and the second time ventured further along, following the (now rougher) road over the next headland to another fine beach. At the far end of this beach a still rougher track led up and up and up, to the summit of the highest headland yet, where I obtained a fine view of the coastline north of Bahía Portrero, a coastline still untouched by tourism interests, although there were several remote fincas (farms). Birds were reasonably numerous, and, due to the absence of leaves, were easier to spot than they might have been. Some favourite sightings include White-bellied Chachalaca, Elegant Trogan, Pale-billed Woodpecker, and White-throated Magpie-Jay.

NOTE #3 - Going between Portrero and the CPI school in Playa Flamingo involved a 4.5 km walk on the dusty road, or a slightly shorter stroll along the beach, in the full sun. After 0900 in the morning neither option was especially attractive, but there were few alternatives. The school's van made a run from Portrero to the school at 0730, with return trips at 1400 and 1700. There was also a "regularly scheduled" bus service a few times a day, but if the driver had no passengers going to Portrero (the last stop on his run), he frequently chose to not bother with the bumpy 4 km drive, as he usually did not have passengers that wanted to be picked up. After twice waiting for a bus that never came, I gave up on this theoretical mode of transport, and walked or hitchhiked. I only did the High Noon beach walk once, a grilling affair, but there were Brown Pelicans to watch, and many Magnificent Frigatebirds soaring overhead. It was wise, however, to look downward occasionally, as I found a dead puffer fish, fully bloated in death, rolling on the edge of the surf. With all its poisonous spines extended and ready for action, it would have been unfortunate to step on with bare feet.

NOTE #4 - Roughly one kilometre from Portrero, along the road to Playa Flamingo, one crosses a single lane bridge. To the east there was a nearly dry brook, flowing west under the bridge, and there was a fairly good, albeit disturbed, forest cover. To the west, the creek quickly widened and flowed into a mangrove estuary. Part of this estuary was accessible by hopping the fence and peering along the water course. Another larger section of the mangrove was accessible by taking the first road leading west just south of the bridge, turning right at the road terminus, and walking straight on to the mangrove. My best sightings here were of a Plain-capped Starthroat lek, and two different Bare-throated Tiger-Herons.

NOTE #5 - The vegetation in and immediately adjacent to Portrero was more lush than further afield, and birds were particularly drawn to several fruiting Mango trees. Parakeets and Parrots were especially enthusiastic, and put on a fine show.

NOTE #6 - While at Flamingo I did not neglect my need to reconfirm my homeward flight details, and arrange for transport back to San Jose, and accommodation for the night before my flight. This was handled by the CPI school staff, all part of the service.

NOTE #7 - The Sunset Cruise was most enjoyable. The ship left at 1430, and sailed out of Bahía Portrero, and went north a little way along the coastline. We were joined briefly by a family group of Gray-spotted Dolphins, entertaining us with lots of leaps and splashes. A Manta Ray also breached alongside. We weighed anchor in a sheltered cove, and did some great snorkeling, along rocky reefs filled with fish virant with colours. And there were a few birds as well, including a close approach to a frigatebird colony, and a nice fly-past of a group of Brown Boobies. The evening ended splendidly with a superb light show, courtesy of an extensive line of thunderstorms lining the horizon to the south. Several of us sat on chairs on the beach in front of the Las Brisas bar, sipping cold Bavarian beer, enjoying the spectacle.

Guanacaste (Bahía Potrero) - 15-21 April ~ 90 species
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
Great Egret Ardea alba
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Green Heron Butorides virescens
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma mexicanum
Wood Stork Mycteria americana
White Ibis Eudocimus albus
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Hook-billed Kite Chondrohierax uncinatus
Mangrove Black-Hawk Buteogallus subtilis
Gray Hawk Asturina nitida
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
Crested Caracara Caracara plancus
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
White-bellied Chachalaca Ortalis leucogastra
American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus
Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
Royal Tern Sterna maxima
Red-billed Pigeon Columba flavirostris
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica
Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina
Plain-breasted Ground-Dove Columbina minuta
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti
Inca Dove Columbina inca
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Crimson-fronted Parakeet Aratinga finschi
Orange-fronted Parakeet Aratinga canicularis
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis
White-fronted Parrot Amazona albifrons
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium brasilianum
Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi
Canivet's Emerald Chlorostilbon canivetii
Cinnamon Hummingbird Amazilia rutila
Steely-vented Hummingbird Saucerottia saucerrottei
Plain-capped Starthroat Heliomaster constantii
Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus
Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans
Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
Turquoise-browed Motmot Eumomota superciliosa
Hoffmann's Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii
Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis
Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Nutting's Flycatcher Myiarchus nuttingi
Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Rufous-naped Wren Campylorhynchus rufinucha
Banded Wren Thryothorus pleurostictus
Rufous-and-white Wren Thryothorus rufalbus
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
White-lored Gnatcatcher Polioptila albiloris
Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea
White-throated Magpie-Jay Calocitta formosa
Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
Louisiana Waterthrush Seiurus motacilla
Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Stripe-headed Sparrow Aimophila ruficauda
Blue Grosbeak Guiraca caerulea
Melodious Blackbird Dives dives
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
Spot-breasted Oriole Icterus pectoralis
Streak-backed Oriole Icterus pustulatus
Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius

FULL COSTA RICA TRIP LIST ~ 12 MARCH - 24 APRIL ~ 412 species

Highlights:

LI = Lifer (236 species)
HO = Heard Only (23 species)
 
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME  LI  HO
Great Tinamou Tinamus major Y -
Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui - Y
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus - -
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis - -
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster - -
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus - -
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga - -
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens - -
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias - -
Great Egret Ardea alba - -
Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens - -
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor - -
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea - -
Snowy Egret Egretta thula - -
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis - -
Green Heron Butorides virescens - -
Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius Y -
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma mexicanum Y -
Fasciated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma fasciatum Y -
Wood Stork Mycteria americana - -
White Ibis Eudocimus albus - -
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus - -
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura - -
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa Y -
Osprey Pandion haliaetus - -
Hook-billed Kite Chondrohierax uncinatus - -
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus - -
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus - -
Mississippi Kite Ictinia mississippiensis - -
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea Y -
White Hawk Leucopternis albicollis - -
Mangrove Black-Hawk Buteogallus subtilis Y -
Gray Hawk Asturina nitida - -
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris Y -
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus - -
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus - -
Swainson's Hawk Buteo swainsoni - -
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis - -
Crested Caracara Caracara plancus - -
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima - -
Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans Y -
Barred Forest-Falcon Micrastur ruficollis Y -
Collared Forest-Falcon Micrastur semitorquatus Y -
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis - -
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus - -
Gray-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps Y -
White-bellied Chachalaca Ortalis leucogastra Y -
Black Guan Chamaepetes unicolor Y -
Great Curassow Crax rubra Y Y
Black-breasted Wood-Quail Odontophorus leucolaemus Y -
White-throated Crake Laterallus albigularis Y Y
Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea - -
Purple Gallinule Porphyrula martinica - -
Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa - -
American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus - -
Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus Y -
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola - -
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus - -
Collared Plover Charadrius collaris Y -
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus - -
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia - -
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus - -
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres - -
Sanderling Calidris alba - -
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri - -
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla - -
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis - -
Royal Tern Sterna maxima - -
Rock Dove Columba livia - -
Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata - -
Pale-vented Pigeon Columba cayennensis - -
Red-billed Pigeon Columba flavirostris - -
Short-billed Pigeon Columba nigrirostris Y -
Ruddy Pigeon Columba subvinacea Y -
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura - -
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica - -
Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina - -
Plain-breasted Ground-Dove Columbina minuta Y -
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti - -
Inca Dove Columbina inca - -
Blue Ground-Dove Claravis pretiosa Y -
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi - -
Gray-chested Dove Leptotila cassini Y -
Chiriqui Quail-Dove Geotrygon chiriquensis Y -
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao Y -
Crimson-fronted Parakeet Aratinga finschi Y -
Olive-throated Parakeet Aratinga nana Y -
Orange-fronted Parakeet Aratinga canicularis Y -
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis Y -
Brown-hooded Parrot Pionopsitta haematotis Y -
White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis Y -
White-fronted Parrot Amazona albifrons - -
Red-lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis Y -
Yellow-naped Parrot Amazona auropalliata Y -
Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa Y -
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana - -
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani - -
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris - -
Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia - -
Black-and-white Owl Ciccaba nigrolineata Y -
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium brasilianum - -
Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus - -
Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis - -
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis - -
Black Swift Cypseloides niger - -
Chestnut-collared Swift Streptoprocne rutila Y -
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris - -
Band-rumped Swift Chaetura spinicauda - -
Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi - -
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis - -
Bronzy Hermit Glaucis aenea Y -
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy - -
Western Long-tailed Hermit Phaethornis longirostris Y -
Stripe-throated Hermit Phaethornis striigularis Y -
Green-fronted Lancebill Doryfera ludovicae Y -
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird Phaeochroa cuvierii Y -
Violet Sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus Y -
Brown Violet-ear Colibri delphinae Y -
Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus Y -
Green-breasted Mango Anthracothorax prevostii Y -
Violet-headed Hummingbird Klais guimeti Y -
Black-crested Coquette Lophornis helenae Y -
Green Thorntail Discosura conversii Y -
Canivet's Emerald Chlorostilbon canivetii Y -
Fiery-throated Hummingbird Panterpe insignis Y -
Coppery-headed Emerald Elvira cupreiceps Y -
Stripe-tailed Hummingbird Eupherusa eximia Y -
Violet-crowned Woodnymph Thalurania colombica Y -
Blue-throated Goldentail Hylocharis eliciae Y -
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl Y -
Cinnamon Hummingbird Amazilia rutila - -
Blue-chested Hummingbird Polyerata amabilis Y -
Steely-vented Hummingbird Saucerottia saucerrottei Y -
White-bellied Mountain-gem Lampornis hemileucus Y -
Purple-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis calolaema Y -
Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula Y -
Magnificent Hummingbird Eugenes fulgens - -
Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti Y -
Plain-capped Starthroat Heliomaster constantii Y -
Magenta-throated Woodstar Calliphlox bryantae Y -
Scintillant Hummingbird Selasphorus scintilla Y -
Volcano Hummingbird Selasphorus flammula Y -
Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus Y -
Baird's Trogon Trogon bairdii Y -
Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus - -
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris - -
Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans - -
Orange-bellied Trogon Trogon aurantiiventris Y -
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena Y -
Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno Y -
Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata - -
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona Y -
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana - -
American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea Y -
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota - -
Rufous Motmot Baryphthengus martii Y Y
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum Y Y
Turquoise-browed Motmot Eumomota superciliosa Y -
White-necked Puffbird Notharchus macrorhynchos Y -
White-whiskered Puffbird Malacoptila panamensis Y -
Prong-billed Barbet Semnornis frantzii Y -
Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus Y -
Fiery-billed Aracari Pteroglossus frantzii Y -
Yellow-eared Toucanet Selenidera spectabilis Y Y
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus Y -
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii Y -
Golden-naped Woodpecker Melanerpes chrysauchen Y -
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani Y Y
Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus - -
Hoffmann's Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii Y -
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus - -
Smoky-brown Woodpecker Veniliornis fumigatus Y -
Rufous-winged Woodpecker Piculus simplex Y -
Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus - -
Cinnamon Woodpecker Celeus loricatus Y -
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus - -
Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis Y -
Slaty Spinetail Synallaxis brachyura Y -
Red-faced Spinetail Cranioleuca erythrops Y -
Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens Y -
Ruddy Treerunner Margarornis rubiginosus Y -
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus Y -
Streaked Xenops Xenops rutilans Y -
Lineated Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla subalaris Y Y
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus Y -
Scaly-throated Leaftosser Sclerurus guatemalensis Y -
Long-tailed Woodcreeper Deconychura longicauda Y -
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus - -
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus Y -
Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus susurrans Y -
Black-striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus Y -
Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius Y -
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii Y -
Brown-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus pusillus Y Y
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus - -
Black-hooded Antshrike Thamnophilus bridgesi Y -
Russet Antshrike Thamnistes anabatinus Y -
Slaty Antwren Myrmotherula schisticolor Y -
Dusky Antbird Cercomacra tyrannina Y -
Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul Y -
Bicolored Antbird Gymnopithys leucaspis Y -
Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis - -
Silvery-fronted Tapaculo Scytalopus argentifrons Y Y
Rufous Piha Lipaugus unirufus Y Y
Snowy Cotinga Carpodectes nitidus Y -
Three-wattled Bellbird Procnias tricarunculata Y -
Orange-collared Manakin Manacus aurantiacus Y -
White-ruffed Manakin Corapipo altera Y -
Long-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia linearis Y -
Blue-crowned Manakin Pipra coronata Y -
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum - -
Yellow Tyrannulet Capsiempis flaveola Y -
Greenish Elaenia Myiopagis viridicata Y -
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster - -
Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii Y -
Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea Y -
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus - -
Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus Y -
Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris - -
Paltry Tyrannulet Zimmerius vilissimus Y -
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus Y Y
Northern Bentbill Oncostoma cinereigulare Y -
Slate-headed Tody-Tyrant Poecilotriccus sylvia Y -
Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum nigriceps Y -
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum Y -
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens Y -
Yellow-margined Flycatcher Tolmomyias assimilis Y -
White-throated Spadebill Platyrinchus mystaceus Y -
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher Terenotriccus erythrurus Y -
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher Myiobius sulphureipygius Y -
Tufted Flycatcher Mitrephanes phaeocercus T -
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi - -
Dark Pewee Contopus lugubris T Y
Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus - -
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens - -
Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus - -
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Empidonax flaviventris - -
Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens - -
Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii - -
Yellowish Flycatcher Empidonax flavescens Y -
Black-capped Flycatcher Empidonax atriceps Y -
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans - -
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus - -
Rufous Mourner Rhytipterna holerythra Y -
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer - -
Panama Flycatcher Myiarchus panamensis Y -
Nutting's Flycatcher Myiarchus nuttingi Y -
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus - -
Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus - -
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus - -
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua - -
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis - -
Gray-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis Y -
White-ringed Flycatcher Conopias albovittata Y -
Golden-bellied Flycatcher Myiodynastes hemichrysus Y Y
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus Y -
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher Myiodynastes luteiventris - -
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius - -
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus - -
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus - -
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus - -
Barred Becard Pachyramphus versicolor Y Y
White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus Y -
Rose-throated Becard Pachyramphus aglaiae - -
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata Y -
Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor Y -
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea - -
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea - -
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca Y -
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis - -
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis - -
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia - -
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota - -
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica - -
Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher Phainoptila melanoxantha Y -
Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher Ptilogonys caudatus Y -
American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus - -
Rufous-naped Wren Campylorhynchus rufinucha Y -
Black-bellied Wren Thryothorus fasciatoventris Y -
Rufous-breasted Wren Thryothorus rutilus - -
Riverside Wren Thryothorus semibadius Y -
Bay Wren Thryothorus nigricapillus Y -
Stripe-breasted Wren Thryothorus thoracicus Y -
Banded Wren Thryothorus pleurostictus Y -
Rufous-and-white Wren Thryothorus rufalbus Y -
Plain Wren Thryothorus modestus Y Y
House Wren Troglodytes aedon - -
Ochraceous Wren Troglodytes ochraceus Y -
Timberline Wren Thryorchilus browni Y -
White-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucosticta Y -
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys Y -
Nightingale Wren Microcerculus philomela Y Y
Black-faced Solitaire Myadestes melanops Y Y
Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus fuscater Y -
Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus gracilirostris Y -
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush Catharus frantzii Y -
Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus mexicanus Y Y
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus - -
Sooty Robin Turdus nigrescens Y -
Mountain Robin Turdus plebejus Y -
Pale-vented Thrush Turdus obsoletus Y -
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi - -
White-throated Thrush Turdus assimilis Y Y
Long-billed Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus - -
White-lored Gnatcatcher Polioptila albiloris Y -
Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea Y -
White-throated Magpie-Jay Calocitta formosa - -
Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio - -
Azure-hooded Jay Cyanolyca cucullata Y -
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons - -
Yellow-winged Vireo Vireo carmioli Y -
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus - -
Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis - -
Tawny-crowned Greenlet Hylophilus ochraceiceps Y -
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus Y -
Green Shrike-Vireo Vireolanius pulchellus Y Y
Rufous-browed Peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis - -
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera - -
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina - -
Flame-throated Warbler Parula gutturalis Y -
Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi - -
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia - -
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica - -
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens - -
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca - -
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia - -
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapillus - -
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis - -
Louisiana Waterthrush Seiurus motacilla - -
Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia - -
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla - -
Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis - -
Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus Y -
Collared Redstart Myioborus torquatus Y -
Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus Y -
Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons - -
Black-cheeked Warbler Basileuterus melanogenys Y -
Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus Y -
Buff-rumped Warbler Basileuterus fulvicauda Y -
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola - -
Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus Y -
Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus pileatus Y -
Olive Tanager Chlorothraupis carmioli Y -
White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus - -
Tawny-crested Tanager Tachyphonus delatrii Y -
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus - -
Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager Habia atrimaxillaris Y -
Hepatic Tanager Piranga flava - -
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra - -
Western Tanager Piranga ludoviciana - -
Flame-colored Tanager Piranga bidentata Y -
Crimson-collared Tanager Ramphocelus sanguinolentus Y -
Passerini's Tanager Ramphocelus passerinii Y -
Cherrie's Tanager Ramphocelus costaricensis Y -
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus - -
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum - -
Yellow-crowned Euphonia Euphonia luteicapilla Y -
Yellow-throated Euphonia Euphonia hirundinacea Y -
Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi Y -
Tawny-capped Euphonia Euphonia anneae Y -
Golden-browed Chlorophonia Chlorophonia callophrys Y -
Plain-colored Tanager Tangara inornata Y -
Emerald Tanager Tangara florida Y -
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala Y -
Speckled Tanager Tangara guttata Y -
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola - -
Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata Y -
Spangle-cheeked Tanager Tangara dowii Y -
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis Dacnis venusta Y -
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana - -
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza - -
Shining Honeycreeper Cyanerpes lucidus Y -
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus - -
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina - -
Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina Y -
Nicaraguan Seed-Finch Oryzoborus nuttingi Y -
Thick-billed Seed-Finch Oryzoborus funereus Y -
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea - -
Slaty Flowerpiercer Diglossa plumbea Y -
Sooty-faced Finch Lysurus crassirostris Y -
Yellow-thighed Finch Pselliophorus tibialis Y -
Large-footed Finch Pezopetes capitalis Y -
White-naped Brush-Finch Atlapetes albinucha Y -
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris Y -
Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris Y -
White-eared Ground-Sparrow Melozone leucotis Y -
Stripe-headed Sparrow Aimophila ruficauda - -
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis Y -
Grayish Saltator Saltator coerulescens - -
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus Y -
Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps Y -
Black-faced Grosbeak Caryothraustes poliogaster Y -
Black-thighed Grosbeak Pheucticus tibialis Y -
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus - -
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides Y -
Blue Grosbeak Guiraca caerulea - -
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus - -
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna - -
Melodious Blackbird Dives dives Y -
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus - -
Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus - -
Giant Cowbird Scaphidura oryzivora - -
Yellow-tailed Oriole Icterus mesomelas Y Y
Spot-breasted Oriole Icterus pectoralis - -
Streak-backed Oriole Icterus pustulatus Y -
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula - -
Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius - -
Black-cowled Oriole Icterus dominicensis - -
Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycercus holosericeus Y -
Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus uropygialis Y Y
Montezuma Oropendola Gymnostinops montezuma Y -
House Sparrow Passer domesticus - -

Blake Maybank
White's Lake, Nova Scotia, Canada
maybank@ns.sympatico.ca
 



Birding Top 500 Counter