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20 - 31 March 2000

by Linda Baker

Here is a very long-overdue report of my trip to Costa Rica.  I apologize for delaying so long in getting it written and posted.  If anyone has any questions, I will gladly answer them.

Guide: Alexander Villegas Driver: José


March 20:  Travel to Costa Rica Overnight in San Jose  Aeropuerto Hotel

March 21-23: Monteverde  Monteverde Biological Reserve; Ecological Farm  Trapp Family Lodge

March 24 & 25:  Arenal  Grounds of hotel & rainforest Arenal Adventure Ecolodge

March 26: Sarapiqui  La Selva Biological Station La Quinta de Sarapiqui Lodge

March 27: Sarapiqui to Cerro de la Muerte  La Virgen del Socorro  Savegre Mountain Lodge

March 28: Cerro de la Muerte to Carara Savegre Mountain  Hotel Villa Lapas

March 29: Carara  Carara Biological Reserve & Rio Tarcoles Hotel Villa Lapas

March 30: Travel home

Our group consisted of 4 ladies, our guide and our driver.  It was a bonus to have such a small, compatible group that made sightings so much easier for everyone to see.  Alex is a superb guide who seemed to make birds appear as if by magic!  He has an unbelievable ear for the bird sounds.  Since he is currently working on a library of the bird sounds of Costa Rica, he is extremely familiar with them.  This was the first time that Alex worked professionally with Jose, but I suspect it won't be the last.  They made a great pair.  Jose always stayed to the rear to make sure that none of us got sidetracked for too long and, therefore, separated from the group.  He did not consider himself a birdwatcher before this trip, but, I dare say, he is now "hooked".  He was quite good at spotting birds.  Even though Jose spoke little English, and we spoke even less Spanish, he got across his humor and his thoughts to us.

We stayed in San Jose on our arrival in Costa Rica.

The next day, we drove to Monteverde (Cloud forest, middle elevation, Caribbean side), stopping along the road to look for birds of the Dry forest habitat in the Guacimal area.  During our stay in Monteverde, we looked for birds at El Sopa Durado Hotel, which has fig trees in the front yard that attract birds to their fruit; the Ecological Farm; Monteverde Biological Reserve; and the road near the Quaker School.  One of the highlights of the trip was lunch at Stella's.  If you are in Monteverde, you owe it to yourself to dine there.  The food is great!  The birdy highlights were definitely the 6 Resplendent Quetzales, the many species of hummingbirds, and the 2 male Long-tailed Manakins displaying on a lek for the one female.

Our next stop was Arenal, with lovely views of the steaming volcano.  We birded the grounds of the hotel and the rainforest that is only 1 km away from the hotel.  This was northern Caribbean middle-elevation rainforest.  Unforgettable is the tree outside the lodge that was filled with a rainbow of neon-colored birds.

We then drove to Sarapiqui for a marathon day of birding at La Selva Biological Station.  Before it opened and after it closed, we surveyed the area on both sides of the road that leads into the Station.  La Selva is Caribbean lowlands rainforest.  There were so many birds and variety that we saw 126 species in twelve hours.  I am sure that we missed many (reason enough to return to Costa Rica!).

On our way to Cerro de la Muerte, we explored the Virgen de Socorro (mid-elevation Caribbean rainforest).  We walked along a dirt road on a very steep, bumpy hill.  The road consisted of 2 ruts separated by a grassy strip and goes through the forest and down the mountain to a bridge over Rio Sarapiqui.  The most fascinating sight for me was watching 2 American Dippers as they dove into the water from the boulders in the river and swam and caught fish underwater.  The water was so clear that we had perfect viewing of their antics as we stood on the bridge.

We spent less than a day in the Savegre Mountains.  I must return for a longer stay in this exquisite area.  It was here that Alex saw his lifebird of the trip--an Andean Pygmy-owl.  Needless to say, it was a lifer for each of us.  The Pygmy-owl was residing in a hole in a tree near the top of the mountain.  The Chacon family that owns & operates the lodge had located it and was anxious to show it to us.  They piled us into their jeep and drove up the switchbacks along the mountain face to where the owl roosted near the top of the mountain.  We had 3 generations of the Chacons with us--the original settler of the area, his son, & his grandson.

Our last stop was the Carara area (transitional forest of south Pacific forest mixed with northwest dry forest).  We looked for birds from a bridge over Rio Tarcoles and explored 2 trails in Carara Biological Reserve.  Watching 20 Scarlet Macaws flying overhead and then feeding in a mimosa tree was delightful.  There were also 20 Boat-billed Herons in the same area.  We closed out our adventures at sunset at the area where the Rio Tarcoles empties into the Pacific Ocean, where we watched waders, shorebirds and owls.

 We were supposed to stay until March 31, but we opted to leave a day early.  A nationwide strike and road blockade had been called for our scheduled day of departure.  I was willing to take my chances of not getting out, because I could have spent a lot more time there.  However, my travelling buddies needed to be home on the planned day.  Since we were uncertain of how the blockade would impact our getting to the airport, we left early.  There had been local blockades during our stay, but we had not encountered them, and there were no reports of violence.

Also seen during our adventures were several species of Iguanas, White-faced monkeys, Eyelash Viper, Coati, Agouti, 2-toed Sloth, Crocodiles, Poison Dart Frog, and a variety of insects.

The temperature ranged from a low of 45 degrees F at Cerro de la Muerte to a high of 90 degrees at La Selva.  The skies were mostly clear.  It was humid with no rain.

Impressions: Costa Rica is a beautiful country with lovely vistas as one drives through the countryside.  The birding areas are well maintained.  The hotels and lodges were comfortable, some more so than others.  Everyone was very friendly and helpful.  Macadam roads were being laid in places that had been only dirt roads.  However, the drive into Monteverde is still mainly on dirt.  No matter what they are made of, the drive is definitely worth it to see the abundance of birds!  I cannot wait to return!

Great Tinamou Tinamus major
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Great Egret Ardea alba
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
*Fasciated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma fasciatum
Wood Stork Mycteria americana
White Ibis Eudocimus albus
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
*Hook-billed Kite Chondrohierax uncinatus
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus
*Barred Hawk Leucopternis princeps
Gray Hawk Asturina nitida
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus
Red-tailed Hawk Buteojamaicensis
*Barred Forest-Falcon Micrastur ruficollis
*Gray-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps
*Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens
*Black Guan Chamaepetes unicolor
*Black-breasted Wood-Quail Odontophorus leucolaemus
Gray-necked Wood-Rail Aramides cajanea
Purple Gallinule Porphyrula martinica
Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
Rock Dove Columba livia
White-crowned Pigeon Columba leucocephala
*Pale-vented Pigeon Columba cayennensis
*Red-billed Pigeon Columba flavirostris
*Short-billed Pigeon Columba nigrirostris
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica
Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti
Inca Dove Columbina inca
Blue Ground-Dove Claravis pretiosa
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
*Gray-chested Dove Leptotila cassini
*Chiriqui Quail-Dove Geotrygon chiriquensis
*Scarlet Macaw Ara macao
*Crimson-fronted Parakeet Aratinga finschi
Olive-throated Parakeet Aratinga nana
*Orange-fronted Parakeet Aratinga canicularis
*Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis
*White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis
White-fronted Parrot Amazona albifrons
*Red-lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis
*Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
*Pacific Screech-Owl Otus cooperi
*Bare-shanked Screech-Owl Otus clarkii
*Andean Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium jardinii
*Short-tailed Nighthawk Lurocalis semitorquatus
*Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Band-rumped Swift Chaetura spinicauda
Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi
*Bronzy Hermit Glaucis aenea
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy
Eastern Long-tailed Hermit Phaethornis superciliosus
*Little Hermit Phaethornis longuemareus
*Scaly-breasted Hummingbird Phaeochroa cuvierii
*Violet Sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus
White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora
*Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus
*Violet-headed Hummingbird Klais guimeti
*Black-crested Coquette Lophornis helenae
*Green Thorntail Discosuraconversii
*Canivet's Emerald Chlorostilbon canivetii
*Coppery-headed Emerald Elvira cupreiceps
*Stripe-tailed Hummingbird Eupherusa eximia
*Violet-crowned Woodnymph Thalurania colombica
*Blue-throated Goldentail Hylocharis eliciae
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
*Cinnamon Hummingbird Amazilia rutila
*Blue-chested Hummingbird Polyerata amabilis
*Steely-vented Hummingbird Saucerottia saucerrottei
*White-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis castaneoventris
*Purple-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis calolaema
*Green-crowned Brilliant Heliodoxa jacula
Magnificent Hummingbird Eugenes fulgens
*Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti
*Magenta-throated Woodstar Calliphlox bryantae
*Scintillant Hummingbird Selasphorus scintilla
*Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus
Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus
*Orange-bellied Trogon Trogon aurantiiventris
*Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena
*Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno
Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon
Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum
*Turquoise-browed Motmot Eumomota superciliosa
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda
White-necked Puffbird Notharchus macrorhynchos
*Lanceolated Monklet Micromonacha lanceolata
*Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcierii
*Prong-billed Barbet Semnornis frantzii
*Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus
*Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
*Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani
*Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus
*Hoffmann's Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii
*Smoky-brown Woodpecker Veniliornis fumigatus
Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
*Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis
*Slaty Spinetail Synallaxis brachyura
*Red-faced Spinetail Cranioleuca erythrops
*Spotted Barbtail Premnoplex brunnescens
*Ruddy Treerunner Margarornis rubiginosus
*Plain Xenops Xenops minutus
*Lineated Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla subalaris
*Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus
Gray-throated Leaftosser Sclerurus albigularis
Plain-brown Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa
Ruddy Woodcreeper Dendrocincla homochroa
*Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
*Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus
*Northern Barred-Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae
Buff-throated Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus guttatus
Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius
*Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
*Spot-crowned Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes affinis
*Brown-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus pusillus
*Fasciated Antshrike Cymbilaimus lineatus
Great Antshrike Taraba major
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
*Black-hooded Antshrike Thamnophilus bridgesi
*Russet Antshrike Thamnistes anabatinus
*Streak-crowned Antvireo Dysithamnus striaticeps
*Slaty Antwren Myrmotherula schisticolor
*Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul
*Immaculate Antbird Myrmeciza immaculata
*Spotted Antbird Hylophylax naevioides
*Snowy Cotinga Carpodectes nitidus
*Bare-necked Umbrellabird Cephalopterus glabricollis
*Three-wattled Bellbird Procnias tricarunculata
*White-collared Manakin Manacus candei
*Orange-collared Manakin Manacus aurantiacus
*White-ruffed Manakin Corapipo altera
*Long-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia linearis
*White-crowned Manakin Pipra pipra
*Red-capped Manakin Pipra mentalis
*Greenish Elaenia Myiopagis viridicata
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster
*Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii
*Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea
*Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus
*Paltry Tyrannulet Zimmerius vilissimus
*Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant Myiornis atricapillus
*Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant Lophotriccus pileatus
*Northern Bentbill Oncostoma cinereigulare
*Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
*Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
*Yellow-margined Flycatcher Tolmomyias assimilis
*Royal Flycatcher Onychorhynchus coronatus
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher Myiobius sulphureipygius
*Black-tailed Flycatcher Myiobius atricaudus
Tufted Flycatcher Mitrephanes phaeocercus
*Dark Pewee Contopus lugubris
*Ochraceous Pewee Contopusochraceus
Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Empidonax flaviventris
*Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens
*Yellowish Flycatcher Empidonax flavescens
*Black-capped Flycatcher Empidonax atriceps
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
*Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus
*Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
*Rufous Mourner Rhytipterna holerythra
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
*Gray-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis
*Golden-bellied Flycatcher Myiodynastes hemichrysus
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
*Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher Myiodynastes luteiventris
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Gray Kingbird Tyrannus dominicensis
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus
*Thrush-like Schiffornis Schiffornis turdinus
*Cinnamon Becard Pachyramphus cinnamomeus
*White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus
Rose-throated Becard Pachyramphus aglaiae
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
*Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea
*Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
*Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher Ptilogonys caudatus
*American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus
*Band-backed Wren Campylorhynchus zonatus
*Rufous-naped Wren Campylorhynchus rufinucha
*Black-throated Wren Thryothorus atrogularis
Rufous-breasted Wren Thryothorus rutilus
*Bay Wren Thryothorus nigricapillus
*Stripe-breasted Wren Thryothorus thoracicus
*Banded Wren Thryothorus pleurostictus
*Rufous-and-white Wren Thryothorus rufalbus
*Plain Wren Thryothorus modestus
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
*Ochraceous Wren Troglodytes ochraceus
*White-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucosticta
*Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
*Nightingale Wren Microcerculus philomela
*Black-faced Solitaire Myadestes melanops
*Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus aurantiirostris
*Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus fuscater
*Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus mexicanus
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus
*Sooty Robin Turdus nigrescens
*Mountain Robin Turdus plebejus
*Pale-vented Thrush Turdus obsoletus
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
*Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea
*White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis
*White-throated Magpie-Jay Calocitta formosa
Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio
*Azure-hooded Jay Cyanolyca cucullata
*Yellow-winged Vireo Vireo carmioli
*Brown-capped Vireo Vireo leucophrys
*Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis
*Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus
Rufous-browed Peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina
*Flame-throated Warbler Parula gutturalis
Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis
*Olive-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis semiflava
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla
*Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus
*Collared Redstart Myioborus torquatus
Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus
Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons
*Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus
*Buff-rumped Warbler Basileuterus fulvicauda
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
*Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus
*Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus pileatus
*Black-and-yellow Tanager Chrysothlypis chrysomelaena
*Olive Tanager Chlorothraupis carmioli
White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
Hepatic Tanager Piranga flava
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
*Flame-colored Tanager Piranga bidentata
*Crimson-collared Tanager Ramphocelus sanguinolentus
Passerini's Tanager Ramphocelus passerinii
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
*Scrub Euphonia Euphonia affinis
*Yellow-crowned Euphonia Euphonia luteicapilla
*Yellow-throated Euphonia Euphonia hirundinacea
*Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi
*Tawny-capped Euphonia Euphonia anneae
*Golden-browed Chlorophonia Chlorophonia callophrys
*Plain-colored Tanager Tangara inornata
*Emerald Tanager Tangara florida
*Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala
*Speckled Tanager Tangara guttata
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola
*Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata
*Spangle-cheeked Tanager Tangara dowii
*Scarlet-thighed Dacnis Dacnis venusta
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
*Shining Honeycreeper Cyanerpes lucidus
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
*Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina
*Nicaraguan Seed-Finch Oryzoborus nuttingi
*Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea
*Yellow-thighed Finch Pselliophorus tibialis
*White-naped Brush-Finch Atlapetes albinucha
*Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch Buarremon brunneinucha
*Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris
*Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris
*White-eared Ground-Sparrow Melozone leucotis
*Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Grayish Saltator Saltator coerulescens
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
*Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps
*Black-faced Grosbeak Caryothraustes poliogaster
*Black-thighed Grosbeak Pheucticus tibialis
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides
Blue Grosbeak Guiraca caerulea
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
*Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus
*Yellow-tailed Oriole Icterus mesomelas
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula
*Black-cowled Oriole Icterus dominicensis
Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycercus holosericeus
*Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus uropygialis
Montezuma Oropendola Gymnostinops montezuma
*Yellow-bellied Siskin Carduelis xanthogastra
House Sparrow Passer domesticus

327 species
197 lifers (indicated by *)

Linda Lee Baker
Bonita Springs, Florida, USA

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