TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
Saturday 2 - Sunday 17 March 2002
For most in the group the close proximity of many wonderful birds and animals had to be top of the highlight list:
a male Resplendent Quetzal posing beautifully only a few feet from us while its mate called gently, close by.
a flight of Roseate Spoonbills dropping into a pool to roost.
the first pairs of Scarlet Macaws high above us as they flew over the jungle calling loudly.
Black Skimmers sitting on a mud-bank waiting for the tide to drop.
a lek of Collared Manakins doing their incredible wing-cracking, electric display-flights around us.
an Agami Heron secretly fishing in the gloom under dense foliage above a stream.
several Tamandua anteaters snuffling up their food.
or a Spider Monkey demonstrating the use of a prehensile tail in modern gymnastics.
For others it was a slightly bigger picture:
all six species of Toucans seen in the trip.
mixed flocks of American wood warblers.
brightly-coloured tanagers flitting around fruiting trees or feeding stations.
the challenge of identifying 33 different kinds of hummingbird or 46 species of tyrant flycatcher.
huge kettles of hawks and vultures migrating to their breeding grounds in North America.
And for everyone the thrill of being in true rain forest, water dripping from the vast trees after a shower, was almost indescribable.
Five different major habitats, plus many micro-habitats, in a country with such a vast biodiversity as Costa Rica were guaranteed to produce a long list of birds and mammals.
We began at high altitude in the thin air of montane oak forests where nights were cold and days cool as we started the great adventure based in the Trogon Lodge. Magnificent oaks dominated the views as they grew to great heights while clinging to steep valley sides. Moss and bromeliads festooned the trees. Here we found Collared Redstart, Flame-throated Warbler, Buffy Tufted-cheek, Mountain Robin and Band-tailed Pigeon, as expected.
At La Selva Biological Station we entered true lowland rain forest and experienced the micro-habitats of understory (with its large-leaved palms and herbs where Great Tinamou, Antbirds and White-whiskered Puffbirds dwell) sunlight-dappled forest streams (with their large leaved Heliconias and vine tangles) in which Agami Herons fish, and an open cacao plantation trail on which we saw Long-tailed Tyrants and Pied Puffbird.
Close to the Volcán Arenal we entered lower-middle elevation moist-wet forest with its understory of woody shrubs above which Spider Monkeys swung and Ruddy Woodcreepers joined Rufous-and-white Wrens and Golden-winged Warblers.
Crossing to the dry northern Pacific coast at La Ensenada a mixture of habitats was explored. Trees in the basic tropical dry forest of Guanacaste were leafless making the birding easier as were found Banded Wren, Black-headed Trogon and Scrub Euphonia. Forest was interspersed with burnt savannah-pastureland where Crested Caracara, Rufous-naped Wren and White-throated Magpie-jays entertained us. The seasonal marshes were wet attracting waders, Roseate Spoonbills, White Ibis, ducks and Wood Stork. Mangrove swamps were explored by boat at high tide to find Boat-billed heron, Mangrove Warbler, Mangrove Vireo and Mangrove Swallow, while the low tide mudflats of the Tempisque Basin produced Brown Pelicans, waders, gulls, terns and Black Skimmers.
The Tárcoles River marks a divide between the dry northern Guanacaste region. In the Carara National Park's wetter rain forest of the Pacific coast with its massive trees with their tall clean boles and impressive buttresses, home of the Neotropical speciality families of antbirds, manakins (including the Long-tailed Manakin) and Crane Hawk.
Saturday 2 March
We met at Heathrow and had a good BA flight to Miami. Here we were delayed by two hours but took advantage of the time to acquaint ourselves of each other and start our lists with a few birds such as Ring-billed Gulls, Common and Boat-tailed Grackles.
We arrived in San José at about 9pm where we were met by José Calvo and Juan Carlos Rodriguez, our driver. At the Hotel Torremolinos we were welcomed with a fruit cocktail and canapés.
Sunday 3 March
What a wonderful way to start this holiday, we all agreed as the evening call-over finished. It had been super.
Several of us went down to a park close to the hotel at 6am to get the ball rolling. Blue-crowned Motmot, Clay-coloured Robin, Costa Rica's national bird, Great Kiskadee, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, seen by Jac in the hotel garden, Yellow Warbler, White-tipped Doves, Mealy Parrot and Orange-chinned Parakeet were just the start.
Blue-and-white Swallows, Rufous-collared Sparrows, Blue-grey Tanager and Red-billed Pigeon were all seen by those who did not come out... from the balcony outside the rooms.
José joined us for breakfast and we were soon enjoying driving through central San José which was quiet as it was Sunday.
A Broad-winged Hawk and a White-tailed Kite were seen on the drive to Tapanti Wildlife Refuge where the birding started in earnest.
Our first stop was to examine woven, bottle-shaped nests of Chestnut-headed Oropendola hanging from a tree. The birds were active around the colony, occasionally chasing Giant Cowbirds which parasitise them. Len found a Yellow-faced Grassquit in coffee bushes below the tree. Further stops were made to watch several flycatchers - Black Phoebe and Dark Pewee - flocks of White-collared Swifts and Passerini's Tanager, later nicknamed 'liar, liar, pants on fire' because of the males' red rumps.
Our first feeding flock of birds was exciting, difficult and rewarding (as were all the others which followed). Common Bush-tanager, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Three-striped Warbler, Black-fronted Solitaire and Pronged Barbet were all flitting past our eyes. A Black-bellied Hummingbird stopped by long enough for José to point out the identification features while a Grey-breasted Wren sang in deep undergrowth.
The River Humo was our next stop and we all enjoyed watching the activities of Torrent Tyrannulet and American Dipper. José called us over to see a perched Green-fronted Lancebill which was stunning in the scopes. The second feeding party we watched included Hairy Woodpecker, Blackburnian, Golden-winged and Black-and-white Warblers, Ruddy Treerunner, Buffy Tuftedcheek, a Silvery-fronted Tapaculo heard in the undergrowth plus Violet Sabrewing and White-throated Mountain-gem representing the hummers.
After stopping to watch Band-tailed Pigeon and a perched Osprey, we had a super lunch at the Kiri Lodge where everyone agreed that a bird-walk between ordering and receiving our meal was a great innovation, especially as we saw White-throated Robin, Vaux's Swifts, Montezuma Oropendola, Wilson's Warbler, Yellow-bellied Elaenia and Tropical Kingbird in the 10 minutes.
The long drive to the San Gerardo de Dota Valley in the Cerro de la Muerte highlands was punctuated with calls for Eastern Meadowlark and another White-tailed Kite. Mountain Robins were seen flitting through the bushes above 8, 000ft. Dropping into the valley we concluded our day with a walk down the road which produced Volcano Junco, Sooty Robin, superb views of Flame-throated Warbler, a female Scintillant Hummingbird found by Alec, and a Flame-coloured Tanager.
Our last bird of the day was a Pauraque which dropped onto the road in our headlights as we drove into Trogon Lodge at 6.20pm. Even by the Trogon Lodge's cool standards it was cold night and the following day José's wife told him that temperatures in San José had been very low too.
Monday 4 March
It was an excited group which met at 6am for our pre-breakfast walk - the setting was delightful, birds were busily feeding after the cold night and we were hunting one of the most eagerly sought birds of the trip, the Resplendent Quetzal.
And within minutes we were watching a pair, hardly believing our luck. Their attempts to thrill us were pretty typical. The male sat in a tree 10 metres away looking breathtakingly stunning while the female perched on a tree stump 40 metres up the valley and called quietly to him. Without doubt, their close proximity in the open was giving us the best possible views.
'Quetzals are Trogons and they never do much other than look beautiful, a bit like super-models of the bird world, ' Tim explained. Nobody cared. They were brilliant, the male's one-metre-long tail streamers were fluttering in the light breeze, green crest erect, his black eye was catching the light perfectly. The birds cared about the remark, however. The female flew to another stump next to her perch and was immediately joined by the male, his streamers waving. 'Ooooh! I can see his red rump, ' Megan exclaimed. The birds explored the potential nest site and we were all amazed.
It was that sort of morning, however. Mike had watched a Sooty-capped Bush-tanager feeding on insects around the light outside his cabin, a habit picked up by a Yellow-thighed Finch on the veranda outside the lodge restaurant, which we all watched. The first of six Black-billed Nightingale-thrushes showed well on the path for some of the group and a Mountain Robin gave us all great views perched on a stump. A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, sadly sporting a white tail, circled overhead as we returned for breakfast. Even that was punctuated by stops for Volcano and Magnificent Hummingbirds which were coming into feeders on the veranda.
Our walk was continued after breakfast and rewarded with super views of Rufous-collared Redstart, found by Martin, Olive-streaked and Black-capped Flycatchers and an Acorn Woodpecker picked up feeding on a distant stump by Alec. A Swallow-tailed Kite glimpsed by Len disappeared, but then returned with two more. They passed us low overhead giving wonderful views.
We stopped the bus half way up the valley to see the first of about 30 Long-tailed Silky-flycatchers and were suddenly joined by another male Resplendent Quetzal. This made our pre-booked visit to Finca Mirador Quetzales somewhat ironic as the farm was where we were supposed to see the Quetzal. Another two males and a female were added to our list as we hiked the finca's woodland trails but views were more typical with birds higher in the trees.
It made no difference to our elated mood which was boosted by good sightings of Green-crowned Chlorophonia, Yellow-winged vireo, lots of Wilson's Warblers and a Black and Yellow Silky Flycatcher. A rare Ochraceous Pewee, looking like a large Tufted Flycatcher, was the bird of the day for José who had seen only two before.
During lunch at the farm Oscar, our guide on the hike, brought us two Quetzal tail feathers he had found on the ground a few days earlier, allowing us to see the amazing iridescent colours in the hand.
We went up to 12,500ft in an unsuccessful search for Timberline Wren among the stiff broom-like dwarf bamboo Swallenochloa stands before walking a private trail to the lodge. An adult Red-tailed Hawk showed us why it is named while a Black Guan rested above the group for a few seconds before scooting off into the jungle. Our last group bird was a Ruddy-capped Nightingale-thrush which hopped down the path in front of us for some distance.
The rest of the afternoon was spent around the lodge. Some people watched hummers on the veranda, sipping drinks, while others went out to test their new-found birding skills.
One such trip resulted in fabulous views of Spot-crowned Woodcreeper for Mary, Martin and Jac. They also saw the Resplendent Quetzals examining the potential nest site the birds had found that morning. The female went into the hole low in the stump and was throwing out detritus while the male watched from on top of the stump.
It had been another super day.
Tuesday 5 March
A change of plan was to bring about a wonderful afternoon exploring Braulio Carrillo National Park on our way to Selva Verde Lodge. We cut short the birding around Trogon Lodge, limiting ourselves to an excellent pre-breakfast walk and a short stop to admire another male Resplendent Quetzal.
The walk produced no new birds and the Quetzals admired yesterday had not returned. We were able to reinforce some of the bird identification lessons learned the previous day, however. The first Spot-crowned Woodcreeper for many was found
We found a feeding flock of birds which included Yellow-thighed Finch, Mountain Elaenia, Tufted Flycatcher, Rufous-collared Redstart, Black-and-white, Wilson's and Black-throated Green Warblers. Another Rufous-crowned Nightingale-thrush on the path was joined by its mate briefly.
A couple of Ruddy Pigeon were disturbed from the road in front of us as we left the lodge but we all had good views as it was easy to move around the spacious bus. We stopped and disembarked for our eighth Resplendent Quetzal, however.
Lunch was had in a roadside restaurant as we waited for rain to stop. As ever in Costa Rica, a stop meant new birds and we teased out Masked Tityra, a female Summer Tanager, Blue-black Grassquit and Buff-throated Saltator from the surrounding bush and trees.
The pause meant that the rain had stopped for us and we entered Braulio Carrillo National Park with great expectations. We did not get far. A feeding party of birds passed over the rangers' accommodation and our first 15 minutes were spent by the bus gasping at the brilliance of Emerald Tanager, Black-faced Grosbeak, Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Violet-crowned Woodnymph and an Olive-winged Woodpecker.
An adventure and wonderful wildlife experience began the moment we stepped into the dripping lowland rainforest. A Blue Morpho butterfly landed on a leaf close to José but was ignored as he started pointing out birds. Stripe-breasted Wren, Orange-billed Sparrow and Lesser Greenlet were all seen in the first stop.
The birds were an incidental, however, to the experience of being in such magnificent forest. It was the top experience for many group members. José and Tim were working hard on the birds and a host of new species was recorded. One flock included Squirrel Cuckoo, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Tawny-faced Gnatwren and Russet Antshrike, while a stop to examine the view across a steep valley produced Tawny-crested Tanager and a Slate-throated Redstart.
A Broad-billed Motmot was bird of the day for many until the following occurred: The cold night of two days ago had forced some birds down from the hills and we were delighted when José spotted a Central American (Least) Pygmy-owl high in the canopy. We had wonderful views of the bird as it looked down on us.
Even this star bird did not stop the show completely as a Yellow-eared Toucanet delighted us all. The walk ended all too soon, after almost three hours, and we continued to Selva Verde Lodge and our rustic cabins on stilts.
Wednesday 6 March
It was clear from the start that we were going to have a great day. Our pre-breakfast walk at Selva Verde Lodge started on the bridge across the River Sarapiqui where we saw a nesting Fasciated Tiger-heron, Little Blue Heron and our first Chestnut-mandibled Toucan. Grey-breasted Wood-rail was seen in the grounds along with Red-throated Ant-tanager.
Crossing the road into the hotel's gardens we soon picked up Collared Aracari, Green Honeycreeper, Golden-hooded Tanager and a super pair of Black-headed Tody-flycatchers which had a nest high in a leafless tree. Progress was slow as birds popped up around us: Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Common Tody-flycatcher, Violaceous and Slaty-tailed Trogon plus several Chestnut-sided Warblers were all firsts. Martin renamed a Paltry Tyrannulet 'Darren' as it was more charismatic.
We decided to hurry back to the restaurant in order to get off for the day but the short walk still took 30 minutes as Purple-crowned Fairy, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Red-throated Ant-tanager and Olive-throated Parakeet conspired to hold us up. Three Black River Turtles were swimming in one of the streams running around the lodge.
A Chestnut-backed Antbird was found between the restaurant and our rooms after breakfast and we set off for La Selva Biological Station in high spirits. They were raised even further when House Sparrow was added to the list on the way. Cocoa Woodcreeper (also known as Buff-throated - who changes these names?) White-winged Tanager, Variable Seedeater, and Plain-breasted Ground-dove were all watched on the short entrance road we planned to explore in depth the following day.
We met our guide for the day, Erick Castro, and set off for the rain forest. Well, not exactly set off... it took another half-hour to leave the reception area as Banaquit, Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, Grey-rumped Swift, Grey-breasted Martin, a stunning female Snowy Cotinga and an Olive-backed Euphonia were all recorded.
The walk across a suspension bridge and into the forest was no quicker as Osprey, Chestnut-collared Woodpecker, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, two Central American Whiptail lizards and lots of Green Iguanas toasting themselves in trees, were added to our lists. After seeing House Wren, two King Vultures and several Red-and-blue and Green Poison-dart frogs, we finally entered the rain forest. It was raining as a heavy shower went over making for a perfect atmosphere.
Still dripping, we watched a Great Tinamou and his chick picking their way through the undergrowth as a mixed feeding flock of birds passed overhead. This produced Shining Honeycreeper, White-collared Manakin, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis and many other species already seen on the trip.
Walking onwards we were struck by the silence and lack of activity between feeding flocks. Indeed, the only other bird added to our ever-growing tally was a Black-striped Woodcreeper. A Rainforest Hog-nosed Pit-viper coiled by the path looked like something one might not want to tread in as it waited patiently for passing prey, and the mammal find of the morning was discovered by Juan-Carlos as we turned around to return - a superb, feeding Tamadura anteater. Slender and Ground Anoli lizards were seen on the return to the restaurant.
Costa Rica coffee after lunch was taken looking out from the restaurant plaza. With excitement, we were rewarded by a Short-tailed Hawk which flew low over the centre, doing a short circuit, Black-cowled Oriole and Social Flycatcher.
Once again it was difficult to reach the forest as we discovered a feeding flock only 100metres from the restaurant. Barred Woodcreeper, White-winged Becard, Fasciated Antshrike, Tennessee Warbler, our twelfth species of this glorious group, and another Collared Aracari were all in one vine-covered tree.
As a Peregrine wheeled overhead we entered an area of open cacao plantation where stops were made for a number of species. Top of the list was a pair of Long-tailed Tyrants, beautiful black birds with white caps and stunning long tails twice the length of their bodies. One was in a nest hole peeping out at us while its mate sat close by. Inspections finished, they both hawked flies vigorously before disappearing. A brilliant Pied Puffbird was our next highlight and again magnificent views were had through the 'scopes.
Mike spotted raptors at a great distance and with some difficulty we were able to make out a flock of about 30 Swainson's and Broad-winged Hawks accompanied by Turkey Vultures. The views were poor, however, and we walked back towards the biological station discussing the possibility of seeing hawk migration in the coming days.
Birds stopped all that as again we connected with a feeding flock. Listing its contents makes this report seem a little tedious but we were again struggling to identify all the birds in it, surely one of the great challenges of Neotropical birding. The rewards included Olive-backed Euphonia, Yellow-margined Flycatcher, Dusky-faced Tanager, Yellow-throated Vireo and Band-backed Wren.
There were more but suddenly our attention was caught by the sight of a huge kettle of raptors soaring upwards in a thermal. Hundreds of birds were in it. Scopes revealed hundreds of Turkey Vultures, with smaller numbers of Swainson's Hawks and fewer still Broad-winged Hawks. The birds reached the top of their thermal and spilled out towards us, passing high over our heads.
Behind them another wave was forming a distant kettle and soon these too were coming over, except they were overtaken by yet another group. All were heading northwards. This was raptor migration at its most exciting. For the next half-hour we saw an estimated 5,000 Turkey Vultures, 3,000 Swainson's and 150 Broad-winged Hawks. It was an overwhelming sight and as the movement finished we asked Erick if we could return to the restaurant for a cup of tea.
Even then the show did not finish. Drinking our cuppas on the plaza a Peregrine came past while White-crowned Parrot, Plain-coloured Tanager and Palm Tanager were seen.
We thanked Erick for his help and headed for home.
Our total of birds for the day was 98 species and most of us had spinning heads.
Thursday 7 March
Costa Rica's biodiversity was demonstrated on our early morning walk in which we had planned to visit a pool in the gardens. So many birds popped up that we never made it past the entrance to the gardens.
The day started with a stunning male Snowy Cotinga sitting in a tree above the restaurant. Mary and Martin popped off to see another Tamandua anteater while views from the bridge produced Green Kingfisher.
A Bay Wren was calling n the garden and our first Keel-billed Toucan was found in a high tree. José heard a Bright-rumped Attila and we managed to find the bird, which can be elusive. Tim found an Agouti which was uncharacteristically shy but a Deppe's Squirrel was more obliging.
The journey back to La Selva Biological Station took only about 10 minutes but that was long enough for a Bat Falcon to be spotted high in a tree. It eventually dived at a bird nearby demonstrating its Hobby-like flight. A Peregrine went overhead to contrast the appearances.
Erick was again on hand for our walk on the wild side and starting the jungle section was quicker because we had seen many birds at the start. Four Crested Guans, Blue-chested Hummingbird and White-lined Tanagers by the restaurant were all trip species, however.
A super Agami Heron - the first recorded on the reserve this year - was watched fishing in deep shade in a stream while a Band-tailed Barbthroat nest, suspended from a broad leaf, had a chick which was fed by a visiting adult.
We connected with the edge of an Army Ant swarm but were unable to get close due to the terrain. Several birds were active around it and Ocellated Antbird was seen well. Erick demonstrated his extraordinary eyesight and skill with a 'scope by getting everyone good views of Black-capped Pygmy-tyrant and Double-toothed Kite.
After lunch, as a break from neck-straining forest birding, we walked the approach road to the station which was teeming with birds (and rather rude Belgian birders). By now many were familiar and everyone was finding and calling birds, which had the leaders hopping rapidly from one place to another. Black-capped Tityra, Dusky-capped Flycatcher and Pale Vented Pigeon were identified for the first time, as was a Groove-billed Ani, and a pair of American Redstarts. Mary called a Crimson-collared Tanager and a hummer perched was identified as Bronze-tailed Plumleteer, once known as Red-footed Plumleteer. A Wedge-billed Woodcreeper was seen well.
As the day closed many parrots were flying around calling loudly, among them Orange-chinned Parakeet and Mealy Parrot. The day ended with a mini-class on seed-eaters and finches as we found Nicaraguan Seed-finch (another strange name-changed from the more descriptive Pink-billed Seed-finch) and Thick-billed Seed-finch.
Friday 8 March
This was to be something of a rest day from the exertions of jungle birding at its best. We travelled to Virgen del Socorro and onwards to a café with special feeders before setting off for the Arenal Volcano.
Our pre-breakfast walk was around a pool in the forest where we saw Basilisk Lizards and a Green Poison-dart Frog but no new birds.
The journey up into the mountains was stunning with views back across the plains which were dotted with bright yellow flowering Poui trees, known as Savannah Oaks. A Laughing Falcon carrying a snake flew past the bus for everyone to see - better views of another found perched in a tree by Jac were obtained during the afternoon. A Red Turtle - a land turtle which looks like a tortoise - was helped across the road (probably for the third time that day if Tim had judged its direction incorrectly). We stopped at a small pond which had Pied-billed Grebe and Northern Jacana.
Our first walk was down the steep road at Virgen del Socorro where a Slaty-capped Flycatcher was imitating a small warbler and a Bananaquit was building a nest. We watched it stripping strands of vine bark which were taken up to the nest high above us.
José found a troop of White-faced Capuchin Monkeys in trees on the other side of the valley but they disappeared before 'scopes could be trained on them. A feeding flock of stunning, jewel-like tanagers included Bay-headed and Silver-throated with Tawny-throated Euphonia in attendance.
The walk down the valley was fairly quiet but a great delight nevertheless. Tim found Black-chested Hawk and got 'scope views of it for some. Things hotted up as we approached the river at the bottom - a flock of seven Swallow-tailed Kites came cruising over, occasionally swooping into the treetops to grab prey which was eaten on the wing, the avian equivalent of a take-away.
Zeledon's White-fronted Tyrannulet was feeding in the trees and the river held the usual pair of Torrent Tyrannulets. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was also in the trees, adding to our list of this most difficult group of birds.
Juan-Carlos had brought the bus part way down to meet us and was admiring a Green Toucanet when we arrived. It was joined by a feeding flock of tanagers and fabulous Red-headed Barbet, one of the most colourful birds in Costa Rica. The field-guide illustrations did not do it justice, we decided.
The Mirador Catarata Café overlooks a 300-foot waterfall deep in the valley below where White-collared Swifts were swooping. Its main claim to fame, however, is for the hummers which feed inches in front of the windows and observation platform. Our visit coincided with the fruiting of a fig tree in the garden which was also full of birds.
José gave a lesson in hummer identification and we were all soon calling wonderful sounding names like Green-crowned Brilliant, Copper-headed Emerald, Green Thorntail, and White-throated Mountain-gem as if we had them in the garden at home. Two pairs of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were in a bush outside the café as we left for a late lunch.
The restaurant had hummingbird feeders too and we were able to reinforce the earlier lesson. Did this make us experts? Er, probably not.
The bus trip to Arenal was punctuated with stops for birds and our first Three-toed Sloth which was sound asleep and unaware of the Melodious Blackbird, Baltimore Oriole and Keel-billed Toucans which were keeping it company at the roadside.
Red-winged Blackbirds and Bronzed Cowbirds were common around the dairy farms we drove through as were more Groove-billed Anis. The rivers we passed looked interesting but we did not stop, except to admire a Fasciated Tiger-heron which was fishing in one of them.
We arrived at an hotel at the foot of the volcano as dusk was falling.
Saturday 9 March
Thick cloud around the volcano prevented us from seeing the lava flows which must have been falling down the mountain, if the noises coming from it were anything to go by. Huge explosions rumbled through the night and during our morning walks but we saw nothing of the activity.
That was reserved for the bird scene with a singing Greyish Saltator getting the day off to a good start. Mike and José saw Black-striped Sparrow and Slaty Spinetail before most of us were awake.
We took our time driving towards the Pacific side of Costa Rica, especially in the morning when we stopped at a site for Lovely Cotinga, with success, and walked along a road through mid-elevation forest.
Besides seeing Plain-brown Woodcreeper and Yellow-throated Vireo in the feeding flocks, we also enjoyed listening to three Thicket Ant-pittas and José all whistling in tune. No sign of the nearest bird could be seen, despite it being only a metre or two away from us in deep undergrowth.
That disappointment was made up for by a Central American Spider Monkey, which put on a gymnastics demonstration for us, a troop of 10 Howler Monkeys and five separate White-nosed Coatis which, sadly, were begging for food from passing cars. Deppe's and Variegated squirrels made up the mammal tally for the day.
Smokey-brown Woodpecker, Grey-headed Chachalaca, Great Antshrike and a difficult Alder/Willow Flycatcher found by Mary were all seen well. Yellow-billed Cacique, a Blue-throated Goldentail hummer and Black-headed Saltator added to the cast.
The journey to La Ensenada Lodge went quickly after lunch as we stopped for occasional birds. Things really picked up on the road down to the lodge on which we saw four Northern Crested Caracaras, Streak-headed Sparrow and a Green-breasted Mango, yet another hummer. Cinnamon Hummingbird, Black-headed Trogon and White-lored Gnatcatcher were all a backdrop to the most exciting bird of the day for some, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Amazingly, 15 were to pass over our heads as we sipped a home-made lemonade 'welcome' drink at the lodge a few minutes later.
Two more new hummers - as expected in the different site - put in an appearance: Cannivet's Fork-tailed Emerald and Plain-capped Starthroat. They represented tough luck for everyone who had felt confident about identifying hummers after seeing so many at the Miramar Catarata.
The queue for dinner was abandoned when Juan-Carlos announced that a Pacific Screech-owl was in trees above his cabin. We all had good views of the bird by torchlight before returning to our meal. And an otherwise peaceful night was broken for many by a troop of vociferous Howler Monkeys which passed along the line of trees which hung over our cabins.
Sunday 10 March
No lie-in this morning as we gathered at six for the pre-breakfast walk. Full of excitement at being at another site with new birds to see and learn about, we set off around the grounds. A Ferruginous Pygmy-owl was calling but we could not find it and switched attention to Rufous-naped Wrens, Rose-throated Becard and Yellow-naped Parrots instead. Suddenly, as a Magnificent Frigatebird and four White Ibis drifted past our view across the Gulf of Nicoya, Mary said: 'I am sure this is an owl.'
It was. The Ferruginous Pygmy-owl had come to find us instead. It settled long enough for us to get good 'scope views before turning in for the day. We returned for breakfast in high spirits.
A boat trip up the gulf had been booked and soon we were watching a host of new birds, waders, terns and Brown Pelicans. Whimbrel, Sanderling, Royal Terns and Snowy Egret were the first to be recognised before we drifted alongside a mangrove mud bank.
Here good views were had of Western Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Willet and hosts of Little Blue Herons, some of them all-white juveniles. A Bare-throated Tiger-heron sloped off into the mangroves and a Green-backed Heron eventually showed up at the base of the mangroves.
Ospreys were to become common with at least 19 seen in the morning, but each still gave us a thrill. Two Mangrove Black-hawks added to the raptor list and our first few American Anhingas flew past or posed in trees.
Heading into deeper water, we saw roosting Olivaceous Cormorants and Brown Pelicans sharing sand bar with a flock of Black Skimmers, Sandwich Terns and Laughing Gulls. Among them we teased out two Gull-billed Terns and a few red-billed Caspian Terns, both uncommon species in the area.
Several 'Water Potoos' were identified by the keener twitchers in the group who were restrained from expanding their lists by the explanation that these birds were sticks. A flock of seven Turnstones was picking on a stony beach among the mangroves and our skipper spotted a stunning Roseate Spoonbill nearby. Several Semipalmated Plovers, a Tri-coloured Heron and Wood Stork were our final birds of the cruise.
Juan-Carlos met us at a ferry crossing of the river and drove the group back to La Ensenada Lodge for lunch, stopping at a large pond to see 12 Least Grebes, seven Black-necked Stilts and a Northern Jacana on the way.
After a siesta - Tim's cabin was 38°C in the shade at 1pm - we climbed aboard a trailer which was towed around the finca by a huge tractor, hardly the way to see wildlife one might imagine. Not so, it was terrific. The extra height gave great views of birds and animals which were used to the tractor. Even so, a Lesser Nighthawk spotted by Megan as José was showing us Spot-bellied Bobwhites was an unusual find. A Roadside Hawk posed for us while yet another Lesser Nighthawk was found, and a lone female Howler Monkey demonstrated her climbing skills.
Passing saltpans from which sea-salt is extracted we arrived at a pond which was teeming with waders, ducks and herons. Taking our time, we gradually sorted out Western and Semipalmated Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least and Solitary Sandpipers, plus a lone Semipalmated Plover. Two duck species were seen, Blue-winged Teal and Black-bellied Whistling Duck. There were several stunning Roseate Spoonbills, White Ibis, Great, Little Blue and Snowy Egrets, also.
Our trip ended on a hill-top overlooking the lodge, saltpans and pool, the Gulf of Nicoya, hills behind and a dramatic sunset. Our host and hostess Senior and Seniora Lelio and Augusta Treti who had brought drinks and canapés with them to our delight. Lesser Nighthawks were starting their day's activity while a flock of 40 or so Scissor-tailed Flycatchers passed us to find a roost at the end of theirs.
The perfect day ended after dinner when some of the group did a few minutes star-gazing. As there was no moon, the sky was pitch. Streaked across it almost as a continuous source of light, was the Milky Way. Jupiter and its moons showed well as did the Orion Nova. We could not but wonder if someone out in deep space was enjoying a birding holiday to their equivalent of Costa Rica.
Monday 11 March
We woke to a chilly day - the temperature had dropped to 27°C, 80°F. Mantled Howler Monkeys had again passed over our heads calling loudly during the night, as was a Pacific Screech-owl. (We discovered later that the howlers were in a stand of trees 100m. away but sounded as if they were above our rooms.)
The pre-breakfast walk produced great views of our first Spot-breasted Oriole but after three days in the area we were familiar with most of the other birds seen.
The lodge's hospitality continued when manger Kike Chinchilla led us out to a field in which a pair of Double-striped Thick-knees were nesting. We had super views before hurrying off so that they could be left in peace to raise their young.
We visited yesterday's pool after breakfast but approached from the opposite direction to ensure good light. What a sight...
More than 100 Blue-winged Teal were in residence and as we watched from an observation platform a stream of Roseate Spoonbills joined them. Black-necked Stilts were abundant and picking around their legs, a little like children at the feet of stilt-walkers, were lots of waders. We were finally able to identify them all and know their salient features - a real master class. Our gaze then moved on to those we had not seen before - Stilt and Pectoral Sandpipers.
Our drive continued off-road as we made the most of a Costa Rican Travelling Naturalist birding rule... there will be birds at every stop and most will be new to us.
A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, destined to breed in the USA a few weeks later, led us to Cannivet's Fork-tailed Emerald and Cinnamon hummers.
A couple of Streak-headed Sparrows, which we had seen the day before, were joined by a spectacular Lesser Ground-cuckoo. Interestingly, all three birds were feeding in the shadow of tree branches, wisely never setting foot into full sunlight.
And as we watched them, José called a Zone-tailed Hawk. The rule never seemed to fail.
A Grey-crowned Yellowthroat was joined by Scrub Euphonias, our first of both, and a Grey Hawk was seen soon after. The tour finished at noon for a 12.30 lunch and siesta before setting off on a boat trip up a mangrove-lined river.
It was yet another treat. The mangrove habitat is special and boating through it was great fun, especially drifting with the engine off. Small birds were hard to see in the thick growth and tangle of aerial roots, but a Mangrove Vireo was soon found, hotly followed by a flock of about a dozen Mangrove Swallows. Our first of two female Mangrove Warblers was seen only after a false alarm with a Northern Waterthrush, one of two.
The tide was high and we disturbed flocks of Whimbrel and Willets which were roosting close to the water on mangrove roots.
Our last great find was about six Boat-billed Herons, illustrated on the front of our check-lists, hiding in deep cover. The boat's skipper managed to get all of us into positions where we could see the birds at some time or other.
Tuesday 12 March
The group met for a pre-breakfast walk without guides. Worryingly for the guides, it proved a most enjoyable experience as now familiar birds were seen and identified. Highlights included Ferruginous Pygmy-owl and Turquoise-crowned Motmot among others.
The drive down to Carara was uneventful until we stopped for a rest-room break and coffee at a café on the Guanacaste side of the Tárcoles River bridge where a Ferruginous Pygmy-owl sat watching us drink refreshments.
We headed for the Tárcoles Estuary, stopping on the way to investigate a flowering tree which was thronged with orioles and hummers. Scarlet Macaws were calling tantalisingly close but we could not locate them.
Our timing for the estuary was excellent as birds were being pushed in by the rising tide. Soon we were watching roosting gulls, terns, skimmers, pelicans and waders. Two Yellow-headed Caracaras flew past in succession, the first carrying prey, followed by a Broad-winged Hawk. We were studying our first Wilson's Plover when Tim called the attention of everyone to a Yellow-crowned Night-heron which was out for a stroll along the bank.
Lunch was taken in a local fish restaurant on the top of a Pacific Ocean beach with a welcome cooling breeze from the sea. We were watching a fishing boat with huge outriggers covered in Brown Pelicans when we noticed that among them were two hitch-hikers... Brown Boobies perched on the wires along with Royal Terns, Laughing Gulls and the pelicans. The boobies should have been far out to sea, beyond the range of our 'scopes, but luck had brought them to us.
The luck continued that afternoon when two, then four and soon lots of Scarlet Macaws were seen as we walked the Villa Lapas river trail. Steely-vented Hummingbird, Blue Ground-dove, Dusky Antbird and a superb male Painted Bunting all fell to José's or Tim's eyes.
Our final new bird of the day was a Fiery-billed Aracari, making the set of all six Costa Rican toucans, quite an achievement.
Wednesday 13 March
An early start at 5.30 saw us in the restaurant enjoying a coffee before walking one of the Carara National Park trails. It was lovely experience, in the coolest part of the day, watching the forest come to life. Black-hooded Antshrikes were singing and a stunning male gave us great views - the first of eight in the day. Several Hoffmann's Woodpeckers were disturbed by a raptor calling from 'their' tree but close examination showed one to be a male Red-headed Woodpecker.
Views of a Rufous-tailed Jacamar were difficult but everyone managed to get sight of it eventually. A White-whiskered Puffbird was easier and proved to be the first of three in the day. Dot-winged Antwren was another skulker found in the under-storey along with a female Cherrie's Tanager, the Pacific equivalent of Passerini's.
Mary was on form and found one of the forest's most entertaining character birds, a Plain Xenops. Like a small woodcreeper, it is an acrobat hanging upside down from some small branches, digging holes in others as it roots out grubs.
The walk ended with an immature King Vulture passing over our heads reminding us that if we did not return for breakfast (it was now three hours since we entered the reserve) we could end up as vulture food.
We walked the same track later in the morning adding Southern Beardless-tyrannulet, Tropical Gnatcatcher and Scaly-breasted Hummingbird to the list.
Half the group extended their siesta to the whole afternoon - it was tempting in the lush grounds with a super pool on hand - while the rest went to explore a different trail in the park. It was dense and narrow with vast trees overhead. We could not see their tops through the undergrowth which was a shame as each sounded to have at least one pair of squawking Scarlet Macaws in the top.
However, we were kept busy with an amazing tally of six Black-faced Antbirds scuttling around like tiny chickens, three Riverside Wrens, a pair of Black-throated Trogons and a female Blue-capped Manakin among many others. A Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner took some finding although its habit of throwing leaves out of vine tangles and bromeliads made the task easier.
Our afternoon highlight was one which featured close to the top of several best-bird lists: José judged the walk perfectly, getting us to a little stream in time to see a male Red-capped Manakin drop in, take a quick bath and shoot off with a characteristic wing-snap. It was a magical moment.
Our walk back to the bus was preceded some of the way by a Spectacled Antpitta which was strolling down the path like a tail-less Song Thrush on tiptoe.
We ended a super day munching choc-ices bought on the way back to the lodge, with one each for those who had not ventured out, as well.
Thursday 14 March
Once again we were to be found birding the farm-workers' track through Carara National Park at 6am. And amazingly, the birds were different from yesterday's with a few overlaps.
A Band-tailed Barbthroat zipped into view followed by Little Hermit, two gorgeous hummers. A search for Northern Bentbill, continued from yesterday, at last produced good views of the bird on two occasions. The same persistence led to the discovery of a Long-billed Gnatwren, although we all knew the call well before a sighting was obtained.
Mammals were also showing well with a small party of Collared Peccaries (possibly a peck of Peccaries) near the entrance, an Agouti part way through the walk and a Nine-banded Armadillo pointed out to some of the group by friendly American birders.
New birds kept on coming as Golden-naped Woodpecker, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper and Slaty-headed Tody-flycatcher all falling to binoculars or 'scopes.
Tim suddenly spotted a huge bird flying through the forest and was able to get his 'scope onto a wonderful Pale-billed Woodpecker. As Martin pointed out a second, José heard a Long-tailed Manakin which responded to his whistle and perched close to the path, back on so that we could see the big blue panel and tail streamers. We were torn between which to watch, utterly spoilt for choice. A pair of Baird's Trogons watched us leave the forest for a late breakfast.
Things calmed down a little on our second walk as the temperature and humidity rose. We tried out a new rangers' trail which connected with the one walked the previous afternoon. Once again it was rich in birds and we delighted in another new hummer - Beryl-crowned or Charming Hummingbird. José picked out a red head poking from a hole in a hollow tree seemingly miles away (we never did learn how he did that). It was a nesting Scarlet Macaw, quite a find. White-collared Seedeaters were disturbed in a grassy patch before we went back into the jungle where Yellow-olive and Ruddy-tailed Flycatchers were noted.
A White-lined Sac-winged Bat was found roosting on a tree before the walk ended (as had so many in Carara National Park where José is the leading expert guide) with a lek of Orange-collared Manakins.
A long siesta was followed by a rather poorly timed visit to the Tárcoles estuary where most birds were seen sitting on dead tree trunks or in mangroves as the tide was at its peak. Nevertheless, we stood on the beach and enjoyed our last sunset on the wilderness trail as an Osprey swooped down in front of us and took a dogfish and terns streamed past in the background.
Friday 15 March
A change of scene, and therefore birds, followed the decision to bird the Villa Lapas road above the hotel before breakfast. In the cool of the morning we found a couple of Swainson's Thrushes, stunning Western Tanagers and a fabulously cooperative Barred Antshrike.
The view was magnificent and in the clear air we could see Brown Pelicans and Magnificent Frigatebirds following a trawler out at sea.
Len found one and then a second Yellow-billed Cuckoo, our 400th species of the trip - an outstanding total. Two Tamadura anteaters were found in separate trees and a Coati was climbing a third.
Our last jungle experience was to walk the old rangers trail after breakfast, an occasion on which our sadness to be leaving was banished by the birds which popped up. Two feeding flocks were found and besides hosts of species already seen we found Plain Antvireo and Spot-crowned Euphonia.
A Black-faced Ant-thrush was found behaving in its usual way, like a tiny chicken flinging leaves aside as it rummaged in the undergrowth. 'I am sure I left it here somewhere,' Martin muttered and yet another bird-nickname was invented.
Yet another lek of Orange-collared Manakins cracked their good wishes to us as we approached the end of the trail, a most appropriate end to the Pacific coast visit. It was not an end to the wildlife, however.
Tim and José had conspired to visit Orotino town park on the way back to San José where a Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth was sleeping wild in the tree tops with two Black-and White Owls for company. We gained a few strange looks from the many people in the park who share their facility with the wild animals and birds.
Costa Rica is full of the evidence of this attitude to wildlife and we discussed how friendly local people had been to us and the way in which they look after their natural assets. It makes a visit to this country stand out among other wildlife destinations.
All this was explained to Jackie Aguilar from Horizontes, our hostess for a wonderful final meal at the Le Chandelier Restaurant, who had organised the itinerary in conjunction with Jamie McMillan from Travelling Naturalist. The result of Tim's competition to win a tiny guide book to hummingbirds was announced at long last - Sue took away the prize. A booby-prize of a carved toucan was awarded to Martin for his persistence and luck which helped us to see six species of the family, his expedition ambition achieved.
Most importantly, we were able to thank José Calvo and Juan-Carlos Rodriguez for the wonderful contribution to the holiday they had made as our travelling companions over the last two weeks. It was fun evening with many pleasantries exchanged to the delight of us all.
Saturday 16 March
After seeing the first half of our group off to the airport for an early flight home, Sue, Mike, Alec and Tim returned to the park where the birding had started.
To our horror it was fenced off and building work was under way. We managed to get in and a night-watchman told us it was being developed as a park (or at least that is what we thought he said). Whatever, the place was not the same and we returned to the hotel having seen our second Greyish Saltators and little else of note.
Annotated list of species
The order follows Clements Birds of the World.
TINAMOUS Tinamiformes Tinamidae
Great Tinamou Tinamus major
La Selva Biological Station (male with chick on 6th, single on 7th); Carara Reserve (two on 13th, one calling on 14th)
Slaty-breasted Tinamou Crypturellus boucardi
La Selva (one seen 7th - leaders only)
GREBES Podicipediformes Podicipedidae
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
La Ensenada area (one on 10th)
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
Lake near St Miguel (one on 8th)
PELICANS Pelecaniformes Pelecanidae
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
La Ensenada (100+ on 10th and 11th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (100+ on 12th and 14th)
GANNETS & BOOBIES Pelecaniformes Sulidae
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster
Two on a fishing boat rigging with Brown Pelicans, Royal Terns and Laughing Gulls on 12th
CORMORANTS Pelecaniformes Phalacrocoracidae
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
La Ensenada (30 on 10th and 11th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (three on 12th and 14th)
ANHINGAS Pelecaniformes Anhingidae
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
La Ensenada (three on 10th, one on 11th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (one on 12th)
FRIGATEBIRDS Pelecaniformes Fregatidae
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
La Ensenada (100+ on 10th and 11th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (100+ on 12th and 14th); Carara Reserve (50+ soaring over the jungle on the 13th)
HERONS & EGRETS Ciconiiformes Ardeidae
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
La Selva Verde Lodge (one on 6th and 8th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (one on 12th and 14th)
Great Egret Ardea alba
La Selva area (two on 5th, two on 7th); Lake near St Miguel (one on 8th); Tárcoles estuary and river, Carara (15 on 12th, one on 13th and 14th)
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor
La Ensenada (three on 10th and 11th); La Ensenada (two on 12th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (two on 12th, and three on 14th)
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Selva Verde Lodge (one on 6th, three on 7th, five on 8th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (15 on 12th, and four on 14th)
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
La Ensenada (20 on 10th, 10 on 11th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (10 on 12th and 14th)
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Green Heron Butorides virescens
La Ensenada (one on 10th and 11th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (three on 12th)
Agami Heron Agamia agami
Selva Biological Station (one on 6th)
Yellow-crowned Night-heron Nyctanassa violacea
Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (one on 12th and 14th); night drive (one in a stream bed on 14th)
Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius
La Ensenada (six on mangrove boat trip 11th)
Bare-throated Tiger-heron Tigrisoma mexicanum
La Ensenada (one in mangroves on boat trip 10th); Villa Lapas (one nesting on 12th)
Fasciated Tiger-heron Tigrisoma fasciatum
La Selva Biological Station (one on 6th and 7th - on nest); driving (one on 8th)
STORKS Ciconiiformes Ciconiidae
Wood Stork Mycteria americana
La Ensenada (three on 10th, five on 11th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (three on 12th)
IBIS & SPOONBILLS Ciconiiformes Threskiornithidae
White Ibis Eudocimus albus
La Ensenada (30 on 10th, 50 on 11th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (10 on 12th); Villa Lapas river walk (15 on 12th and six on 14th)
Roseate Spoonbill Ajaia ajaja
La Ensenada (seven on 10th, 15 on 11th)
DUCKS Anseriformes Anatidae
Black-bellied Whistling-duck Dendrocygna autumnalis
La Ensenada (two on 10th)
Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata
La Selva Biological Station (one on 6th); driving (one on 8th); La Ensenada (three on 10th)
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
La Ensenada (20 on 10th, 100+ on 11th)
NEW WORLD VULTURES Falconiformes Cathartidae
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Miami Airport (two as we were coming in to land on 2nd)
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa
La Selva Biological Station (one on 6th); Carara Reserve (one immature, one adult on 13th); Carara National Park, rangers' walk (one on 14th)
OSPREY Falconiformes Pandioidae
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Kiri Lodge, Tapanti Wildlife Reserve (one on 3rd); La Selva Biological Station (singles on 6th and 7th); La Ensenada (one on 9th, 19 on 10th, five on 11th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (three on 12th and six on 14th)
HAWKS, EAGLES & KITES Falconiformes Accipitridae
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
Trogon Lodge, San Gerrado de Dota (three on 4th); Finca Miramar Quetzales, Tapanti (one on 4th); Virgen de Socorro (one on 8th); Lake Arenal area (one on 9th)
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus
Pan-American highway (two on 3rd); driving (one on 8th); La Ensenada (one on 10th)
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus
Selva Biological Station (one on 6th)
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
La Ensenada (one on 11th)
Crane Hawk Geranospiza caerulescens
Carara National Park (one on 14th)
Barred Black-chested Hawk Leucopternis princeps
Virgen de Socorro (one on 8th)
Common Black-hawk Buteogallus anthracinus
Virgen de Socorro (one on 8th); Tárcoles estuary (one on 14th)
Mangrove Black-hawk Buteogallus subtilis
La Ensenada (two on 10th, four on 11th, one on 12th)
Grey Hawk Asturina nitida
La Ensenada (one on 11th); Tárcoles River, Carara (one on 12th); Carara Reserve (one on 13th)
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
La Ensenada (one on 10th)
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
Pan-American highway (two on 3rd); La Selva Biological Station (200 on passage on 6th, several on 7th); driving (two on 8th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (one on 12th)
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus
La Selva Biological Station (five on 6th); Lake Arenal area (one on 9th)
Swainson's Hawk Buteo swainsoni
La Selva Biological Station (one flew around the centre grounds on 6th, passage of 3,000 on 6th, some movement on 7th)
Zone-tailed Hawk Buteo albonotatus
La Ensenada (1on 11th)
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
Trogon Lodge / San Gerardo de Dota (immature and adult on 4th, one on 5th)
FALCONS & CARACARAS Falconiformes Falconidae
Crested Caracara Caracara plancus
Road to La Ensenada (four on 9th); La Ensenada (four on 9th, one on 10th, two on 11th, one on 12th, 13th and 14th)
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima
La Ensenada (one on 9th); Carara area (two on 12th and 14th)
Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans
Near La Selva Verde Lodge (two on 8th, one carrying a snake); La Ensenada (one on 10th); Villa Lapas river walk (one on 12th); Carara Reserve (one heard on 13th)
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis
Selva Biological Station (one on 6th); driving (two on 8th)
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
La Selva Biological Station (two on 6th and 7th)
GUANS & CHACHALACAS Galliformes Cracidae
Grey-headed Chachalaca Ortalis cinereiceps
Lake Arenal area (four on 9th); Villa Lapas road walk (six on 15th
Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens
Selva Biological Station (two on 6th); Arenal area (one on 9th); Carara National Park rangers' station (one on 13th); Villa Lapas road walk (four on 15th)
Black Guan Chamaepetes unicolor
Trogon Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota (one on 4th)
NEW WORLD QUAIL Galliformes Odontophoridae
Crested (Spotted-bellied) Colinus cristatus
Bobwhite La Ensenada (seven on 10th)
RAILS & GALLINULES Gruiformes Rallidae
Grey-necked Wood-rail Aramides cajanea
Selva (three on 6th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (one on 12th)
American Purple Gallinule Porphyrula martinica
Tárcoles River, Carara (one on 12th)
JACANAS Charadriiformes Jacanidae
Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa
Lake near St Miguel (one on 8th); Tárcoles River and estuary, Carara (10 on 12th)
AVOCETS & STILTS Charadriiformes Recurvirostridae
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
La Ensenada (20 on 10th, 30 on 11th)
THICK-KNEES Charadriiformes Burhinidae
Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus
La Ensenada (nesting pair on 11th)
PLOVERS & LAPWINGS Charadriiformes Charadriidae
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola
La Ensenada (six on 10th, one on 11th, two on 12th)
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
La Ensenada (10 on 10th, one on 11th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (two on 12th)
Wilson's Plover Charadrius wilsonia
Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (two on 12th)
SANDPIPERS Charadriiformes Scolopacidae
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus
La Ensenada (50 on 10th)
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
La Ensenada (100+ on 10th and 11th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (10 on 12th and 14th)
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
La Ensenada (two on 10th, four on 11th)
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
La Ensenada (one on 10th and 11th)
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
La Selva Verde Lodge (one on 6th and 7th, six on 8th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (10 on 12th and 14th); Villa Lapas river walk (three on 12th, and 13th)
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
La Ensenada (10 on 10th, 50 on 11th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (10 on 12th and one on 14th)
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
La Ensenada (eight on 10th) Tárcoles estuary (six on 12th and 30 on 14th)
Sanderling Calidris alba
La Ensenada (one on 10th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (10 on 12th)
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
La Ensenada (one on 10th, 15 on 11th)
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri
La Ensenada (100+ on 10th, 10 on 11th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (10 on 12th); Tárcoles Estuary, Carara (10 on 12th)
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
La Ensenada (five on 10th, 15 on 11th)
Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
La Ensenada (one on 11th)
Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus
La Ensenada (six on 11th)
GULLS Charadriiformes Laridae
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Ring-billed gull Larus delawarensis
TERNS Charadriiformes Sternidae
Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
Royal Tern Sterna maxima
SKIMMERS Charadriiformes Rynchopidae
Black Skimmer Rynchops niger
PIGEONS & DOVES Columbiformes Columbidae
Rock Dove Columba livia
Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata
Pale-vented Pigeon Columba cayennensis
Red-billed Pigeon Columba flavirostris
Short-billed Pigeon Columba nigrirostris
Ruddy Pigeon Columba subvinacea
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
Blue Ground-dove Claravis pretiosa
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Grey-chested Dove Leptotila cassini
PARROTS Psittaciformes Psittacidae
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao
Crimson-fronted Parakeet Aratinga finschi
Olive-throated Parakeet Aratinga nana
Orange-fronted Parakeet Aratinga canicularis
Orange-chinned Parakeet Brotogeris jugularis
Brown-hooded Parrot Pionopsitta haematotis
White-crowned Parrot Pionus senilis
White-fronted Parrot Amazona albifrons
Red-lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis
Yellow-naped Parrot Amazona auropalliata
Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa
CUCKOOS Cuculiformes Cuculidae
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
Lesser Ground-cuckoo Morococcyx erythropygus
OWLS Strigiformes Strigidae
Pacific Screech-owl Otus cooperi
Black-and-white Owl Ciccaba nigrolineata
Central American (Least) Glaucidium minutissimum
Pygmy-owl Braulio Carrillo National Park (one on 5th)
Ferruginous Pygmy-owl Glaucidium brasilianum
NIGHTJARS Caprimulgiformes Caprimulgidae
Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
Dusky Nightjar Caprimulgus saturatus
SWIFTS Apodiformes Apodidae
Black Swift Cypseloides niger
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Grey-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris
Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis
HUMMINGBIRDS Trochiliformes Trochilidae
Bronzy Hermit Glaucis aenea
Band-tailed Barbthroat Threnetes ruckeri
Green Hermit Phaethornis guy
Western Long-tailed Hermit Phaethornis longirostris
Little Hermit Phaethornis longuemareus
Green-fronted Lancebill Doryfera ludovicae
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird Phaeochroa cuvierii
Violet Sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus
White-necked Jacobin Florisuga mellivora
Green Violet-ear Colibri thalassinus
Green-breasted Mango Anthracothorax prevostii
Entrance road to La Selva Biological Station (one on 7th); La Ensenada (one on 9th, female on 10th, one on 11th); road to Tárcoles Estuary (one on 12th); Carara National Park (one on 14th); Villa Lapas road walk (one on 15th)
Green Thorntail Discosura conversii
Canivet's Fork-tailed Emerald Chlorostilbon canivetii
Fiery-throated Hummingbird Panterpe insignis
San Gerardo de Dota area (10 on 4th)
Coppery-headed Emerald Elvira cupreiceps
Black-bellied Hummingbird Eupherusa nigriventris
Violet-crowned Woodnymph Thalurania colombica
Blue-throated Goldentail Hylocharis eliciae
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
Cinnamon Hummingbird Amazilia rutila
Blue-chested Hummingbird Polyerata amabilis
Hummingbird Polyerata decora
Steely-vented Hummingbird Saucerottia saucerrottei
Bronze-tailed (Red-footed) Chalybura urochrysia
Plumeleteer Entrance road to La Selva Biological Station (one on 7th)
White-bellied Mountain-gem Lampornis hemileucus
Purple-throated Lampornis calolaema
Mountain-gem Mirador Catarata, St Miguel (three on 8th)
Grey-tailed (White-throated) Lampornis cinereicauda
Mountain-gem Tapanti Wildlife Reserve (two on 3rd); San Gerardo de Dota area (four on 4th, four on 5th)
Green-crowned brilliant Heliodoxa jacula
Magnificent Hummingbird Eugenes fulgens
Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti
Plain-capped Starthroat Heliomaster constantii
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris
Scintillant Hummingbird Selasphorus scintilla
Volcano Hummingbird Selasphorus flammula
TROGONS & QUETZALS Trogoniformes Trogonidae
Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus
Baird's Trogon Trogon bairdii
Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris
Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena
Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno
KINGFISHERS Coraciiformes Alcedinidae
Belted kingfisher Ceryle alcyon
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
MOTMOTS Coraciiformes Momotidae
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota
Rufous Motmot Baryphthengus martii
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum
Turquoise-browed Motmot Eumomota superciliosa
JACAMARS Piciformes Galbulidae
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda
PUFFBIRDS Piciformes Bucconidae
Pied Puffbird Notharchus tectus
White-whiskered Puffbird Malacoptila panamensis
BARBETS Piciformes Capitonidae
Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcierii
Prong-billed Barbet Semnornis frantzii
TOUCANS Piciformes Ramphastidae
Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus
Virgen de Socorro (four on 8th)
Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus
Fiery-billed Aracari Pteroglossus frantzii
Yellow-eared Toucanet Selenidera spectabilis
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Ramphastos swainsonii
WOODPECKERS Piciformes Picidae
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
Golden-naped Woodpecker Melanerpes chrysauchen
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani
Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus
Hoffmann's Woodpecker Melanerpes hoffmannii
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
Smoky-brown Woodpecker Veniliornis fumigatus
Rufous-winged Woodpecker Piculus simplex
Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus
Chestnut-coloured Celeus castaneus
Woodpecker Selva Verde Lodge (one on 6th)
Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis
OVENBIRDS Passeriformes Furnariidae
Slaty Spinetail Synallaxis brachyura
Red-faced Spinetail Cranioleuca erythrops
Ruddy Treerunner Margarornis rubiginosus
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus
Buffy Tuftedcheek Pseudocolaptes lawrencii
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus
WOODCREEPERS Passeriformes Dendrocolaptidae
Plain-brown Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus
Northern Barred Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae
Woodcreeper One or two most days from Braulio Carrillo onwards - a high number
Buff-throated (Cocoa) Xiphorhynchus guttatus
Woodcreeper La Selva Biological Station (one on 6th and two on 7th); Carara Reserve (three on 13th, singles on 14th and 15th)
Black-striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus
Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius
Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii
Spot-crowned Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes affinis
TYPICAL ANTBIRDS Passeriformes Thamnophilidae
Fasciated Antshrike Cymbilaimus lineatus
Great Antshrike Taraba major
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Black-hooded Antshrike Thamnophilus bridgesi
Russet Antshrike Thamnistes anabatinus
Plain Antvireo Dysithamnus mentalis
Streak-crowned Antvireo Dysithamnus striaticeps
Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis
Dusky Antbird Cercomacra tyrannina
Chestnut-backed Antbird Myrmeciza exsul
Ocelated Antbird Phaenostictus mcleannani
Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis
Streak-chested (Spectacled) Hylopezus perspicillatus
Antpitta Carara Reserve (one walking down the path ahead of us on 13th)
Fulvous-bellied Antpitta Hylopezus dives
TAPACULOS Passeriformes Rhinocryptidae
Silvery-fronted Tapaculo Scytalopus argentifrons
COTINGAS Passeriformes Cotingidae
Lovely Cotinga Cotinga amabilis
Snowy Cotinga Carpodectes nitidus
Purple-throated Fruitcrow Querula purpurata
MANAKINS Passeriformes Pipridae
White-collared Manakin Manacus candei
Orange-collared Manakin Manacus aurantiacus
Long-tailed Manakin Chiroxiphia linearis
Blue-crowned Manakin Pipra coronata
Red-capped Manakin Pipra mentalis
TYRANT FLYCATCHERS Passeriformes Tyrannidae
Southern Beardless- Camptostoma obsoletum
tyrannulet Carara Reserve (one on 13th)
Greenish Elaenia Myiopagis viridicata
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster
Mountain Elaenia Elaenia frantzii
Torrent Tyrannulet Serpophaga cinerea
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus
Olive-striped Flycatcher Mionectes olivaceus
Slaty-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon superciliaris
Zeledon's White-fronted Phyllomyias zeledoni
Tyrannulet Virgen de Socorro (one on 8th)
Paltry Tyrannulet Zimmerius vilissimus
Black-capped Pygmy-tyrant Myiornis atricapillus
La Selva Biological Centre (one on 7th)
Northern Bentbill Oncostoma cinereigulare
Slate-headed Tody-tyrant Poecilotriccus sylvia
(Tody-flycatcher) Carara National Park (one on 14th)
Black-headed Tody-flycatcher Todirostrum nigriceps
Common Tody-flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
Yellow-margined Flycatcher Tolmomyias assimilis
Royal Flycatcher Onychorhynchus coronatus
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher Terenotriccus erythrurus
Tufted Flycatcher Mitrephanes phaeocercus
Dark Pewee Contopus lugubris
Ochraceous Pewee Contopus ochraceus
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Empidonax flaviventris
Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens
Alder Flycatcher Empidonax alnorum
Black-capped Flycatcher Empidonax atriceps
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Great crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus
Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Grey-capped Flycatcher Myiozetetes granadensis
White-ringed Flycatcher Conopias albovittata
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher Myiodynastes luteiventris
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus
Cinnamon Becard Pachyramphus cinnamomeus
White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus
Rose-throated Becard Pachyramphus aglaiae
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor
SWALLOWS Passeriformes Hirundinidae
Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca
Northern Rough-winged Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Swallow Tapanti Wildlife Reserve (three on 3rd); driving (10 on 8th and 9th)
Southern Rough-winged Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Swallow La Selva Biological Station (one on 6th); entrance road to La Selva Biological Station (one on 7th); Arenal area (one on 9th); La Ensenada (10 on 10th); Carara Reserve (one on 13th)
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
SILKY-FLYCATCHERS Passeriformes Ptilogonatidae
Black-and-yellow Silky- Phainoptila melanoxantha
flycatcher Finca Miramar Quetzales, Tapanti Wildlife Reserve (one on 4th)
Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher Ptilogonys caudatus
DIPPERS Passeriformes Cinclidae
American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus
WRENS Passeriformes Troglodytidae
Band-backed Wren Campylorhynchus zonatus
Rufous-naped Wren Campylorhynchus rufinucha
Black-bellied Wren Thryothorus fasciatoventris
Rufous-breasted Wren Thryothorus rutilus
Riverside Wren Thryothorus semibadius
Bay Wren Thryothorus nigricapillus
Stripe-breasted Wren Thryothorus thoracicus
Rufous-and-white Wren Thryothorus rufalbus
Plain Wren Thryothorus modestus
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Ochraceous Wren Troglodytes ochraceus
White-breasted Wood-wren Henicorhina leucosticta
Grey-breasted Wood-wren Henicorhina leucophrys
THRUSHES Passeriformes Turdidae
Black-faced Solitaire Myadestes melanops
Black-billed Nightingale- Catharus gracilirostris
thrush Trogon Lodge and San Gerardo de Dota area (five on 4th)
Ruddy-capped Nightingale- Catharus frantzii
thrush Trogon Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota (one on 4th and 5th)
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina
Sooty Robin Turdus nigrescens
Mountain Robin Turdus plebejus
Clay-coloured Robin Turdus grayi
White-throated Thrush Turdus assimilis
GNATCATCHERS Passeriformes Polioptilidae
Tawny-faced Gnatwren Microbates cinereiventris
Long-billed Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus
White-lored Gnatcatcher Polioptila albiloris
Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea
JAYS Passeriformes Corvidae
White-throated Magpie-jay Calocitta formosa
Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio
OLD WORLD SPARROWS Passeriformes Passeridae
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
VIREOS & ALLIES Passeriformes Vireonidae
Mangrove Vireo Vireo pallens
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons
Yellow-winged Vireo Vireo carmioli
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus
Tawny-crowned Greenlet Hylophilus ochraceiceps
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus
WOOD WARBLERS Passeriformes Parulidae
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina
Flame-throated Warbler Parula gutturalis
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
Mangrove Warbler Dendroica erithachorides
La Ensenada (two females on 11th)
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca
Yellow-throated Warbler Dendroica dominica
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis
Louisiana Waterthrush Seiurus motacilla
Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia
Grey-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis poliocephala
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla
Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus
Collared Redstart Myioborus torquatus
Three-striped Warbler Basileuterus tristriatus
BANANAQUIT Passeriformes Coerebidae
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
TANAGERS & ALLIES Passeriformes Thraupidae
Common Bush-tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus
Sooty-capped Bush-tanager Chlorospingus pileatus
Dusky-faced Tanager Mitrospingus cassinii
White-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus
Tawny-crested Tanager Tachyphonus delatrii
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
Red-throated Ant-tanager Habia fuscicauda
Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
Western Tanager Piranga ludoviciana
Flame-coloured Tanager Piranga bidentata
White-winged Tanager Piranga leucoptera
Crimson-collared Tanager Ramphocelus sanguinolentus
Passerini's Tanager Ramphocelus passerinii
Cherrie's Tanager Ramphocelus costaricensis
Blue-Grey Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Scrub Euphonia Euphonia affinis
Yellow-crowned Euphonia Euphonia luteicapilla
Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris
Yellow-throated Euphonia Euphonia hirundinacea
Spot-crowned Euphonia Euphonia imitans
Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi
Tawny-capped Euphonia Euphonia anneae
Golden-browed Chlorophonia Chlorophonia callophrys
Plain-coloured Tanager Tangara inornata
Emerald Tanager Tangara florida
Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala
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
& ALLIES Passeriformes Emberizidae
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
Variable Seedeater Sporophila corvina
White-collared Seedeater Sporophila torqueola
Nicaraguan Seed-finch Oryzoborus nuttingi
Thick-billed Seed-finch Oryzoborus funereus
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea
Slaty Flowerpiercer Diglossa plumbea
Yellow-thighed Finch Pselliophorus tibialis
Orange-billed Sparrow Arremon aurantiirostris
Black-striped Sparrow Arremonops conirostris
Stripe-headed Sparrow Aimophila ruficauda
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Volcano Junco Junco vulcani
Greyish 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
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea
Painted Bunting Passerina ciris
TROUPIALS & ALLIES Passeriformes Icteridae
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
Melodious Blackbird Dives dives
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
(Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major)
(Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula)
Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus
Giant Cowbird Scaphidura oryzivora
Spot-breasted Oriole Icterus pectoralis
Streak-backed Oriole Icterus pustulatus
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula
Black-cowled Oriole Icterus dominicensis
Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycercus holosericeus
Scarlet-rumped Cacique Cacicus uropygialis
Chestnut-headed Oropendola Psarocolius wagleri
Montezuma Oropendola Gymnostinops montezuma
ARMADILLOS Xenarthra Dasypodidae
Nine-banded Armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus
AMERICAN ANTEATERS Xenarthra Myrmecophagidae
Northern Tamandua Tamandua mexicana
TWO-TOED SLOTHS Xenarthra Megalonychidae
Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth Choloepus hoffmanni
THREE-TOED SLOTHS Xenarthra Bradypodidae
Brown-throated Three-toed Bradypus variegatus
Sloth Arenal area (one sleeping on 8th)
SQUIRRELS Rodentia Scuridae
Red-tailed Squirrel Sciurus granatensis
Deppe's Squirrel Sciurus deppei
Variegated Squirrel Sciurus variegatoides
AGOUTIS Rodentia Agoutidae
Central American Agouti Dasyprocta punctata
OTTERS Carnivora Mustelidae
Neotropical River Otter Lutra longicaudis
La Selva Verde Lodge (one swam across the river on 6th - leaders only)
RACOONS Carnivora Procyonidae
White-nosed Coati Nasua narica
SHEATH-TAILED BATS Chiroptera Emballonuridae
Greater Sac-winged Bat Saccopteryx bilineata
AMERICAN LEAF-NOSED BATS Chiroptera Phyllostomidae
Vampire Bat Desmodus rotundus
Not seen but the bloody wound on a horse's back at La Ensenada was undoubtedly caused by a Vampire bite.
APES Primates Hominidae
Human Homo sapiens
NEW WORLD MONKEYS Primates Atelidae
White-faced Capuchin Cebus capucinus
Central American Spider Monkey Ateles geoffroyi
Mantled Howler Monkey Alouatta palliata
PECCARIES Artiodactyla Tayassuidae
Collared Peccary (Javelina) Tayassu tajacu
DEER Artiodactyla Cervidae
White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus
Footnote: We ended the trip having seen 413 birds and 17 mammals. Five birds and one mammal were 'leaders only' species.
AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES
Marine (Cane) Toad Bufo marinus
Singles almost daily on Caribbean and Pacific slopes
Green Poison-arrow Frog Dendrobates auratus
Singles at La Selva Biological Station and Lodge on 6th and 8th
Red-and-blue Poison-arrow Dendrobates pumilio
(Blue-jeans) Frog Eight at La Selva Biological station on 6th
American Crocodile Crocodylus acutus
La Ensenada lagoon (nine on 10th, three on 11th); Tárcoles River (20 on 12th, four on 14th, one on 15th)
Black River Turtle Rhinoclemmys funereal
La Selva Verde Lodge (five maximum 6th, 7th and 8th)
Red (Painted Wood) Turtle Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima
One crossing a road near Mirador Catarata rescued by Tim on 8th)
White-lipped Turtle Kinosternon leucostomum
Carara National Park (one found by Juan-Carlos on 14th)
Rainforest Hog-nosed Viper Porthidium nasutum
Our only snake was lying curled next to a path in La Selva Biological Station forest, its position marked with a ribbon and hand-written sign on the 6th
Yellowbelly Gecko Phyllodactus tuberculosus
Several seen and heard daily from 10th
Green Iguana (Tree Chicken) Iguana iguana
La Selva Biological Station (25+ on 6th and 7th sunning themselves in trees - the best place for them as they are sometimes eaten)
Ctenosaur (Spiny-tailed Ctenosaura similis
Iguana) Common daily on the Pacific coast from 9th
Basilisk (Jesus Christ Lizard) Basiliscus basiliscus
Seen most days from 7th. One 'walked on water' across a stream at Villa Lapas
Green Spiny (Fence) Lizard Sceloporus malachiticus
Several seen on the road up from Trogon Lodge on 4th and 5th
Ground Anole (Leaf Litter Anolis humilis
Lizard) La Selva Biological Station (three on 6th)
Slender (Border) Anole Anolis limifrons
La Selva Biological Station (five on 6th)
Big-headed (Pug-nosed) Anolis capito
Anole La Selva Biological Station (one on 7th)
Central American Whip-tail Ameiva festiva
(Central American Ameiva) Up to 20 seen most days. Common in most forests and under our cabins at La Ensenada
INSECTS, BUGS & CRUSTACEANS
Butterflies were numerous but generally not identified. Exceptions were Blue Morpho, Morpho amathonte, Monarch, Swallowtails, Papillo sp., Cream Owl Butterfly and Long-winged butterflies.
Other insects included Peacock Moth, Tarantula Hawk Wasp, Firefly sp., Helicopter Damselfly, Dragonflies of at least two species, Cicada of several species, Wolf-spider, Ant Lion, Preying Mantis, Leaf-cutting Ants and other ant species and Metallic or Tiger Beetle.
Crustaceans included a Hermit Crab and Ghost Crab.