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16 June - 14 July 2005

by Russ Namitz


I went surfing with my wife for the first week and then birding for the next three weeks with a birding friend (“Prairie” Bob Schwaller).  I designed the itinerary myself and all birds were seen without the use of a guide except at La Selva (requirement) & Rancho Naturalista.


This was my third trip to Costa Rica and I was hoping to concentrate on some target birds with the help of other trip reports and my ipod/speaker setup.  In planning the trip, I used various trip reports, Richard Garrigues’ website, the Lonely Planet Travel Guide, Costa Rican bird book and Dennis Roger’s site guide “Costa Rica & Panama, The best birding locations.”  Dennis is thinking of updating this book (1996), but doesn’t know if he can do it from his base in CR (more on him that later).  Email him if you have ideas.


We rented a 2-wheel drive car for the month and were able to drive almost all roads just fine (with patience & caution). The rental car price is double what the quote is on due to the taxes & mandatory collision insurance.  If you rent a car on the same day as you fly in and/or take the rental car shuttle service to the office, there is a 12% tax.  Some say you can bypass this by taking a taxi to a rental car office.


Thur (6/16)  to Thur (6/23)  San Jose – Jaco – Esterillos Centro – Dominical – Jaco – San Jose

For the week of surfing, I toned the birding down to appease the non-birding spouse.  At Esterillo Centro, I was able to walk along some mangroves, but found very little.  Good birds for me included a nesting pair of MANGROVE BLACK-HAWKS, TRICOLORED HERON and 30 roosting LESSER NIGHTHAWKS.  The common woodpeckers around here are hybrid HOFFMAN’S & RED-CROWNED.  I also saw a flock of 8 SANDERLINGS amongst some COLLARED PLOVERS.  Stiles & Skutch say there are no summer records for SANDERLINGS, but there surely must be some by now.


At Dominical, I birded along the unpaved road that passes Hacienda Baru and saw my first lifer, a BLACK-BELLIED WREN.  I also birded the first 10 kilometers of the road up to San Isidro de General.  Along the road, I found GREAT TINAMOU, STIPED CUCKOO & PIRATIC FLYCATCHER among others.  One person writes of a good birding road 17km from Domincal that heads south from the village of Tinamaste, but I did not make it this far.


***On the way back to Playa Hermosa, we pulled over to watch some SCARLET MACAWS feeding along the highway.  We parked the car in a restaurant/hotel parking lot, locked the car and took the scope & camera to take photos.  We were gone about 15 minutes and had the car in sight (50 meters away).  When we got back to the car, the back door had been unlocked and our two backpacks STOLEN!  My Leica binoculars, Costa Rican Bird book, ipod, passports, cash, traveler’s checks and toothbrush….all GONE!  We filed a police report and a couple of guys there were doing the same thing because they had been robbed at the same place 3 hours earlier.  The next day at the US Embassy, we spoke with a different couple that had also been watching the macaws at the same time we were and they had been robbed as well.  They said they were sure that they locked their car as well.  I heard from a Costa Rican guide that he heard that some thieves have copies of the rental car keys.  Every day before and every day after, we always had our stuff in the trunk or in a hotel room…never in the back seat, but it only takes 1 mistake….


Fri (6/24)  Volcan Poas

After dealing with replacing our passports, we headed up through pouring rain to the volcano.  We stopped at Mirador El Quetzal (5km before the entrance) to have a hot beverage and wait for the rain to stop.  When it did, we saw MOUNTAIN ELEANIA, YELLOW-THIGHED FINCH, LARGE-FOOTED FINCH, PRONG-BILLED BARBET, FIERY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, SPOT-CROWNED WOODCREEPER, SOOTY-CAPPED BUSH-TANAGER & BLACK-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH among others.  A BLACK GUAN flew across the entrance gate (closes at 4pm).


Sat (6/25) Los Chiles

I dropped my wife off at the airport and then we drove up to Los Chiles.  We decided not to stop by Hotel Bougainvillea for the ground-sparrows.  I later heard from Louisiana birder Nancy Newfield that it is no longer a reliable place.  We stayed at Cabinas Jabiru in Los Chiles and drove the ½ hr gravel road to Cano Negro.  We saw NORTHERN JACANA, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD &  heard WHITE-THROATED CRAKE on the way out there.  At Cano Negro, there is a dock, laguna and a short dirt path to the river.  We saw NICARAGUAN GRACKLE, BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON, BARRED ANTSHRIKE & COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER.  It was a great place for Pssitacids. We saw MEALY & BROWN-HOODED PARROTS and ORANGE-CHINNED & OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEETS.  On the way out, we added PLUMBEOUS KITE.  Back at the hotel, we saw SCALED PIGEON & PALTRY TYRANNULET.


Sun (6/26) Cano Negro – Bajos del Toro

We booked a boat tour through Cabinas Jabiru and met the driver at the boat dock in Cano Negro at 6am.  We motored upriver through cutover forest to a laguna to try for JABIRU before heading downriver into the reserve.  On the way up, birds of interest were GREEN IBIS, ANHINGA, BOAT-BILLED & BLACK-CROWNED HERON, LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE, BLACK-COLLARED HAWK, MUSCOVY DUCK & RUDDY-BREASTED SEEDEATER.  We missed JABIRU; they were probably all nesting at Palo Verde NP or elsewhere. We then headed down into the reserve and saw AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER and a GREY-NECKED WOOD-RAIL on a nest.

We then drove to Zarcero and then east to Bajos del Toro so we could walk on the famous Bosque de Paz trail system.  I had emailed ahead of time and Vanessa (one of the owners) assured me that I could just pay in cash at the gate ($35 per person).  I checked in at 5pm the evening before we were to walk.  We were told that we didn’t have a reservation and therefore could not walk on the paths in the morning.  Vanessa’s husband (but not Vanessa) came out and told us that, even though there was one room available due to a cancellation, he would not let us walk the paths nor stay at the lodge, even though we were willing to pay.  He was quite rude and it was a frustrating experience.  We ended up birding the road on the hill above the lodge and also a trail at La Cascada Café a few kilometers down the road.  We slept in Bajos de Toro.


Mon (6/27)  Bajos del Toro (Juan Castro NP)

Bajos del Toro (& Bosque de Paz) is located next to the Juan Castro National Park.  Bosque de Paz has an incredible bird list, but I will never go there due to the way I was treated.  Do not write me and tell me they are wonderful people, that they had a bad day…I’m sure that’s possible, but I really don’t care!  Birding from the road above Bosque de Paz, we saw BLACK-BREASTED WOOD-QUAIL, DARK PEWEE, GOLDEN-BELLIED FLYCATCHER, BARRD BECARD, SILVERY-FRONTED TAPACULO(heard), and GOLDEN-BROWNED CHLOROPHONIA among others.  At the north end of Bajos del Toro, there is a road on the left (west) side leading to Juan Castro NP.  However, the area has been cut or is second-growth; it is better with 4x4.  There was a logging landing where we could look down on the tops of a few trees and saw a few species.  We slept in Bajos del Toro.


Tues (6/28)  Bajos del Toro (Juan Castro NP) – Laguna Hule – Virgen – Mirador La Cascada

We birded the trail at La Cascada Café a few kilometers north of Bajos del Toro on the way to Virgen del Socorro.  We saw RED-HEADED BARBET, STREAK-BREASTED TREEHUNTER, SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT, BLACK-FACED SOLITAIRE, YELLOW-WINGED VIREO, BROWN-CAPPED VIREO & FLAME-THROATED WARBLER among others.


We continued north and took a few “short cuts” to Virgen del Socorro.  One was a stop at Laguna Hule.  There is an overlook with a café and it is a very scenic site.  It was midday, but we saw  BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR, PASSERINI’S TANAGER & BARRED HAWK.  Down on the laguna, there was a PIED-BILLED GREBE.


We birded the road to Virgen del Socorro.  The road was very drivable and busy with construction trucks.  We only birded the road down to the bridge and did not make it onto the forest trail.  Good birds included PLAIN ANTVIREO, BLACK-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER, and BAY-HEADED, CRIMSON-COLLARED, EMERALD, SILVER-THROATED, WHITE-LINED &  SPECKLED TANAGERS.  Down at the river we found SLATY-BACKED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH & TORRENT TYRANNULET.


Back on the highway, we drove up (south toward San Jose) about 6 km to a café in Chichona called Mirador La Cascada.  It was great for hummingbirds including BROWN & GREEN VIOLETEAR, GREEN THORNTAIL, GREEN HERMIT, COPPERY-HEADED EMERALD, BLACK-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD & WHITE-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-GEM.  Unfortunately, this was one of the two places that I locked the keys in the car.  It took about 2 hrs for the guy to arrive from the rental car agency, but what a nice place to wait.  We ate a late lunch overlooking the pleasant waterfall (different from La Paz).  We slept in a hotel in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui.


Wed (6/29)  La Selva – Gavilan Lodge

We had a 6am birding tour with a mandatory guide ($35pp).   Our guide was young and reasonably knowledgeable, but missed two vocalizations that I knew (called CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD a BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH & called a RUFOUS-WINGED WOODPECKER a CINNAMON WOODPECKER).  I have heard that the best bird guides have left La Selva and are independent bird guides now (e.g. Erik Castro).  Good birds were CRESTED GUAN (easy), GREAT CURRASOW (pair), FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE, PLAIN-BROWN & BLACK-STRIPED WOODCREEPERS.  The walk ended at 8am as the guide was also giving a “general” tour that day.  We were not allowed to go back onto the paths.  I felt slightly ripped off.  La Selva is very busy place and it detracted a little from the wildlife experience.  Bicycles are the big thing now and workers are constantly zipping by on the paved paths.  Ecotourism and research continue to butt heads here.  That being said, the wildlife is pretty acclimated to people and we saw Collared Peccaries, Central American Agoutis, White-nosed Coatis, and Variegated Squirrels in a short period of time.

After the walk, we sulked in front of the office, birding the garden and rehydrating ourselves.  Some GREAT GREEN MACAWS flew by, but we only heard them.  Hummingbirds that were using the flowers were VIOLET-CROWNED WOODNYMPH, VIOLET-HEADED HUMMINGBIRD, RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD, BLUE-CHESTED HUMMINGBIRD & a female BLACK-CRESTED COQUETTE.  As we tried to leave, I realized that I had locked my keys in the car, again!  One of the grounds keepers had some wire and after ½ hr of trying, we finally broke in.  Where are those Playa Hermosa crooks when you need them?


At the first gate into La Selva (there are two and they were working on a third), there is a road that leads NW past some houses, along La Selva’s boundary and down to the river.  We walked that last 50 meters because of the mud.  AMAZON & GREEN KINGFISHERS zoomed by while a family of Southern River Otters played in the river.


Back out on the main highway heading toward Guapiles, there are a few cattle fields that have marshy areas on the east (left) side.  This was supposed to be a good spot to look for NICARAGUAN SEED-FINCH, STRIPED CUCKOO and PINNATED BITTERN.  We only saw GREEN HERONS, NORTHERN JACANAS, BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUITS & THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCHES.


We went back toward La Selva and turned east down the road to Gavilan Lodge.  The paths at the lodge were overgrown and there wasn’t much of interest except a close GREEN IBIS near the river.  The TAWNY-CHESTED FLYCATCHER hasn’t been seen here in a few years.  We slept in the same hotel in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui.


Thur (6/30)  -   La Selva area – Siquirres – EARTH

We went back to the marshy areas along the road to Guapiles and finally saw a male NICARAGUAN SEED-FINCH singing through the scope.  Marsh birds would fly short distances and then disappear; have patience.  We saw a LEAST BITTERN this way and Louisiana birder Nancy Newfield said that’s how her group saw PINNATED BITTERN here.


We traveled on to Guapiles and then east to Siquirres.  Stopping at every river crossing to check for FASCIATED TIGER-HERON, we finally saw one on the third one (Rio Cortina?).  According to Stiles & Skutch, the river drainage at Siquirres is the northern limit of SULPHUR-RUMPED TANAGER, but we didn’t see any.  We tried driving a few kilometers down the old Turrialba highway, but everything has been cut over or was inaccessible.  One gentleman saw that we were birding and invited us into his orchard to see a LONG-TAILED TYRANT nest.  We were almost bitten by one of his 5 dogs, but it was a nice look.


We then tried out luck at the entrance of EARTH for CENTRAL AMERICAN PYGMY OWL, but had no luck.  We did not have reservations to enter and did not attempt to do so.  We slept in Guapiles.


Fri (7/1)  El Tapir - Braulio Carrillo NP – San Isidro de Heredia – Braulio Carrillo NP

We arrived early at the entrance to the El Tapir Butterfly Garden (sign was being repainted).  A TINY HAWK flew over and perched briefly.  We did not see the target SNOWCAP.  One of the owners came out and said it was $5 to come in and watch the hummingbirds and $10 to walk the trails.  They don’t have trail maps and make you take a guide.  The owners are guides that work for the nearby Rainforest Aerial Tram and are trying to turn El Tapir into a lodge with cabins, trails and a gift shop.  They hope to finish by September.  At a slightly different higher elevation than the Quebrada Gonzales ranger station, this could be a nice supplement to the Quebrada Gonzales trail.

We opted instead to walk the Quebrada Gonzales trail.  We arrived at 6:30am and the gate was already open (apparently it opens at 6am now).  The rangers weren’t really up yet; one motioned for us to walk and pay later.  We ran into a few flocks of TAWNY-CRESTED & WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGERS, BLACK-FACED GROSBEAKS, ASHY-THROATED BUSH-TANAGERS and RUSSET ANTSHRIKES.  We also saw TAWNY-CAPPED EUPHONIA, GREEN HONEYCREEPER & BLACK-HEADED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH, but missed the main Furnarid flocks.  Back at the entrance station for a mid-morning snack, we saw 6 SWALLOW-TAILED KITES, 2 KING VULTURES and one of the resident ORNATE HAWK-EAGLES.  I vividly remember my life ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE siting here 6 years ago when we saw the pair copulating high in the canopy.

We zoomed down to Heredia to take care of some rental car stuff and then birding guide Dennis Rogers graciously took us birding around his home in San Isidro de Heredia where we saw STEELY-VENTED HUMMINGBIRD, ORANGE-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH, PREVOST’S (Cabanis subspecies) GROUND-SPARROW and WHITE-EARED GROUND-SPARROW.  To find out more about Dennis, check out the following websites:

We took another quick walk on the Quebrada trail and picked up HEPATIC TANAGER, SHORT-BILLED PIGEON & TAWNY-FACED GNATWREN.  We slept in Guapiles.


Sat (7/2 )  El Tapir – Cerro de la Muerte – La Georgina

We paid the $10pp and walked on the trails at El Tapir.  We heard a Baird’s Tapir crashing through the brush almost immediately.  Apparently, they come down at night to feed on a certain species of plant in the garden.  They have a distinctive smell that is different than the peccary smell.  Birding was very slow, but we saw DUSKY-FACED TANAGER, PALE-VENTED THRUSH, PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY, STREAK-CROWNED ANTVIREO & GRAY-HEADED PIPRITES.  When we were almost back to the lodge, we finally heard a LATTICE-TAILED TROGON.  I’ve been wanting to “clean up” my trogons for years and this was the last one for North America.  I had to step off the path to find it and I was picking ticks off myself for the next 2 days.  The owners say that the tapirs bring in lots of ticks..beware!  Back at the lodge, we finally saw a male SNOWCAP.  It was favoring the flowers that were closest to the cabins (furthest from the gate).

We headed up the mountain to Cerro de la Muerte and slept at La Georgina.  They were almost completely full due to a Spanish class from Denmark.  It was a little odd to walk into the restaurant and see all these 5’10” blond-haired, blue-eyed young women.  The many hummingbird feeders sported FIERY-THROATED, MAGNIFICANT & SCINTILLANT HUMMINGBIRDS.  RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROWS, SOOTY ROBINS & SLATY FLOWERPIERCERS were common on the grounds.


Sun (7/3)  Cerro de la Muerte – Savegre – La Georgina - Savegre

At around Km 80, there is a road that heads up (west) to a radio tower.  We saw LONG-TAILED SILKY-FLYCATCHER, VOLCANO JUNCO, VOLCANO HUMMINGBIRD, RUDDY TREERUNNER, BLACK-CHEEKED WARBLER & TIMBERLINE WREN.  A small flock of BARRED PARAKEETS flew over.  We then headed to the turn off for San Gerardo de Dota and birded this road down to Savegre Lodge (Chacon Cabins).  Along the upper portion of the road, we saw YELLOW-BELLIED SISKIN, FLAME-COLORED TANAGER & BLACK-CAPPED FLYCATCHER.  Down in the valley, there is a rock pit on the right side of the road about 1 or 2 km before the bridge for Savegre.  There are some avocado trees here that attract RESPLENDENT QUETZALS, COLLARED TROGONS & BLUE-THROATED TOUCANETS.  Closer to the lodge, we saw WHITE-FRONTED (ROUGH-LEGGED) TYRANNULET, GRAY-TAILED MOUNTAIN-GEM, ACORN WOODPECKER, SULPHUR-WINGED PARAKEET.  We added our 5th species of nightingale-thrush by seeing RUDDY-CAPPED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH.


We went back to La Georgina for breakfast & lunch and then came back to Savegre in the afternoon to walk up the hill to the oak forest and try for OCHRACEOUS PEWEE.  We only saw TUFTED & YELLOWISH FLYCATCHER.  We met a birder from Belgium that was guided by Senior Chacon himself.  We learned that the bamboo had finished seeding 2 weeks ago and things were quiet.  Bummer.  Walking back down to the lodge at dusk, we kicked up a DUSKY NIGHTJAR and then saw 2 more on fenceposts on the drive up to the highway.  We slept at La Georgina.


Mon (7/4)  Cerro de la Muerte – Km 66 – Km 119 – San Isidro (coffee plant) – Buenos Aires – San Vito

This morning we headed to the place where the bamboo was seeding 2 weeks ago and decided to try our luck.  From La Georgina we drove past the turnoff for Savegre and turned left (west) toward San Gerardo de Santa Maria and drove down 2 km.  Not much new…OCHRACEOUS WREN.   We then continued on to Km 63 to pick up the key for the gate at Km 66 for accessible oak forest.  We had great looks at BLACK-AND-YELLOW & LONG-TAILED SILKY-FLYCATCHERS & BUFFY TUFTEDCHEEK.  While stepping over to the side of the road to see a man about a wallaby, I spooked up a small covey of SPOTTED WOOD-QUAIL.


From here, we continued on to Km 199 (Vista de Valle Restaurant) where, with patience, one can see WHITE-BELLIED EMERALD.  Arriving at mid-day, the activity was low.  CHERRIE’S TANAGER, CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSH-FINCH, PALM & GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGERS were feeding on fruit put out at the feeders.  A VIOLET SABREWING was guarding one of the two feeders.  A small hummingbird with a white belly flew into the feeder I was standing next to, but the turning of my head scared it away.  Another ½ hr and we had to get moving.


We looked for the oxidation ponds/coffee plant out of San Isidro de General.  After a bit of trouble, we found a coffee plantation (Finca de Santa Maria) that had a laguna and piles of decaying coffee.  We were looking for SOUTHERN LAPWINGS, but didn’t find any.  We did see LEAST GREBE in the laguna and  at the coffee piles, BRONZED COWBIRD, many FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHERS, PLAIN WREN and YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER.


On the road to Durika, above the town of Buenos Aires is supposed to be a spot for WEDGE-TAILED GRASS-FINCH, but the road became non-navigable for a 2-wheel drive.  Around the pineapple plantations, we saw SNOWY-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD & LESSER ELAENIA.


We decided to push on to San Vito and drove the 30 km “paved” road from Paso Real to San Vito after dark.  It was full of huge potholes; they should have left it gravel!


Tues (7/5)  San Vito airport – Wilson Botanical Gardens – Agua Buena – Canas Gordas – Sabilito – Rio Negro

I haven’t found clear directions in any trip report to the best way to view the airport ponds in San Vito.  Basically, you drive a few kilometers to the airport strip (obvious on the left).  Almost immediately, you come to a trashy pond on the right side of the road.  We saw a COMMON MOORHEN here.  It may be worth a stop of look for psittacids flying over or oropendulas.  To get to the best site for MASKED DUCK & MASKED YELLOWTHROAT, continue past the airport.  The road curves to the right and then back left and the laguna appears on the left.  Turn left immediately after the laguna comes into view and drive down the grass driveway to the house (not up the gravel road).  Ask permission here to use the rickety dock to look over the laguna.  You can even walk further back (away from the road) to view another section of the pond.  Besides those masked birds, I saw PURPLE GALLINULE & WHITE-THROATED CRAKE.


We went over to explore the Wilson Botanical Gardens.  In the kitchen, there is a yellow wildlife/bird siting book that is full of good information.  Some of it is years old…most of the good stuff, you need 4x4 and time to see.  We headed off to Agua Buena and took the gravel road to Canas Gordas to the Finca Loma Linda.  Along the road here, Jim Zook saw some BLACK-CHESTED JAYS a few years ago.  We saw STREAKED SALTATOR, YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA, WESTERN SLATY-ANTSHRIKE & GOLDEN-NAPED WOODPECKER.

We decided to try for the lek site for LANCE-TAILED MANAKINS near Rio Negro (again information was a few years old).  We made it with a 2-wheel drive; we’re lucky it was a rental and that I have 4x4 experience.  It took us longer than expected and was a big disappointment.  We heard a BARRED FOREST-FALCON & LITTLE TINAMOU, but basically it was an afternoon lost.


We tried to hire a guide for the next morning at the Wilson Botanical Gardens, but it was the guide’s day off.


Wed (7/6)  San Vito airport - Wilson Botanical Gardens – Golfito (tower road)

We went back to the airport to get Bob a better look at the MASKED YELLOWTHROAT and then went to the Wilson Gardens.  We walked the trail to the river (restricted to overnight guests) and I whistled in a BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH.  We also saw SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER, LESSER GREENLET, SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER, EYE-RINGED FLATBILL, BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER, THRUSH-LIKE SCHIFFORNIS (heard), GRAY-CHESTED DOVE, STRIPE-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD & WHITE-RUFFED MANAKIN.  We did see some flyby BLUE-HEADED PARROTS & YELLOW-HEADED CARACARAS as well. 


We headed down to the coast, dropping from 1000m to sea level.  The increase in heat & humidity was obvious.  We were looking for recently arrived birds from Panama like BROWN-THROATED PARAKEETS, CRESTED OROPENDULAS & PEARL KITES, but dipped on all.  Apparently, there is a CRESTED OROPENDULA colony behind a soccer field in Cuidad Neily, but I found out after the fact.


We stayed in Golfito at the Hotel Gran Ceibo.  I balked because this hotel has been mentioned twice in other trip reports, but it does have some creature comforts that Bob enjoyed.  We then took a quick trip to the radio towers and birded the road on the way up ticking off RIVERSIDE WREN, COSTA RICAN SWIFT & CHARMING HUMMINGBIRD.  We saw numerous PARAQUES on the way down at dusk.  I was a bit disappointed with the forest along the road, but it does have a few gorgeous overlooks.


Thur (7/7)  Golfito (tower road) – Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

We birded the radio tower road again and luckily found an ant swarm just off the road.  Attending were GRAY-HEADED TANAGERS, CHESTNUT-BACKED & BICOLORED ANTBIRDS and TAWNY-WINGED WOODCREEPER. Trying to get closer, we inadvertently stepped in the path of the army ants and soon had them crawling up our legs.  Not fun! Later on the way down, we ran into a huge foraging flock.  It had lots of good birds, but not much new for us.  We did get good looks at OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER & BLUE-CROWNED MANAKIN.


We decided to try and drive the 8km dirt road to La Gamba & Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.  It became impassable to a 2-wheel drive after a few kilometers and we drove the long way around.  At the lodge, we purchased a map, made arrangements to bird the trails in the morning and then birded the grounds.  It was here that we met a birding group from Louisiana led by Nancy Newfield.  The lodge does not have hummingbird feeders, but it is well set up with Heliconia and other flowers.  LONG-BILLED, BRONZY & STRIPE-THROATED HERMITS and BAND-TAILED BARBTHROAT were seen around the lodge.  On the way back out to the highway, we saw a STRIPED OWL hunting over some rice fields.  We slept at the Gran Ceibo in Golfito.


Fri (7/8)  Esquinas Rainforest Lodge - Rincon de Osa



It was tough to leave, but we traveled on to Rincon de Osa via a 45km, “paved” road.  Again, there were huge potholes and the road should have been left gravel.  And you know that the road is bad when there is a sign indicating that the highway is in “mal estado.”  You know that it is even worse when the writing on the sign has faded from the sun, indicating it has been that way for some time.  Driving in Costa Rica is certainly an adventure. 


We explored the bridge over the Rio Rincon, a few kilometers past the “town.”  This bridge is supposedly a good place for YELLOW-BILLED COTINGA.  We didn’t see any this afternoon.  From the bridge, we saw GREAT BLUE HERON, CINAMMON BECARD, BLACK-CROWNED & MASKED TITYRA, ROSEATE SPOONBILL, BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK, SCARLET MACAW, MANGROVE SWALLOW and GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN.

We slept at the Cabinas Golfo Dulce in Rincon.


Sat (7/9)  Rincon de Osa – Tarcol Lodge

We rented some kayaks from the cabin owner’s son and paddled through the mangroves up the Rio Rincon to the bridge.  On the way, we saw YELLOW (MANGROVE) WARBLER, MANGROVE HUMMINGBIRD, and finally a female YELLOW-BILLED COTINGA!  Around the cabins, there are some scrubby mangroves where some people have seen MANGROVE VIREO.  We did not, but did see BLUE-THROATED GOLDENTAIL, SCALY-BREASTED HUMMINGBIRD & WHITE HAWK.


We left after lunch and drove up to Jaco and then on to Tarcol Lodge.  Here we looked for the traditional PACIFIC SCREECH-OWL roost at the entrance.  There were 2 birding groups staying here: one from WINGS and one from BORDERLAND.  The screech-owl had changed roosts and the locals said it was still around….somewhere.  Great, but where?  A slight consolation was a FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL.


Sun (7/10)  Carara – Golfo de Nicoya – Curu/Paquera

This morning we birded Carara, but opted to bird the trails around the visitor center instead of the River Trail.  There is now a person that watches the cars at the River Trail (either a volunteer or park ranger) for a few dollars.  Around the ranger station we saw TURQUOISE-BROWED MOTMOT, BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR & BLUE GROSBEAK.  On the trails, we dipped on BAIRD’S TROGON (common on River Trail), but saw WHITE-WHISKERED PUFFBIRD, STREAK-CHESTED ANTPITTA, BLACK-HOODED ANTSHRIKE, RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN, YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER, RED-CAPPED MANAKIN and VIOLACEOUS & BLACK-THROATED TROGON.  Often these birds have territories and professional guides know these territories and take the birding tour groups to these locations.  If you keep a sharp eye open and know your bird calls, you can fine these viewing areas.  This is how I found the antpitta.  I knew the call and kept walking down the path and saw a little side path and clearing that headed in the direction of the calling bird.


We zoomed on up the highway to make the 11am ferry across the Golfo de Nicoya to Paquera.  Right away, we saw a few ROYAL TERNS & 1 CASPIAN TERN.  After another 5 minutes, I picked up a bird sitting on the water in front of the ferry.  It was an immature POMARINE JAEGER.  From there birding was slower than expected/hoped for; we saw mostly BROWN PELICANS & MAGNIFICANT FRIGATEBIRDS.  As we passed by Guayabo Island Reserve, we did have a flyby of 2 BROWN BOOBY and an immature BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY.  There were also a few COMMON TERNS sitting on floating logs.


We ate lunch and headed out to the Curu Reserve.  We rudely found out that it closes at 3pm and opens at 7am (no exceptions).  We tried calling 2 different numbers to see if we could get in a little early, but got no answer.  We birded along road and found some good birds a few kilometers past (SW) of the entrance to Curu.  Good birds were LONG-TAILED MANAKIN, WHITE-FRONTED PARROTS, ORANGE-FRONTED PARAKEETS, RUFOUS-AND-WHITE WREN, ROSE-THROATED BECARD, RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER, SCRUB EUPHONIA and heard a COLLARED FOREST-FALCON.  Moving down the road into some pasture land we picked up STIPED-HEADED SPARROW & DOUBLE-STRIPED THICK-KNEE.


Mon (7/11)  Curu – Golfo de Nicoya - Turrialba

We birded that same productive stretch of road until 7am and saw BLACK-HEADED TROGON, PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT, IVORY-BILLED WOODCREEPER & CANIVET’S EMERALD and heard WHITE-BELLIED CHACHALACAS at the top of the hill


We paid the $8pp Curu entrance fee, drove to the beach and walked along an upland trail.  Here we watched BANDED WRENS, OLIVE SPARROWS, YELLOW-GREEN VIREOS & WHITE-THROATED MAGPIE-JAYS.  We made a quick stop in the mangroves and I caught a quick glimpse of a NORTHERN SCRUB FLYCATCHER.  Of course, we were parked in the middle of the road with the doors wide open (typical birders) when another car came down the road.  Cursing my luck, I drove a ways before finding a suitable place to turn off and walk back.  Of course, the bird was long gone.


We ate a quick lunch while contemplating our next move.  Staying in the NW (dry tropical forest) wasn’t going to net us many more new birds.  We sort of struck out in the Caribbean lowlands, but access to primary forest was difficult.  The choice was return to Carara or try Rancho Naturalista.  Rancho was originally on the itinerary, but mainly due to the fact that one needed 4x4 to get there, we skipped it.  When I called, the owner Kathy Erb said unless I was driving a Mercedes low-rider, I could make it.  So, we hopped on the ferry and drove for 5 hrs to Turrialba.  It was dark and raining so we decided to try it in the morning when we could see.


Tues (7/12)  Rancho Naturalista

We arrived without a problem in our 2-wheel drive in time for the 5:30am breakfast.  Compared to the roads we had traveled on, this was a breath of fresh air.  There was a birding group from WINGS that Rich Hoyer was leading.  We met our guide Leo Garrigues.  This 20 yr old is an excellent birder and I recommend him; he has a little to learn about professional guiding and meshing with the leaders of professional birding groups, but he knows his birds.  Not only does he know where to find certain species, but in a place as visited as Rancho Naturalista, he knows which birds have been “taped out” and don’t respond and which birds do still respond.  From the balcony, we quickly racked up MONTEZUMA & CHESTNUT-HEADED OROPENDULA, GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA and many repeat hummingbirds.  On the path to the forest hummingbird feeders, we saw TAWNY-CHESTED FLYCATCHER, RUFOUS MOTMOT & ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW.  We heard a THICKET ANTPITTA within a few feet and Leo saw it, but Bob and I missed it.  While we were waiting, we called in a BLACK-THROATED WREN for stunning views.  Around 9am, we took a quick drive to the nearby Tuis Valley where on the road we spooked an amazingly close & vivid SUNBITTERN.  We also saw an immature BLACK HAWK-EAGLE & BLACK-AND-YELLOW TANAGER.  After lunch, we walked the paths behind the lodge again and add SLATY ANTWREN, TAWNY-CAPPED GREENLET & OLIVE TANAGER.  At 5pm we headed for the hummingbird bathing pools in the forest where a TAWNY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER sometimes comes in to bathe.  It did not show, but a BRONZE-TAILED PLUMLETEER did.


Wed (7/13)  Rancho Naturalista (Silencio) - Alajuela

We got up at 4am, had to wake up Leo and left around 4:25am.  We walked up the trail behind Rancho to get to the better birding areas at daylight while looking for owls in the process.  We heard MOTTLED OWL.  Leo almost stepped on a Jumping Pit viper.  We called in a PURPLISH-BACKED QUAIL-DOVE, WHITE-COLLARED MANAKIN, WHITE-CAPPED MANAKIN, DUSKY ANTBIRD, SPOTTED ANTBIRD, LONG-BILLED GNATWREN & BROWN-BILLED SCYTHEBILL.

We came back to the lodge for a quick breakfast before heading up to the Silencio area.  This is the area where Lovely Cotinga is seen in a particular orchard/pasture.  Only guests that are in good hiking shape should attempt this.  We did not have time to make it all the way, so we took an alternate trail that Leo had explored.  Along a ridge top, we added BLACK-AND-WHITE BECARD, RUFOUS-BROWED TYRANNULET, RED-FACED SPINETAIL & PURPLE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM.  After a box lunch, we headed back to Rancho and then departed to the airport from there.  We made to San Jose just in time for rush hour traffic.  It was great!  We didn’t get to Alajuela until after dark and finally found a suitable hotel.


Thur (7/14) Alajuela

As we headed out, we saw two more birds for the trip: a PLAIN-BREASTED GROUND-DOVE and CINAMMON HUMMINGIBIRD.  The airport tax for leaving the country was $26.



Heard only birds are in red.

Lifers for Russ have an asterisk. (*)


Great Tinamou

Dominical, La Selva, Braulio Carrillo, multiple


Little Tinamou

Heard only = San Vito, Golfito, Curu


Least Grebe

San Isidro de General


Pied-billed Grebe

Laguna Hule


Blue-footed Booby

Golfo de Nicoya


Brown Booby

Golfo de Nicoya


Brown Pelican

Multiple beaches


Neotropic Cormorant

Multiple beaches



Cano Negro, La Selva


Magnificent Frigatebird

Jaco, Golfito, Golfo de Nicoya


Least Bittern

La Selva


*Fasciated Tiger-Heron



Bare-throated Tiger-Heron

Esterillos, multiple


Great Blue Heron

Rincon de Osa


Great Egret

Jaco, multiple


Snowy Egret

Jaco, multiple


Little Blue Heron

Esterillos, Rincon de Osa


Tricolored Heron



Cattle Egret

Jaco, multiple


Green Heron

Jaco, multiple


Black-crowned Night-Heron

Cano Negro


Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Rincon de Osa


Boat-billed Heron

Esterillos, Cano Negro, Carara


White Ibis

Jaco, multiple


Green Ibis

Cano Negro, La Selva, Gavilan Lodge


Roseate Spoonbill

Esterillos, Rincon de Osa


Wood Stork



Black Vulture

Alajuela, multiple


Turkey Vulture

Alajuela, multiple


Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture

Cano Negro


King Vulture

Braulio, Golfito


Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Jaco, Esterillos, multiple


Muscovy Duck

Cano Negro


*Masked Duck

San Vito



Rincon de Osa


Hook-billed Kite



Swallow-tailed Kite

Dominical, Braulio, Esquinas, Rancho


White-tailed Kite

Alajuela, multiple


Double-toothed Kite

Carara, Golfito, Rancho


Plumbeous Kite

Carara, Cano Negro


Black-collared Hawk

Cano Negro


Tiny Hawk

Braulio (El Tapir)


Barred Hawk

Juan Castro NP, Braulio


White Hawk

Rincon de Osa


Gray Hawk



Mangrove Black-Hawk

Esterillos, Rincon de Osa


Roadside Hawk

Alajuela, multiple


Short-tailed Hawk

Juan Castro NP, Virgen, Golfito


Red-tailed Hawk

Cerro de la muerte


Black Hawk-Eagle

Rancho (immature)+C414


Ornate Hawk-Eagle



Barred Forest-Falcon

Heard only = Rio Negro (near San Vito)


Collared Forest-Falcon

Heard only = Curu/Paquera area


Crested Caracara

Esterillos, Golfito


Yellow-headed Caracara

Esterillos, San Isidro de General, multiple


Laughing Falcon

Cano Negro, La Selva, Golfito


Gray-headed Chachalaca

Rancho Naturalista


*White-bellied Chachalaca

Heard only = Curu/Paquera area


Crested Guan

Virgen, La Selva, San Vito


Black Guan

Poas, Juan Castro NP


Great Curassow

La Selva (pair)


*Black-breasted Wood-Quail

Juan Castro NP


Spotted Wood-Quail

Cerro de la muerte


White-throated Crake

San Vito (seen), multiple (heard)


Gray-necked Wood-Rail

Dominical, Cano Negro


Purple Gallinule

Cano Negro, La Selva, Golfito


Common Moorhen

San Vito





Double-striped Thick-Knee



Black-bellied Plover



Collared Plover

Esterillos, Rincon de Osa


Wilson's Plover



Northern Jacana

Esterillos, multiple





Spotted Sandpiper

Rincon de Osa



Esterillos, Rincon de Osa





Western Sandpiper

Rincon de Osa


Pomarine Jaeger

Golfo de Nicoya


Laughing Gull

Multiple beaches


Gull-billed Tern

Golfo de Nicoya


Caspian Tern

Golfo de Nicoya


Royal Tern

Golfo de Nicoya


Sandwich Tern

Golfo de Nicoya


Common Tern

Golfo de Nicoya


Rock Pigeon

Alajuela, multiple


Pale-vented Pigeon

Cano Negro, La Selva, multiple


Scaled Pigeon

Cano Negro


Red-billed Pigeon

Esterillos, Heredia, Rancho


Band-tailed Pigeon

Juan Castro NP, Cerro de la muerte


Short-billed Pigeon

Siquirres, Braulio, San Vito, Rancho


White-winged Dove

Alajuela, Puntarenas, Curu


Mourning Dove



Inca Dove



Plain-breasted Ground-Dove



Ruddy Ground-Dove

Jaco, multiple


Blue Ground-Dove

Cano Negro, La Selva


White-tipped Dove

Jaco, La Selva, multiple


Gray-fronted Dove

Cano Negro, Juan Castro NP


Gray-chested Dove

San Vito, Rancho


*Purplish-backed Quail-Dove



Ruddy Quail-Dove

Esquinas, Rincon de Osa


Sulfur-winged Parakeet



Crimson-fronted Parakeet

Heredia, multiple


Olive-throated Parakeet

Cano Negro


Orange-fronted Parakeet



*Great Green Macaw

Heard only = La Selva


Scarlet Macaw

Carara, Rincon de Osa


Barred Parakeet

Cerro de la muerte


Orange-chinned Parakeet

Esterillos, multiple


Brown-hooded Parrot

Cano Negro, Braulio, Golfito, Rancho


Blue-headed Parrot



White-crowned Parrot

La Selva, Rancho


White-fronted Parrot



Red-Lored Parrot

Esterillos, Cano Negro


Mealy Parrot

Cano Negro, multiple


Yellow-naped Parrot

Esterillos, Curu


Squirrel Cuckoo

Esterillos, Cano Negro, multiple


*Striped Cuckoo

Dominical, Esquinas, Curu, Rancho


Smooth-billed Ani

Esterillos, Rincon de Osa


Groove-billed Ani

Jaco, multiple


Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl

Tarcol Lodge


Mottled Owl

Heard only = Rancho


Striped Owl



Short-tailed Nighthawk

Esterillos, La Selva


Lesser Nighthawk

Esterillos, San Vito, Tarcol Lodge


Common Pauraque



Dusky Nightjar

Cerro de la muerte


Black Swift



White-collared Swift

Jaco, multiple


Vaux's Swift

Juan Castro NP, Curu


Costa Rican Swift (split BRSW)



Gray-rumped Swift

Virgen, La Selva


Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift

Esterillos, Rincon de Osa


Bronzy Hermit

La Selva, Esquinas, Carara


Band-tailed Barbthroat



Green Hermit

Braulio, San Vito, Carara, Rancho


Long-billed Hermit

La Selva, Golfito


Stripe-throated Hermit

Dominical, Braulio, Golfito


Scaly-breasted Hummingbird

Rincon de Osa, Carara


Violet Sabrewing

Juan Castro NP, La Cascada Café, multiple


White-necked Jacobin

Esquinas, Rancho


*Brown Violet-ear

La Cascada Café, Rancho


Green Violet-ear

La Cascada Café, Cerro de la muerte


Green-breasted Mango

Cano Negro, Rancho


Violet-headed Hummingbird

La Selva, Braulio, Rancho


Black-crested Coquette

La Selva, Rancho


Green Thorntail

La Cascada Café, Braulio, Rancho


Canivet's Emerald

Curu (female)


Violet-crowned Woodnymph

Dominical, Virgen, La Selva, multiple


Fiery-throated Hummingbird

Poas, Cerro de la muerte


Blue-throated Goldentail

Rincon de Osa


Blue-chested Hummingbird

La Selva


Charming Hummingbird



Mangrove Hummingbird

Rincon de Osa


Steely-vented Hummingbird

San Isidro de Heredia


*Snowy-bellied Hummingbird

Buenos Aires, San Vito


Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Jaco, multiple


Cinnamon Hummingbird



Striped-tailed Hummingbird

San Vito


Black-bellied Hummingbird

La Cascada Café


Coppery-headed Emerald

La Cascada Café



Braulio (El Tapir), Rancho


Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer

La Selva, Rancho


White-bellied Mountain-gem

La Cascada Café, Rancho


Purple-throated Mountain-gem

Rancho (female)


White-throated Mountain-gem



Green-crowned Brilliant

Juan Castro NP, Rancho


Magnificent Hummingbird

Poas, La Cascada Café, Cerro de la muerte


Purple-crowned Fairy

Braulio, Golfito, Rancho


*Plain-capped Starthroat



Volcano Hummingbird

Cerro de la muerte


Scintillant Hummingbird

Juan Castro NP


Black-headed Trogon



Violaceous Trogon

Carara, La Selva, San Vito


Collared Trogon

Juan Castro NP, Savegre, Rancho


Black-throated Trogon

Carara, Rancho


Slaty-tailed Trogon

La Selva, Golfito, Carara


*Lattice-tailed Trogon

Braulio (El Tapir)


Resplendent Quetzal

Savegre, Cerro de la muerte


Blue-crowned Motmot

San Vito, Carara


Rufous Motmot

La Selva, Braulio, Rancho


Broad-billed Motmot

Heard only = Braulio (El Tapir)


Turquoise-browed Motmot

Carara, Curu


Ringed Kingfisher

Dominical, multiple


Belted Kingfisher

Cano Negro


Amazon Kingfisher

Esterillos, multiple


Green Kingfisher

Esterillos, multiple


American Pygmy Kingfisher

Cano Negro


White-whiskered Puffbird



Red-headed Barbet

Juan Castro NP, Virgen


Prong-billed Barbet

Poas, Juan Castro NP


Blue-throated Toucanet

Juan Castro NP


Collared Aracari

Cano Negro, Virgen, Curu, Rancho


Fiery-billed Aracari

Jaco, Carara, Rincon


Keel-billed Toucan

Cano Negro, Virgen, Rancho


Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Jaco, multiple


Acorn Woodpecker



Golden-naped Woodpecker

San Vito, Golfito


Black-cheeked Woodpecker

La Selva


Red-crowned Woodpecker

Dominical, San Vito


Hoffmann's Woodpecker

Cano Negro, Curu


Hairy Woodpecker

Cerro de la muerte


Rufous-winged Woodpecker

La Selva, Braulio


Lineated Woodpecker

Cano Negro


*Slaty Spinetail

La Selva, San Vito


Red-faced Spinetail



Ruddy Treerunner

Juan Castro NP, Braulio, Cerro de la muerte


Buffy Tuftedcheek

Cerro de la muerte


Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner

Virgen, Esquinas, Rancho


Streak-breasted Treehunter

Juan Castro NP


Plain Xenops

Dominical Cano Negro, Golfito, Rancho


Plain-brown Woodcreeper

La Selva, Rancho


Tawny-winged Woodcreeper



Olivaceous Woodcreeper

Juan Castro NP, Virgen, Rancho


Wedge-billed Woodcreeper

Juan Castro NP, La Selva, Braulio, multiple


Cocoa Woodcreeper

Dominical, La Selva, multiple


Ivory-billed Woodcreeper



Black-striped Woodcreeper

La Selva, Golfito


Spotted Woodcreeper

Virgen, Braulio


Streak-headed Woodcreeper

Carara, La Selva, Golfito, Curu


Spot-crowned Woodcreeper

Poas, Juan Castro NP, Savegre


Brown-billed Scythebill



Fasciated Antshrike

La Selva (female)


Barred Antshrike

Cano Negro, Siquirres, Curu


Black-hooded Antshrike

Carara, Golfito, Dominical


Western Slaty Antshrike

San Vito


Russet Antshrike

Braulio, Rancho


*Plain Antvireo

Virgen, Rancho


*Streak-crowned Antvireo



*Checker-throated Antwren



Slaty Antwren



Dot-winged Antwren

Esquinas, Carara


Dusky Antbird

La Selva


Chestnut-backed Antbird

Carara, La Selva, Braulio, Golfito


*Spotted Antbird

Rancho (ID from voice by Leo Garrigues)


Bicolored Antbird



Black-faced Antthrush

San Vito


*Streak-chested Antpitta



*Thicket Antpitta

Heard only = Rancho


*Silvery-fronted Tapaculo

Heard only = Juan Castro NP, Cerro, Rancho


Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet



Yellow-bellied Eleania

San Vito, Rancho


*Lesser Eleania

Buenos Aires, San Vito, Golfito


Mountain Eleania

Poas, Cerro de la muerte


Torrent Tyrannulet



Olive-striped Flycatcher

Virgen, Rancho


Ochre-bellied Flycatcher

La Selva, Braulio, Golfito, Carara, Rancho


Slaty-capped Flycatcher

San Vito, Rancho


*Rufous-browed Tyrannulet



Rough-legged Tyrannulet

Savegre, Rancho


Paltry Tyrannulet

Cano Negro, Virgen, multiple


*Northern Scrub Flycatcher

Curu mangroves


Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant

Juan Castro NP, Braulio, Golfito, Rancho


Common Tody-Flycatcher

Cano Negro, La Selva, multiple


*Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher



Eye-ringed Flatbill

San Vito, Rancho (copulating)


Yellow-olive Flycatcher

Carara, Golfito


Yellow-margined Flycatcher

La Selva


Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher

San Vito, Rancho


Bran-colored Flycatcher



*Tawny-chested Flycatcher



Tufted Flycatcher

Juan Castro NP, Braulio, Cerro, Rancho


Dark Pewee

Juan Castro NP, Braulio


Western Wood-Pewee



Tropical Pewee

Cano Negro, La Selva, Rancho


Yellowish Flycatcher

Savegre, Rancho


Black-capped Flycatcher

Cerro de la muerte


Black Phoebe

Juan Castro NP, Virgen, San Isidro, Rancho


Long-tailed Tyrant

Siquirres, Cerro de la muerte


Bright-rumped Attila

Juan Castro NP, Virgen, La Selva, Rancho


Rufous Mourner

Dominical, EARTH, San Vito, Rancho


Dusky-capped Flycatcher

La Selva, EARTH, Golfito


Great Kiskadee

Jaco, multiple


Boat-billed Flycatcher

Jaco, multiple


Social Flycatcher

Jaco, multiple


Gray-capped Flycatcher

La Selva, multiple


White-ringed Flycatcher

La Selva


*Golden-bellied Flycatcher

Juan Castro NP, Virgen


Streaked Flycatcher

Esterillos, Juan Castro NP, multiple


Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher



Piratic Flycatcher



Tropical Kingbird

Jaco, multiple


Fork-tailed Flycatcher

San Isidro de General


Thrushlike Schiffornis

Heard only = San Vito


Gray-headed Piprites



Barred Becard

Juan Castro NP


Cinnamon Becard

La Selva, Rincon de Osa


White-winged Becard

San Vito


Black-and-white Becard

Rancho (female)


Rose-throated Becard



Masked Tityra

Quepos, Juan Castro NP, Golfito


Black-crowned Tityra

Esterillos, Siquirres, Esquinas, Curu


*Yellow-billed Cotinga

Rincon de Osa


White-collared Manakin

Cano Negro, La Selva, Rancho


Orange-collared Manakin



White-ruffed Manakin

San Vito, Rancho


*Long-tailed Manakin

Curu (female)


White-crowned Manakin



Blue-crowned Manakin



Red-capped Manakin



Yellow-winged Vireo

Juan Castro NP, Cerro de la muerte


Brown-capped Vireo

Juan Castro NP, Savegre


Yellow-green Vireo

Curu, Rancho


*Scrub Greenlet



Tawny-crowned Greenlet



Lesser Greenlet

Carara, La Selva, San Vito, multiple


Green Shrike-Vireo



White-throated Magpie-Jay



Brown Jay

Esterillos, Juan Castro NP, multiple


Gray-breasted Martin

Esterillos, multiple


Mangrove Swallow

Esterillos, multiple


Blue-and-white Swallow

Dominical, Heredia, multiple


Southern Rough-winged Swallow

Dominical, La Selva, San Vito, Golfito, Rancho


Band-backed Wren

La Selva


Rufous-naped Wren

Esterillos, Dominical, Curu


Black-throated Wren



*Black-bellied Wren



Bay Wren

La Selva


Riverside Wren

Dominical, Golfito


Stripe-breasted Wren

Braulio, Rancho


Rufous-breasted Wren

Carara, Golfito, Esquinas


Rufous-and-white Wren



Banded Wren



Plain Wren

San Isidro de General


House Wren

Esterillos, multiple


Ochraceous Wren

Cerro de la muerte


Timberline Wren

Cerro de la muerte


White-breasted Wood-Wren

La Selva, San Vito, Rancho


Gray-breasted Wood-Wren

Juan Castro NP, Virgen, Braulio, Rancho


Scaly-breasted Wren

Heard only = Virgen, San Vito


American Dipper



Tawny-faced Gnatwren

Braulio, San Vito


Long-billed Gnatwren



Tropical Gnatcatcher

Jaco, multiple


Black-faced Solitaire

Juan Castro NP


Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush

Poas, Cerro de la muerte


Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush

San Isidro de Heredia, San Vito


*Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush



Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush



Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush

Braulio, Rancho


Sooty Robin

Poas, Cerro de la muerte


Mountain Robin

Poas, Juan Castro NP


Pale-vented Thrush



Clay-colored Robin

Jaco, multiple


White-throated Robin



Black-and-yellow Silky-Flycatcher

Cerro de la muerte


*Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher

Cerro de la muerte


Flame-throated Warbler

Juan Castro NP, Cerro de la muerte


Tropical Parula

Virgen, San Vito, Rancho


Yellow Warbler

Rincon de Osa (mangrove subspecies)


Olive-crowned Yellowthroat

Laguna Hule


*Masked Yellowthroat

San Vito


Gray-crowned Yellowthroat

Jaco, Buenos Aires


Slate-throated Redstart

Juan Castro NP, Virgen, Cerro, San Vito, Rancho


Collared Redstart

Juan Castro NP, Savegre


Golden-crowned Warbler

Virgen, Rancho


Rufous-capped Warbler

Curu, Rancho


Black-cheeked Warbler

Cerro de la muerte


Three-striped Warbler

Juan Castro NP


Buff-rumped Warbler

Virgen, San Vito, Golfito, Rancho



Dominical, multiple


Common Bush-Tanager

Juan Castro NP, Virgen, Rancho


Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager

Poas, Cerro de la muerte


Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager



Black-and-yellow Tanager



Dusky-faced Tanager



Olive Tanager



Gray-headed Tanager

Golfito, Carara


White-shouldered Tanager

Braulio, Golfito


Tawny-crested Tanager



White-lined Tanager

Virgen, Rancho


Red-crowned Ant-Tanager

San Vito (female)


Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager



Hepatic Tanager



Flame-colored Tanager

Cerro de la muerte


Crimson-collared Tanager



Passerini's Tanager

Cano Negro, Virgen, multiple


Cherrie's Tanager

Dominical, multiple


Blue-gray Tanager

Jaco, multiple


Palm Tanager

Esterillos, multiple


Scrub Euphonia



Yellow-crowned Euphonia

Esterillos, Golfito


Thick-billed Euphonia

Dominical, San Vito


Spot-crowned Euphonia



Olive-backed Euphonia

La Selva


White-vented Euphonia

Juan Castro NP


Tawny-capped Euphonia

Braulio, Rancho


*Golden-browed Chlorophonia

Juan Castro NP, Savegre


Emerald Tanager

Virgen, San Isidro de General


Silver-throated Tanager

Juan Castro NP, Virgen, multiple


Speckled Tanager

Virgen, San Vito, Rancho


Bay-headed Tanager

Virgen, San Vito, Golfito, Rancho


Golden-hooded Tanager

Dominical, Cano Negro, La Selva, multiple


Scarlet-thighed Dacnis

Virgen, San Vito


Blue Dacnis

Dominical, San Vito


Green Honeycreeper

Braulio, San Vito, Golfito, Rancho


Shining Honeycreeper

Virgen, Golfito


Red-legged Honeycreeper

Cano Negro, Rincon de Osa


Blue-black Grassquit

Jaco, multiple


Variable Seedeater

Jaco, La Selva, multiple


White-collared Seedeater



Yellow-bellied Seedeater

San Isidro de General, San Vito


Ruddy-breasted Seedeater

Cano Negro, Esquinas


*Nicaraguan Seed-Finch

La Selva


Thick-billed Seed-Finch

Dominical, La Selva, Golfito


Yellow-faced Grassquit

Juan Castro NP, Savegre, multiple


Slaty Flowerpiercer

Poas, Braulio, Cerro de la muerte


Yellow-thighed Finch

Poas, Juan Castro NP, Cerro de la muerte


Large-footed Finch

Poas, Cerro de la muerte


Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch

Juan Castro NP, Virgen, San Isidro de General


Orange-billed Sparrow

Carara, La Selva, Golfito, Rancho


Olive Sparrow



Black-striped Sparrow

Cano Negro, La Selva, Golfito


*Prevost's Ground-Sparrow

San Isidro de Heredia


*White-eared Ground-Sparrow

San Isidro de Heredia


Stripe-headed Sparrow



Rufous-collared Sparrow

Heredia, multiple


Volcano Junco

Cerro de la muerte


*Streaked Saltator

San Vito


Grayish Saltator

Cano Negro


Buff-throated Saltator

Carara, La Selva, San Vito, multiple


Black-headed Saltator

Laguna Hule, Rancho


Black-faced Grosbeak

Braulio, Rancho


Blue-black Grosbeak



Blue Grosbeak



Red-winged Blackbird

Cano Negro, La Selva


Red-breasted Blackbird



Eastern Meadowlark

Esterillos, multiple


Melodious Blackbird



Great-tailed Grackle

Alajuela, multiple


*Nicaraguan Grackle

Cano Negro, Los Chiles


Bronzed Cowbird

Dominical, Juan Castro NP, multiple


Black-cowled Oriole

La Selva


Yellow-tailed Oriole

La Selva


Yellow-billed Cacique

Cano Negro, La Selva, Rancho


Scarlet-rumped Cacique

La Selva, Brauilio


Chestnut-headed Oropendola



Montezuma Oropendola

Juan Castro NP, Virgen, Rancho


Yellow-bellied Siskin

Cerro de la muerte


Lesser Goldfinch

Buenos Aires, San Vito


House Sparrow



by Russ Namitz 
Coos Bay, Oregon
namitzr AT

Birding Top 500 Counter