COSTA RICA   20 MAY – 11 JUNE  2014   Jon Hornbuckle

I visited Costa Rica and the Pipeline Road in Panama with Mike Archer in March 1987 and returned to Costa Rica from Feb 23 to March 27 in 2001. The second trip included 19 days participating in an American ringing/banding project at Tortuguero. I decided it was the time to try to see more birds here as there were still some very good species I needed so I drew up a list of 23 possibilities. Brian Foster and Rod Martins kindly agreed to join me and we hired Carlos Jimenez to lead and transport us for 15 days, and stayed on a further week with a hire-car by ourselves. Carlos and was excellent at finding and identifying the birds, and attending to all the logistics. We had a very successful trip, seeing many good birds including Buff-fronted and Chiriqui Quail-Doves, Great Green Macaw, Tody Motmot, Black-crowned and Thicket Antpittas, and Lovely and Yellow-billed Cotingas. To my pleasant surprise we saw all but 2 of my Wanted list and even had one unexpected addition, a mega Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo giving excellent views in trees.

JH Hit List                                Sites where recorded

Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge  Volcan Irazu – heard and briefly seen, heard San Gerardo de Dota – more time spent trying to see this bird than any other

Black-breasted Wood-Quail       La Paz Waterfall gardens on Volcan Poaz and Finca Ecologica near Monteverde Lodge  

Uniform Crake                           Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

Yellow-breasted Crake               Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Buff-fronted Quail-Dove                        San Gerardo Research Station and San Gerardo de Dota

Chiriqui Quail-Dove                    Finca Ecologica, Monteverde

Great Green Macaw                   Sarapiqui

Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo  Volcan Tenorio road

Bare-shanked Screech-Owl        Santa Elena Reserve and Volcan Irazu

Central American Pygmy-Owl     Veragua RainForest Reserve

Spot-fronted Swift                     over the Ruinas de Ujarras        

Mangrove Hummingbird             mangroves at La Gamba, well north of Golfito Bridge

Keel-billed Motmot                    old road to Arenal Observatory Lodge

Black-crowned Antpitta              Braulio Carrillo

Thicket Antpitta                         Trail below Arenal Observatory Lodge

Lovely Cotinga                          Forest below Arenal Observatory Lodge and Volcan Tenorio road

Yellow-billed Cotinga                 Golfito Bridge, Rincon de Osa

Ochraceous Pewee                    near Savegre Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota

Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager        Esquinas Rainforest Lodge       

Cabanisi’s Ground-Sparrow        coffee plantations at Ruinas de Ujarras

Nicaraguan Grackle                   Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Spot-breasted Oriole                 road below Monteverde


JH misses

Maroon-chested Ground-Dove   Volcan Irazu (probably seen in flight) – not on JH list (too unlikely)

Unspotted Saw-whet Owl           Volcan Irazu and San Gerardo de Dota – tried hard

Veraguan Mango                       Rincon – not aware that it was a recent addition to Costa Rica

Bare-necked Umbrellabird          San Gerardo and Santa Elena Reserve – tried hard. Common at Veragua in Dec - Jan




May 20: Fly Manchester to San Jose with KLM, via Amsterdam and Panama City. OVN Europa Hotel, downtown San Jose.                                                          


May 21: Braulio Carrillo am, La Selva/ Sarapiqui area. OVN Los Portones Cabins.


May 22: La Selva Biological Station am, La Paz Waterfall gardens at 1500m on Volcan Poaz pm. OVN Los Portones.


May 23: La Selva 0700-0800, Medio Queso wetland, drive to Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge via Chiles. OVN Cabins at nearby Kingfisher Lodge.


May 24:  Caño Negro boat trip am, old road to Arenal Observatory Lodge. OVN Cabins Mayol, La Fortuna.


May 25: Trail below Arenal Observatory Lodge then rest of wet day on Arenal Lodge trails. OVN at Cabins Mayol, La Fortuna.


May 26:  Old road to Arenal Observatory 0600-0800, drive 3 hours to Volcan Tenorio road, birding there after brunch at 11.30, then to Heliconias Lodge at 4pm, OVN there.


May 27:  Heliconias Lodge trails in rain am, decide to leave a day early, drive to Monteverde. Walk down muddy trail to San Gerardo Research Station, OVN there.


May 28:  0500 take Tabacon Trail to Umbrellabird lek-site, then other trails all morning. Leave after lunch, walk up 400m elevation to Santa Elena Reserve and take Encantado Trail to look for Umbrellabird. OVN at Cabins Eddy, Monteverde.


May 29:  A dry day at last. 0645-1135 Santa Elena Reserve, then Finca Ecologia near Monteverde Lodge till 1515, back to Cabinas Eddy at 1645.


May 30:  Santa Elena Reserve 0600-0830, checked out at Eddy’s then long drive south to Rincon de Osa. OVN at Osa Palmas, La Palma, Osa Peninsula.


May 31:  0530 departure for Golfito Bridge – Yellow-billed and Turquoise Cotingas. 0710-0830 drive to Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Piedras Blancas National Park for day’s birding. Slower return to Osa Palmas due to heavy rain. Carlos takes car to mechanic for repair but he shears a high pressure oil-pipe – no spare! OVN Osa Palmas.


June 01:  Departure delayed till 0930 while car is repaired then drive to Cerro de la Meurte with stops. OVN at Miriam’s cabins.            


June 02:  San Gerardo de Dota area all day including a trail at Savegre Lodge. OVN at Miriam’s.


June 03:  Mirador del Quetzal am, drive down to Cartago and on to Grandpa’s Hotel. Pm wasted as Carlos tried to get the car repaired again in Cartago. OVN at Grandpa’s.


June 04:  Volcan Irazu am, Ruinas de Ujarras pm. then drive to San Jose and rent a car. Farewell to Carlos. OVN Hemingway Inn, San Jose.


June 05:  Drive to El Tapir Reserva Ecotouristica near Braulio Carrillo, then to Liverpool near Limon turning right for 16km to Veragua Rainforest Reserve – bird with the manager Daniel Torres. OVN at Cabinas La Uvita in Moin near Limon.


June 06:  0415 drive to Veragua for the day with Marco as guide. OVN at La Uvita.


June 07:  Brisas de la Jungla and Veragua road am, pm drive to Turrialba town,visit Guayabo National Monument ruins 1600-1745. OVN El Rio Hotel, Turrialba.


June 08:  0530 drive to Rancho Naturalista, stay till 2pm then drive to Silent Mountain. Back to Turrialba and up Volcan Turrialba to the Lodge – cold, low cloud, short of petrol so decide to return to El Rio Hotel, Turrialba.


June 09:  Set off for Guayabo ruins but as Volcan Turrialba looked clear drive there instead – entrance gates locked. Return to El Rio after some birding, then drive direct to Volcan Irazu in one hour without going through Cartago. 16.30- 20.30 birding with Ernesto as guide. OVN at Grandpa’s.


June 10:  0430- 1120 Volcan Irazu, including Prusia reserve. After brunch at café near Grandpa’s, meet Eduardo near his farm at Ujarras and bird with him in that area till he has to leave at 15.30, staying on till 5pm. OVN at Hemingway Inn, San Jose.


June 11: El Tapir near Braulio at 0600- 0945, some rain, drive to San Jose airport for Copa Airlines and KLM flights home.



Airport tax has to be paid when leaving the country, currently US$29 / person.

Exchange rate was $1 = 500 Colones. Taxi from airport to downtown San Jose was $25.

Most reserves charge for entry, eg $10 per person at Braulio Carrillo, much more at La Selva, $30 each at La Paz Waterfall gardens, $14 a day, $7 student rate if you’re lucky, at Santa Elena Reserve.

Weather – quite a lot of rain, better to go in the period March - April

Car-hire: June onwards is classed as the low season, car-hire should be a lot cheaper. We belatedly discovered that the Hemmingway Inn could have got us a much better deal than we did ourselves in San Jose.

Generous help was given by Pat O’Donnell, and Bob French (email).

Ernesto Carman at Volcan Iraz and Ruinas de Ujarras, tel 8842762

 Cali on at Rancho Naturalista.

There are many well-known good sites such as Braulio Carrillo, La Selva, Arenal, Carara, Monteverde, Cerro de la Muerte. Lesser-known sites are well covered by BirdQuest in recent reports and tour itineraries on its website , eg Las Cruces is the place for White-tailed Emerald and Snowy-bellied Hummingbird, with Los Cusingos for White-crested Coquette.

 Veragua Rainforest Reserve is easy to reach but rarely visited by birders, possibly because it seems difficult to contact – it is essential to make a reservation as the entrance gates are likely to be locked otherwise. It is a good site, especially for the resident Central American Pygmy-Owls and visiting Umbrellabirds in Dec – Jan when trees are fruiting. Daniel Torres, the reserve manager, is very helpful and may be contactable on tel. 22965056 and 88983998, The reserve guide is Marco Cascante Rodriguez, tel 89279630.

El Copal is said to be a good reserve, though I can’t remember what for, with Christian on 830270 a helpful guide.



May 21: 0500 collected at Europa Hotel by Carlos, 0600 arrive at Braulio Carrillo, spend the morning on La Palmas Trail. Half way along, a Black-capped Antpitta responded to my play-back and eventually gave good views, to Carlos’s surprise. One of the hardest birds in the bag on the first morning! Little else of note so left for lunch and on to La Selva and the nearby Sarapiqui area. At 5pm another star bird flew directly overhead – 3 Great Green Macaws, my last seeable macaw in the wild. Tried for Uniform Crake without success. Overnight at the pleasant Los Portones Cabins.


May 22: 0500 – 11.30 in the clearing and on trails at La Selva Biological Station. Colleagues joined the multitude of nubile American female researchers at breakfast while I only partook of a coffee. We had fine views of Great Currasow (feeding a young chick), Crested Guans high in open trees, and toucans, plus 3 Snowy Cotinga in flight and 10 Swallow-tailed Kites. Other birds included Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Band-backed, Black-throated and Stripe-breasted Wrens - but none of the larger swifts apparent so no chance of seeing Spot-fronted at one of its few potential sites. We moved on to Volcan Poaz and stopped halfway up at La Paz Waterfall Gardens at 1500m. The hummingbird feeders here were very popular with tourists and we enjoyed watching and photo’ing the best selection of hummers we saw the whole trip. Species including male Green Thorntail, Coppery-headed Emerald, Black-bellied Hummingbird and White-bellied Mountain-gem. Walking the trails gave a family of Black-breasted Wood-Quail, a Prong-billed Barbet and a Barred Hawk in flight. We left at 3.45pm as a thunder and lightning show started, and returned to La Selva where the most interesting sight to me was a pair of Rufous-tailed Jacamar dust-bathing near the bridge. Another night at Los Portones Cabins.    


May 23: 05.30 we tried another marsh for Uniform Crake but only succeeded in seeing Green Ibis from Carlos’s garden nearby. Revisited La Selva at 0700-0800, hoping for Snowy Cotinga for Rod but to no avail, saw a few new birds including Rufous-winged Woodpecker. Drove to Medio Queso wetland where we saw a good selection of wetland birds including several Bare-throated Tiger-Heron and 5 Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture. After lunch in Chiles we continued to Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, with a stop for Nicaraguan Seed-Finch. After checking in to Cabins at nearby Kingfisher Lodge, we spent 16.00 to 17.45 at the river awaiting the arrival of Nicaraguan Grackles. At first all we saw were Great-tailed Grackles but at 17.10 a male Nicaraguan arrived, followed by 2 more that displayed for some time to a female at the river’s edge. Finally 8 arrived and dropped into long grass, soon disappearing, presumably to roost. After dining at a local restaurant, Carlos played Pacific Screech-Owl calls outside and got an immediate response - the obliging bird was soon spot-lit. Back at the cabins, Mottled Owl was tried and we soon saw that too!


May 24:  05.45 left for a very enjoyable 2 hour boat-trip along the Rio Frio and into the marshy Lago Caño Negro, with an excellent boatman arranged by Carlos. The highlight was a fine view of a Yellow-breasted Crake but many other birds were seen, mainly waterbirds, including Boat-billed Herons and some landbirds such as our only Grey-headed Doves, Spot-breasted Wrens and Yellow-crowned Euphonias, along with numerous large Spectacled Caiman. It started to rain on the way back and continued until we reached Arenal Volcano, our next destination. We birded the old road to Arenal Observatory Lodge and soon saw Keel-billed and Broad-billed Motmots but only heard Thicket Antpitta. On a trail at the base of the volcano a small ant-swarm was accompanied by Spotted and Bicoloured Antbirds, while White-throated Thrushes sang sweetly in the forest and our only Fasciated Tiger-Heron stood very closely in the river. The attractive Lodge was too expensive for our pockets so we dropped down to Cabins Mayol at La Fortuna.


May 25: An early start for the trail over the hanging bridge below Arenal Observatory Lodge was rewarded by an obliging Thicket Antpitta, thanks to a tip-off by one of Carlos’s friends. The calls of this species were frequently heard elsewhere but always from thick undergrowth. The ant-swarm was much larger today and attended by Ocellated Antbird as well as Spotted and numerous Bicoloured. We were able to explore the Lodge grounds as Carlos had booked lunch at the Lodge. We watched bird activity in and over the forest below from a view-point at the lower cabins. Raptors were few but included a distant White Hawk. Eventually at 08.15 Carlos spotted a male Lovely Cotinga, as hoped, although it was rather distant. The trails and gardens were disappointingly quiet, with no sign of the hoped-for Black-crested Coquette and it rained on and off for the rest of the day. After the expensive lunch we drove down the old road to try for Bare-crowned Antbird, but only seen briefly after a tape dual. Then we headed back to our cabins at Mayol, La Fortuna.


May 26:  We spent the first 2 hours on the old road to Arenal Observatory mainly looking unsuccessfully for the Antbird again, though did have good views of 2 Keel-billed Motmots and toucans near the dam. Then we drove for 3 hours towards the Volcan Tenorio road. After brunch on the way, we birded along the VT road in the sporadic rain and had a brief flight view of a Tody Motmot after a tape-dual. Moving on beyond the pass we were rewarded with two of the best sightings of the trip: a close male Lovely Cotinga and at 14.30 a Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo (at 700m elevation). The cuckoo was totally unexpected being rarely recorded in Costa Rica, especially as it was some 10m up a tree and climbing higher! We watched it for a few minutes as it clambered about before sailing across the road on short broad wings like a Chachalaca, and landing in another tree only to disappear deeper into the forest. This was only my second ground-cuckoo (excluding Lesser), even more extraordinary than my first, a Banded in Ecuador in 1997 walking across the entrance road to Bilsa Reserve and into open secondary growth (I did see another here at a forest ant-swarm later on). As the rain became heavier we continued to Heliconias Lodge at 4pm, finding ourselves to be the only visitors at this attractive spot. We tried one of the trails but only saw an Olive Tanager in the rain. After a dinner of one good course, the others tried owling but only heard a Crested Owl. The lodge was rather over-priced at $100 a room, according to Carlos. 


May 27:  We spent a worthless hour on a rather wet trail, had breakfast then tried the main trail. We did find a perched Tody Motmot and saw 2 Song Wrens and a White-ringed Flycatcher but as the rain continued to fall, we decided to leave a day early, at 11.30. The timing was critical as the road to Monteverde, our next destination, would be closed for several hours in the afternoon for improvement work. We made it in time, though had to wait 30 mins, stopping briefly for a pair of Spot-breasted Oriole, then for lunch at a restaurant. Here, Carlos got very excited at spotting a Yellow-tailed Oriole, a range extension apparently. We dropped off our main bags at Cabins Eddy, Monteverde, drove on to Santa Elena, left the car there and walked down the steep muddy track to San Gerardo Research Station, from 16.00 to 17.30, dropping from 1650 to 1270m elevation. The purpose of doing this was to try to see an Umbrellabird at the only known lek site. Monteverde looked dry but San Gerardo appeared wet and had been experiencing heavy rain. We were eventually admitted to the Research Station building and served by Giovani and his wife with a highly edible large quantity of spaghetti Bolognese with veg. The bunk beds were certainly acceptable, even if the cost wasn’t ($190 for the 4 of us). 


May 28:  A day of heavy showers. We took the Tabacon Trail at 05.00 to the Umbrellabird lek-site, guided by Giovani, but there was no sight or sound of the bird, and Giovani admitted he had not seen it for a month. After a good breakfast back at the Station, we spent the rest of the morning on other trails, with a good view of a Buff-fronted Quail-Dove but no Umbrellabirds. Leaving after a good lunch at 13.00, we walked up to the car and into nearby Santa Elena Reserve where an Umbrellabird had been feeding at a fruiting tree at 09.00 – 09.30. We took the Encantado Trail as one of the guides there said that’s where it had been seen. Needless to say we had no joy other than Black-faced Solitaire and Bellbirds but on our way out at pre-dusk, Carlos played Bare-shanked Screech-Owl calls and was immediately answered. The bird was soon located and observed in day-light, then we moved on to Cabins Eddy – good rooms and facilities, but no meals so we duly found a restaurant in the town.


May 29:  A dry day at last! 0645-1135 we returned to Santa Elena Reserve, after an early breakfast. I spent time watching two large moss-covered trees with some bird-life including a bird that initially puzzled me  - a flat-headed female/juv Purple-throated Fruitcrow. Managed to photo both male and female Bellbirds and Golden-bellied Flycatcher but still no Umbrellabird. We moved to Finca Ecologia near Monteverde Lodge because Carlos’s contacts said it was good for Chiriqui Quail-Dove. Brian and I went down to the river and up the other side where we saw a pair of Black-breasted Wood-Quail, while Rod and Carlos saw a Sunbittern. No sign of Quail-Doves on the trails so the others chose to visit a hummingbird feeder station elsewhere while I spent longer at Finca Ecologia. None of us had anything new and when the others returned Carlos started playing the Quail-Dove recording with some gusto, eventually hearing one at a distance. We tracked it down after some time and Rod spotted it perched in a bush, success at last! Back to Cabinas Eddy at 1645, local restaurant for meal.


May 30:  We agreed to skip breakfast for a final visit to Santa Elena Reserve at 0600-0830. Still no sign of our target but I was able to photo Black Guan at last and spot a calling male Resplendent Quetzal. Checked out at Eddy’s and started the long drive south to Rincon de Osa. The main stop en route was at La Gamba, a small Pacific port area where there were some easily accessible mangroves at the river mouth. Here we saw one of our quarry, a Mangrove Hummingbird, along with a few Royal Terns in the harbour. It rained later before we reached our destination, Osa Palmas at La Palma on the Osa Peninsula. The rain cleared leaving a starry starry night as we shared a giant pizza.


May 31:  0530 departure for Golfito Bridge, where we soon saw 3 distant Yellow-billed Cotingas, then 1 perched atop a tree by the river and another flew past. A male Turquoise Cotinga perched by the river for 5 mins and a Yellow-billed started preening near the top of a riverside tree for a long time. We left it there at 07.10 for a day trip to Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Piedras Blancas National Park, arriving at 08.30. No visitors are allowed here so Carlos had booked lunch for us, as at Arenal: $69 for the 4 of us, good quality food with fresh banana juice. The key birds here were Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager and Uniform Crake. The former was soon found but the Crake took more time because it mostly stayed in thick bushes on dry land and I found it very difficult to get a reasonable view in the dim light, should have used a torch on it. We went up a steep trail and saw a pair of Baird’s Trogons but failed to see the calling Great Tinamou. Other new birds included Blue-headed Parrot, Orange-fronted Parakeet, Bronzy Hermit, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Charming Hummingbird and Olivaceous Piculet. It was a slower return to Osa Palmas due to heavy rain. Carlos took the car to a mechanic for a repair job but it was made worse as the mechanic sheared a high pressure oil-pipe and did not have a spare. This meant the morning’s departure would be postponed.


June 01:  We birded around the lodge, in pleasant surroundings, while awaiting the car’s return. The most notable sightings for me were 2 King Vultures soaring with TVs and a pair of Masked Tityras apparently nest-building, the male  trying to push a large leaf into several woodpecker holes. The car was returned at 09.30, repaired in a fashion, then we drove directly to Cerro de la Muerte – no more time at Golfito Bridge as I had wanted. We did stop at a nice property at c.1000m with several hummer-feeders and flowers – very busy but not much variety, the hoped-for Garden Emerald being missing. We eventually reached Cerro de la Muerte at 3300m. We didn’t stop long as rain was continuous but did see a “tame” Volcano Junco, a Timberline Wren and a pair of Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher. We dropped down to Miriam’s cabins, in the San Gerardo de Dota area, took 2 of them and had a good meal, after which the others went owling, without success.            


June 02:  All day was spent in the San Gerardo de Dota area including a trail in the grounds of Savegre Lodge, mainly looking for Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge, Ochraceous Pewee and Wrenthrush. We saw the Pewee atop a tree along the main river after quite a search, heard the Partridge but no Wrenthrush. Many other good upland birds were seen, eg Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Dark Pewee, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo and a great view of a Buff-fronted Quail-Dove. The bird- feeding station at Miriam’s gave great photo opportunities, and our food was also excellent.


June 03:  Owling started at 03.30 but with no response, unlike when Rich Hopf had been earlier in the year and seen both Bare-shanked Screech-Owl and Unspotted Saw-whet near Miriam’s. The Partridge search failed again, a pair of Spotted Wood-Quails being some consolation, and we packed to leave, stopping at nearby Mirador del Quetzal. Here we did have good views of 2 Wrenthrush (but no Ochraceous Pewee), Black-and-yellow Silky-Flycatcher, Magnificent and large numbers of Fiery-throated Hummingbirds. Then we drove down to Cartago and on to Grandpa’s Hotel at the base of Volcan Irazu. We had to stay at the hotel all afternoon as Carlos tried to get the car repaired again in Cartago. The only notable bird was an Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, singing in a small conifer plantation. We fed at a nearby restaurant, rather expensive by our standards. The sky was alight with a distant lengthy thunderstorm.


June 04:  03.00 start up Volcan Irazu to look for the Saw-whet. An owl responded to play-back and we soon saw it but our joy was quickly dashed by realizing it was a Bare-shanked Screech-Owl. Moving further along the road resulted in the same story, it seems play-back is not the answer to finding this species. We then spent hours trying to see the Wood-Partridge - colleagues had brief sightings at the bottom of a steep gully but not me. There was little response to play-back with this species too – doubtless better earlier in the year. We did see a pair of Resplendent Quetzal and Volcano Hummingbird but eventually gave up, dropped down to Cartago and on to Ruinas de Ujarras. Here in the surrounding coffee plantations we had brief views of Cabinisi’s Ground-Sparrow, an attractive split off Prevost’s. After this we drove to San Jose and checked in at the Hemingway Inn. We had hoped that Carlos would be able to stay longer with us but he was otherwise occupied so after helping us rent a car, we made our farewells, very pleased with his efforts over the last 15 days. This left a week to find the remaining 4 birds on my list, the Umbrellabird being a write-off now. From his contacts, Carlos thought our best chance for the Central American Pygmy-Owl, plus Snowy Cotinga for Rod, was to visit Veragua Rainforest Reserve, only a few hours away, and he was able to arrange permission for us to go there, although not to stay. 


June 05:  We started the day with a drive to El Tapir Reserva Ecotouristica just past  Braulio Carrillo, to look for Snowcap for Rod and Black-crested Coquette for Brian and him. A fine male Snowcap was duly seen but no Coquette. We continued on Route 32 to Liverpool ( ! ), a container centre not quite up to the British city’s standard. Knowing Veragua to be nearby we sought affordable accommodation which proved to be difficult to achieve, finally settling for Cabinas La Uvita in Moin, near Limon. Returning to Liverpool we turned left for 16km to Veragua Reserve and located the manager Daniel Torres. He was a very friendly guy who proceeded to help us find the Pygmy-Owl, a diurnal caller, near the reserve centre. It responded after a while and was eventually seen well. Dani told us he had arranged for Marco, a good local guide to be with us in the morning as the reserve held many Caribbean species.


June 06:  A dry morning with some sun but heavy rain for some of the time in the afternoon. At 0415 we drove to Veragua, arriving at 05.00 and soon met Marco. He told us he lived in Limon, a large port where prices were high and safety an issue – he had been mugged a week ago and had his play-back equipment stolen, not helpful to today’s birding. 

We saw a few birds of interest in the central area including Olive-backed Euphonia, then drove back to the road to look for Snowy Cotinga, without success, but on the way had a good view of a CA Pygmy-Owl perched up. Back at the Reserve we checked the hummingbird garden, seeing Bronze-tailed Plumeteer and our only Blue-chested Hummingbirds. We took a steep trail down to the river to look for specialities such as Spot-crowned Antvireo without success but did have a few good frogs, lizards and a snake. Self-service lunch was in a large restaurant with a few of the Reserve’s workers and Dani. He was very friendly and invited us to come back tomorrow and spend as long as we wanted, then helped us study a flock, in between the showers, containing Boat-billed Flycatcher, Rufous Mourner, Rufous-winged Tanager and Shining Honeycreeper. As the rain became continuous and Marco wanted to get home before dark, we left in late afternoon to bird along the road, with little reward. Night at Uvita Hotel again.


June 07:  Heavy rain on and off all morning. We started with 2 hours at Brisas de la Jungla a few km up the Veragua road, a good site for Black-chested Jay according to Marco. The trails looked good but were very quiet, apart from numerous brightly coloured small frogs. I tried another trail before B and R joined me and found a small party of Black-chested and Brown Jays with a Purple-throated Fruitcrow. We drove further up the road, mainly to look for Snowy Cotinga -  a distant female perched up was the only sighting. Returning to Ulvita to check out, we then drove to Turrialba, checked into the El Rio Hotel, at $30 for a 3-bed room - the cheapest we stayed at, possibly because it turned out to double as a brothel. Then we visited Guayabo National Monument at 1600-1745. The old ruins were of some interest and the surrounding forest looked as though it should contain many birds. We did see a male Quetzal, a pair of Grey-headed Chachalaca mating and 2 Stripe-breasted Wren, but it was rather disappointing.


June 08:  0530 we drove to Rancho Naturalista, another good but expensive reserve. We were able to visit by paying for lunch, staying till 2pm after enjoying the lunch. We thought of employing a guide but the only one present, Cali, had been booked by the only other visitors, a Canadian couple. He was both good and helpful to us, particularly in contacting his friend Ernesto who was very knowledgeable, especially on breeding Saw-whets and swifts, as we were to learn later. The main birds of interest we saw this morning were Tawny-chested Flycatcher, and Zeledon’s (Immaculate) Antbird for B and R, and Streak-chested Antpitta for Rod. We saw a good selection of hummers, often very close, with a few Green Thorntail and Green-breasted Mango very common but Black-crested Coquette that used to be regular now seems to be sporadic. We were allowed to look for it in the flowering bushes around the newish house where the Naturalista founder/owner lives – I had a good chat with him.

We drove to Silent Mountain in a rather optimistic attempt to see the rare Red-fronted Parrotlet at such a time of day, and failed. We did encounter a popular horse-riding racing event in a village on the way back. We returned to Turrialba and then decided to go up Volcan Turrialba some way off, because Cali said the vicinity of the Lodge up there was good for birds including the Saw-whet. It was not easy to find the way to the Lodge, up the road to Santa Cruz de Turrialba, and when we finally did, visibility was poor due to low cloud and it was rather cold. There were no visitors and the only way to stay overnight was to pay for full board at $45 a day, not expensive really but with dubious visibility and a low tank of petrol, we decided it was better to return to El Rio Hotel, which we did.


June 09:  We set off for a morning birding at the Guayabo ruins but as it looked bright and clear over at Volcan Turrialba  we drove there instead. We got to 3000m but at that point there were locked entrance gates so we could not go to the top (3300m). We birded around there, seeing Golden-browed Chlorophonia and Black-thighed Grosbeak amongst other birds. Two men came, unlocked the gates to go higher but would not let us in, so we returned to El Rio with a few birding stops. The map indicated that we could drive directly to Volcan Irazu without going through Cartago so we did this, only taking an hour to reach Grandpa’s by noon. We had already booked Ernesto to guide us to look for the Saw-whet on Irazu, but it was raining heavily in the afternoon so we wondered about delaying this. Fortunately we did not and the rain stopped shortly before he arrived at 16.30. Firstly we looked for the Wood-Partridge in the valley at the second yellow bridge. Two coveys called but would not show. Then we visited several breeding Saw-whet sites but there was no response at all to play-back – we were too late in the season. We gave up at 20.30, only seeing a perched Dusky Nightjar and a Barn Owl. Fortunately Ernesto offered to help us the next afternoon.


June 10:  We spent the morning from 0430 - 1120 on Volcan Irazu, starting with a search for an area of seeding bamboo that Ernesto had told us about where we might be able to see the rare Maroon-chested Ground-Dove and Peg-billed and Slaty Finches. This took some time to find thanks mainly to my failure to remember where exactly it was. We didn’t see any key species for certain although I had what appeared to be a colourful dove in flight. We then tried the second yellow bridge area which was quite birdy, with warblers, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush and Slaty Flowerpiercer, but no response from a Wood-Partridge. We turned off the main road to the right when going down it (just 500m below the first yellow bridge when going up) then forked left to enter the Prusia Reserve of the National Park, said to be good for Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl. No joy but we did have very close views of a Yellow-winged Vireo feeding a sick fledgling on the ground. Finally we parked at the first yellow bridge and I walked down into the valley while B and R took a nap in the car. To my surprise a Wood-Partridge did respond to play-back this time and I eventually had a brief view.


We checked out at Grandpa’s, had brunch at a cheap nearby café, then drove down through Cartago to meet Eduardo near his farm at Ujarras. We walked around the farm’s undergrowth, looking mainly for Wood-Partridge without success, then drove to nearby coffee plantations where we saw one perched Cabanisi’s Ground-Sparrow, a Garden Emerald and a Long-billed Starthroat. Eduardo got very excited about a Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet feeding in a tree, a rare bird in these parts apparently. However the main interest was the large number of swifts that appeared at 3.30, some giving good close views. These were mainly White-collared but Eduardo pointed out Black, Dusky-backed (Vaux’s) and a few of the rare Spot-fronted, the last tick for me. He had to leave for work but we stayed till 5pm, seeing smaller numbers of swifts but were unable to pick-out Spot-fronted with any confidence. We did have good close views of 3 hovering White-tailed Kites before heading back to the Hemingway Inn in San Jose, which Brian found surprisingly quickly considering how poor the road signs were.


June 11:  We checked out after a cooked breakfast at 04.30 and drove past Braulio Carrillo, shut till 08.00, to nearby El Tapir. We stayed here from 0600 to 0945. It had been dry but started raining as soon as we arrived, stopping after 30 mins. We watched the hummers for some time, seeing a pair of Snowcap, a tick for Rod, but no Coquettes. Cinnamon Becard and Thick-billed Seedeater were nesting nearby. We walked a trail in the good-looking humid forest but it was too wet for much action. It was time to leave so we drove to the airport, surprisingly well signed, but taking nearly 90mins due to heavy traffic around the city. Returning the car near to the airport was straightforward and our Copa Airlines and KLM flights home were all on time. So ended a very enjoyable and successful trip, with grateful thanks to a number of Costa Ricans, especially Eduardo and Carlos.






TRIP LIST                         X=not seen by JH

Great Tinamou, Tinamus major                                                             Heard at La Selva, Santa Elena, Veragua & Esquinas

Little Tinamou, Crypturellus soui                                                           Heard at Veragua

Neotropic Cormorant, Phalacrocorax brasilianus                                    Common at Cano Negro

Anhinga, Anhinga anhinga                                                                    Common at Cano Negro

Magnificent Frigatebird, Fregata magnificens                                        4 at the Carribean port

Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias                                                         1 at Cano Negro

Great Egret, Ardea alba                                                                       Common at Cano Negro

Tricolored Heron, Egretta tricolor                                                          3 at Cano Negro

Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea                                                        2 at Medio Queso wetland and Cano Negro

Snowy Egret, Egretta thula                                                                  20 at Medio Queso and a few at Cano Negro

Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis                                                                   Scattered records

Green Heron, Butorides virescens                                                         Common at Cano Negro and a few elsewhere

Black-crowned Night-Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax                                Two singles at Cano Negro

Boat-billed Heron, Cochlearius cochlearius                                            2 at Cano Negro

Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Tigrisoma mexicanum                                  4 at Medio Queso & 1 at Golfito bridge

Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Tigrisoma fasciatum                                          1 below Arenal Lodge

X   Wood Stork, Mycteria americana                                                    1 at Medio Queso

Green Ibis, Mesembrinibis cayennensis                                                 1 at Sarapiqui, 3 at Medio Queso, 2 at Cano Negro and 1 at Esquinas

White Ibis, Eudocimus albus                                                                20+ at Medio Queso, 40 at Golfito bridge

Roseate Spoonbill, Ajaia ajaja                                                             1 at Medio Queso, 20 at Golfito bridge

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Dendrocygna autumnalis                          Common at Cano Negro, 2 at Golfito bridge

Black Vulture, Coragyps atratus                                                            Common throughout

Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura                                                              Common throughout

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Cathartes burrovianus                            5 at Medio Queso

King Vulture, Sarcoramphus papa                                                         1 at Arenal Lodge, 2 at Osa Palmas

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus                                                                   1 at Arenal Lodge & Cano Negro

Swallow-tailed Kite, Elanoides forficatus                                               10 at La Selva, singles at Finca Ecologica & Savegre

Pearl Kite, Macheiramphus alcinus                                                       2 en route to Rincon

White-tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus                                                         Seen on 6 days with a max of 6 at Ujarras

Barred Hawk, Leucopternis princeps                                                     1 at La Paz Waterfall gardens

White Hawk, Leucopternis albicollis                                                       1 below Arenal Lodge

Common Black-Hawk, Buteogallus anthracinus                                     1 at Veragua

Grey Hawk, Asturina nitida                                                                   Seen on 4 days with a max of 3 on 23rd

Roadside Hawk, Buteo magnirostris                                                     Seen on 6 days

Short-tailed Hawk, Buteo brachyurus                                                    1 at Arenal Lodge and 2 at Ujarras

Black Hawk-Eagle, Spizaetus tyrannus                                                 Heard at Veragua

Northern Crested Caracara, Caracara plancus                                        2 at Medio Queso and singles near Arenal and Monteverde

Yellow-headed Caracara, Milvago chimachima                                      Singles en route to Rincon & on Volcan Irazu, 3 Rincon - Esquinas

Laughing Falcon, Herpetotheres cachinnans                                          1 near Medio Queso

Barred Forest-Falcon, Micrastur ruficollis                                              1 perched well below Arenal Lodge

Grey-headed Chachalaca, Ortalis cinereiceps                                        Fairly common and widespread

Crested Guan, Penelope purpurascens                                                  6 at La Selva, 1 at Volcan Tenorio rd, 2 at San Gerardo

Black Guan, Chamaepetes unicolor                                                       Up to 5 daily in the mountains

Great Curassow, Crax rubra                                                                 A pair at La Selva, 5 at Arenal Lodge

Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge, Dendrortyx leucophrys                     Heard daily at San Gerardo de Dota, singles seen on Volcan Irazu

Marbled Wood-Quail, Odontophorus gujanensis                                     Heard at Esquinas

Black-breasted Wood-Quail, Odontophorus leucolaemus                   5 at La Paz Waterfall gardens, 2 at Finca Ecologia, heard at San Gerardo 

Spotted Wood-Quail, Odontophorus guttatus                                        2 at San Gerardo de Dota

Limpkin, Aramus guarauna                                                                   A few at Cano Negro, 1 at Golfito bridge

White-throated Crake, Laterallus albigularis                                           1+ at Sarapiqui and 1 at Esquinas

Grey-necked Wood-Rail, Aramides cajanea                                           10 at Cano Negro, 4 at Esquinas, 3 at Osa Palmas, 2 at Rancho Naturalista

Uniform Crake, Amaurolimnas concolor                                            3 at Esquinas

Yellow-breasted Crake, Porzana flaviventer                                        2 or 3 at Cano Negro

Purple Gallinule, Porphyrula martinica                                                   several at Cano Negro, 1 imm. Sarapiqui

Sunbittern, Eurypyga helias                                                                  1 at San Gerardo & Finca Ecologica

Northern Jacana, Jacana spinosa                                                         Common at Cano Negro & a few elsewhere

Spotted Sandpiper, Actitis macularia                                                   1 at Medio Queso, the only wader of the trip!

Royal Tern, Sterna maxima                                                                  5 at the Carribean port

Band-tailed Pigeon, Columba fasciata                                                  30+ at Mirador del Quetzal, a few elsewhere in mountains

Pale-vented Pigeon, Columba cayennensis                                           A few at Cano Negro & elsewhere

Red-billed Pigeon, Columba flavirostris                                                 Small numbers widely scattered

Short-billed Pigeon, Columba nigrirostris                                               Heard at several sites, only seen at Veragua

Ruddy Pigeon, Columba subvinacea                                                    1 at Santa Elena Reserve

Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura                                                       1 at Ujarras was the only 1 noted

White-winged Dove, Zenaida asiatica                                                   A few at Heliconias, Ujarras & en route

Common Ground-Dove, Columbina passerina                                       A few below Monteverde

Ruddy Ground-Dove, Columbina talpacoti                                             Common throughout

Inca Dove, Columbina inca                                                                   A few en route to & from Monteverde

Blue Ground-Dove, Claravis pretiosa                                                    Only 1 at Esquinas

White-tipped Dove, Leptotila verreauxi                                                  Common throughout

Grey-headed Dove, Leptotila plumbeiceps                                            Singles at Cano Negros

Grey-chested Dove, Leptotila cassini                                                    Singles at Sarapiqui, La Paz Waterfall gardens, Esquinas & Veragua road

Purplish-backed Quail-Dove, Geotrygon lawrencii                                  Heard at San Gerardo

Buff-fronted Quail-Dove, Geotrygon costaricensis                              Singles at San Gerardo, San Gerardo de Dota & Mirador del Quetzal

Chiriqui Quail-Dove, Geotrygon chiriquensis                                     1 at Finca Ecologica

Great Green Macaw, Ara ambigua                                                      5 at Sarapiqui

Scarlet Macaw, Ara macao                                                                   3 at Sarapiqui, 20 at Golfito bridge & 2 at Osa Palmas

Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Aratinga finschi                                           Fairly common and widespread

Olive-throated Parakeet, Aratinga nana                                                 10 at Sarapique & La Selva

Orange-fronted Parakeet, Aratinga canicularis                                       2 at Esquinas

Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Pyrrhura hoffmanni                                        8 at Savegre Lodge

Orange-chinned Parakeet, Brotogeris jugularis                                       Fairly common in the lowlands

Brown-hooded Parrot, Pionopsitta haematotis                                       Recorded on 6 days with a max of 10

Blue-headed Parrot, Pionus menstruus                                                 2 at Esquinas

White-crowned Parrot, Pionus senilis                                                    Seen on 4 days with a max of 35 on Veragua road

Red-lored Parrot, Amazona autumnalis                                                 A few around Arenal and at Esquinas

Mealy Parrot, Amazona farinosa                                                           A few at La Selva and Golfito bridge, 10 at Veragua

Squirrel Cuckoo, Piaya cayana                                                            Singles at Cano Negros & Arenal Lodge, 2 at Veragua

Smooth-billed Ani, Crotophaga ani                                                        Several in the Golfito to Equinas region

Groove-billed Ani, Crotophaga sulcirostris                                             Common away from the Pacific lowlands

Striped Cuckoo, Tapera naevia                                                            Heard in the lowlands

Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Neomorphus geoffroyi                     1 in trees on Volcan Tenorio road

Barn Owl, Tyto alba                                                                             1 perched by the Volcan Irazu road

Pacific Screech-Owl, Otus cooperi                                                        1 called in by play-back at Cano Negro

Bare-shanked Screech-Owl, Otus clarkii                                         1 at Santa Elena Reserve, 2 on Volcan Irazu 

Mottled Owl, Ciccaba virgata                                                            1 called in at night at Cano Negro

Crested Owl, Lophostrix cristata                                                        Heard at San Gerardo

Central American Pygmy-Owl, Glaucidium griseiceps                    Two singles seen at Veragua with another heard

Great Potoo, Nyctibius grandis                                                         A juv in the nest at La Selva

Pauraque, Nyctidromus albicollis                                                       1 or 2 seen on 6 days

Dusky Nightjar, Caprimulgus saturatus                                              Singles seen near Miriam's and on Volcan Irazu, others heard in the mountains

Black Swift, Cypseloides niger                                                          3 seen at Ujarras

Spot-fronted Swift, Cypseloides cherriei                                         3+ seen at Ujarras

White-collared Swift, Streptoprocne zonaris                                        100 at Cano Negro, more at Ujarras

Grey-rumped Swift, Chaetura cinereiventris                                        Fairly common in the lowlands in the first 6 days, only 2 at Veragua after that

Dusky-backed (Vaux's) Swift, Chaetura vauxi                                    A few at Ujarras

Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, Panyptila cayennensis                            Singles at La Selva and Veragua

Bronzy Hermit, Glaucis aenea                                                           1 at Esquinas

Band-tailed Barbthroat, Threnetes ruckeri                                          1 at Esquinas

Green Hermit, Phaethornis guy                                                          A few at La Paz Waterfall gardens, singles at Arenal Lodge, San Gerardo, Veragua Road and El Tapir

Western Long-tailed Hermit, Phaethornis longirostris                           Singles at Esquinas & Veragua

Stripe-throated Hermit, Phaethornis striigularis                                   Singles at 7 sites

Violet Sabrewing, Campylopterus hemileucurus                                  10 at La Paz Waterfall gardens, singles at San Gerardo, Miriam's and Volcan Irazu

White-necked Jacobin, Florisuga mellivora                                         Common at Rancho and a few at 4 other sites

Brown Violet-ear, Colibri delphinae                                                     2 at La Paz Waterfall gardens, El Tapir and Rancho

Green Violet-ear, Colibri thalassinus                                                  2 at La Paz Waterfall gardens, 5 at Monteverde and 3 at Ujarras & El Tapir

Green-breasted Mango, Anthracothorax prevostii                               2 below Arenal Lodge, 10 at Rancho & 1 at Ujarras

Violet-headed Hummingbird, Klais guimeti                                         4 at Arenal lodge, 1 at La Paz Waterfall gardens & Esquinas

Green Thorntail, Discosura conversii                                                  A male at La Paz Waterfall gardens, 3 at Rancho

Garden(Blue-tailed) Emerald, Chlorostilbon assimilis                           1 at Ujarras was the only 1 noted

Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Panterpe insignis                                  Abundant at Mirador del Quetzal, 5 at Savegre Lodge & Volcan Irazu, 10 at Volcan Turrialba

Coppery-headed Emerald, Elvira cupreiceps                                      6 at La Paz Waterfall gardens & 5 Monteverde

Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Eupherusa eximia                                    1 at La Paz Waterfall gardens, 3 at Monteverde, 2 at Miriam's

Black-bellied Hummingbird, Eupherusa nigriventris                             A few at La Paz Waterfall gardens

Violet-crowned Woodnymph, Thalurania colombica                            A few at La Selva, La Paz Waterfall gardens, El Tapir and Rancho

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Amazilia tzacatl                                     Fairly common and widespread

Blue-chested Hummingbird, Polyerata amabilis                                  5 at Veragua

Charming (Beryl-crowned) Hummingbird, Polyerata decora                 2 at Esquinas

Mangrove Hummingbird, Polyerata boucardi                                  1 in mangroves at La Gamba

Blue (Steely)-vented Hummingbird, Saucerottia saucerrottei                2 at Arenal Lodge & 1 at Finca Ecologica

Snowcap, Microchera albocoronata                                                   A pair at El Tapir on both visits

Bronze-tailed Plumeteer, Chalybura urochrysia                                   2 at Arenal Lodge & 1 at Veragua, Rancho & El Tapir

White-bellied Mountain-gem, Lampornis hemileucus                           2 at La Paz Waterfall gardens, 1 at San Gerardo

Purple-throated Mountain-gem, Lampornis calolaema                         6 at La Paz Waterfall gardens, 10+ at Monteverde & 1 at Santa Elena

Green-crowned Brilliant, Heliodoxa jacula                                           2 at Braulio Carrillo, 10+ at Cerro de la Muerte

Magnificent Hummingbird, Eugenes fulgens                                      1 at Savegre, a few at Mirador del Quetzal & Volcan Irazu

Purple-crowned Fairy, Heliothryx barroti                                             2 La Selva, 1 Arenal lodge & Veragua

Long-billed Starthroat, Heliomaster longirostris                                   1+ at Ujjarras

Scintillant Hummingbird, Selasphorus scintilla                                    2 at Savegre & 1 at Ujarras

Volcano Hummingbird, Selasphorus flammula                                   up to 5 on Volcan Irazu

Black-headed Trogon, Trogon melanocephalus                                  1 at La Selva

Baird's Trogon, Trogon bairdii                                                           A pair at Esquinas

Violaceous (Gartered) Trogon, Trogon violaceus caligatus                  Singles at La Selva, Arenal Lodge and Veragua

Xalapa (Collared) Trogon, Trogon collaris                                          Singles at Santa Elena & Mirador del Quetzal

Orange-bellied Trogon, Trogon aurantiiventris                                    Singles at San Gerardo, Santa Elena & Finca Ecologica

Slaty-tailed Trogon, Trogon massena                                                Singles at La Selva & Esquinas, 6 at Veragua

Lattice-tailed Trogon, Trogon clathratus                                             1 at Brisas de la Jungla

Resplendent Quetzal, Pharomachrus mocinno                                    A pair at Santa Elena & Volcan Irazu, 1 at Guayabo ruins, heard at 4 other sites

Ringed Kingfisher, Ceryle torquata                                                    A few at Cano Negro, 2 at Arenal Lodge & 1 at Veragua road

Amazon Kingfisher, Chloroceryle amazona                                         A few at Cano Negro

Green Kingfisher, Chloroceryle americana                                          A few at Cano Negro, singles at Golfito bridge & Veragua road

Tody Motmot, Hylomanes momotula                                                 2 singles at Heliconia Lodge

Blue-diademed (crowned) Motmot, Momotus momota                        6 at Finca Ecologica & 2 at Volcan Irazu

Rufous Motmot, Baryphthengus martii                                               Singles at Braulio Carrillo, Arenal old road & Rancho, heard at La Selva

Keel-billed Motmot, Electron carinatum                                          1 or 2 Arenal old road

Broad-billed Motmot, Electron platyrhynchum                                    2 at La Selva, Arenal old road & San Gerardo

Turquoise-browed Motmot, Eumomota superciliosa                            2 at San Gerardo

Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Galbula ruficauda                                          5 at La Selva including 2 dust-bathing

Red-headed Barbet, Eubucco bourcierii                                             A pair at Santa Elena

X   Prong-billed Barbet, Semnornis frantzii                                         1 at La Paz Waterfall gardens

Blue-throated(Emerald) Toucanet, Aulacorhynchus caeruleogularis      1 at San Gerardo & Rancho

Collared Aracari, Pteroglossus torquatus                                            Fairly common in the lowlands in the first 6 days, only 2 at Veragua after that

Fiery-billed Aracari, Pteroglossus frantzii                                            Singles at Heliconias Lodge & Golfito bridge

Keel-billed Toucan, Ramphastos sulfuratus                                        Fairly common and widespread

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Ramphastos swainsonii                         1 or 2 at La Selva, Arenal Lodge, Esquinas & El Tapir with others heard

Olivaceous Piculet, Picumnus olivaceus                                            1 at Esquinas

Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus                                    Common at Miriam's feeders & a few at Volcan Turrialba & Volcan Irazu

Golden-naped Woodpecker, Melanerpes chrysauchen                       2 at Santa Elena

Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Melanerpes pucherani                           Fairly common with a daily max of 4

Hoffmann's Woodpecker, Melanerpes hoffmannii                               1 or 2 at La Selva, Arenal old road, Santa Elena & Osa Palmas

Hairy Woodpecker, Picoides villosus                                                 2 at Savegre & 1 at Volcan Irazu

Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Veniliornis fumigatus                              1 at San Gerardo

Rufous-winged Woodpecker, Piculus simplex                                   1 at La Selva

Golden-olive Woodpecker, Piculus rubiginosus                                  1 at San Gerardo

Lineated Woodpecker, Dryocopus lineatus                                        1 at Braulio Corrillo, Veragua road & Rancho

Slaty Spinetail, Synallaxis brachyura                                                 2 at Arenal Lodge

Red-faced Spinetail, Cranioleuca erythrops                                        1 at San Gerardo de Dota

Spotted Barbtail, Premnoplex brunnescens                                        1 at Santa Elena & San Gerardo de Dota

Ruddy Treerunner, Margarornis rubiginosus                                        2 at San Gerardo de Dota, 1 Mirador del Quetzal

Plain Xenops, Xenops minutus                                                         1 at Veragua

Streak-breasted Treehunter, Thripadectes rufobrunneus                      1 at San Gerardo de Dota

Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Automolus ochrolaemus                      Singles at Arenal Lodge, Guaybo ruins & Rancho

Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Sclerurus mexicanus                               1 at San Gerardo

Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Dendrocincla fuliginosa                             1 at Braulio Corrillo

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Glyphorynchus spirurus                          1 at Braulio Carrillo, La Selva, 2 at Heliconias Lodge

Northern Barred-Woodcreeper, Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae             2 at La Selva

Cocoa (Buff-throated) Woodcreeper, Xiphorhynchus susurrans          1 at La Selva

Spotted Woodcreeper, Xiphorhynchus erythropygius                          1 below Arenal Lodge

Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Lepidocolaptes souleyetii                         1 at Cano Negro & Ujarras

Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Lepidocolaptes affinis                               2 at San Gerardo de Dota & Mirador del Quetzal, 1 at Volcan Irazu

Fasciated Antshrike, Cymbilaimus lineatus                                            1 at La Selva

Barred Antshrike, Thamnophilus doliatus                                            1 at Medio Queso

Western Slaty-Antshrike, Thamnophilus atrinucha                               1 at La Selva, heard at Veragua

Plain Antvireo, Dysithamnus mentalis                                                1 at San Gerardo

Streak-crowned Antvireo, Dysithamnus striaticeps                             2 at Braulio Carrillo

Slaty Antwren, Myrmotherula schisticolor                                           1 at San Gerardo & Esquinas

Dusky Antbird, Cercomacra tyrannina                                                2 at Rancho

Bare-crowned Antbird, Gymnocichla nudiceps                                    1 at Arenal old road

Chestnut-backed Antbird, Myrmeciza exsul                                       1 at La Selva, 3 at  Esquinas

Dull-mantled Antbird, Myrmeciza laemosticta                                     1 at Arenal old road

X   Zeledon’s(Immaculate) Antbird, Myrmeciza zeledoni                      3 at Rancho

Bicoloured Antbird, Gymnopithys leucaspis                                       10+ below Arenal Lodge, 1 at San Gerardo

Spotted Antbird, Hylophylax naevioides                                            2 or 3 below Arenal Lodge

Ocellated Antbird, Phaenostictus mcleannani                                     3 below Arenal Lodge

Black-headed Antthrush, Formicarius nigricapillus                              1 at San Gerardo

Black-crowned Antpitta, Pittasoma michleri                                    1+ at Braulio Carrillo

Scaled Antpitta, Grallaria guatimalensis                                             heard at San Gerardo

X   Streak-chested Antpitta, Hylopezus perspicillatus                          1 at Rancho

Thicket Antpitta, Hylopezus dives                                                   1 seen well below Arenal Lodge with up to 10 heard around Arenal

Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Scytalopus argentifrons                              Singles at Savegre & Volcan Turrialba, heard at San Gerardo

Lovely Cotinga, Cotinga amabilis                                                   1 male below Arenal Lodge & at Volcan Tenorio road

Turquoise Cotinga, Cotinga ridgwayi                                                  A male at Golfito bridge

Yellow-billed Cotinga, Carpodectes antoniae                                  3 - 5 at Golfito bridge

Snowy Cotinga, Carpodectes nitidus                                                 3 males in flight at La Selva, a female at Veragua road

Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Querula purpurata                                      1 at Santa Elena & Brisas de la Jungla

Three-wattled Bellbird, Procnias tricarunculata                                    A pair at Santa Elena with others heard here & at San Gerardo

White-collared Manakin, Manacus candei                                           2 at La Selva, heard at Veragua

Orange-collared Manakin, Manacus aurantiacus                                 1 at Esquinas

White-ruffed Manakin, Corapipo altera                                               1 at Braulio Carrillo & Arenal Lodge

Long-tailed Manakin, Chiroxiphia linearis                                            A male displaying at Finca Ecologia with 3 others heard

Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Camptostoma imberbe                        1 at Ujarras

Yellow Tyrannulet, Capsiempis flaveola                                              2 at Esquinas

Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Elaenia flavogaster                                         Widespread in small numbers

Mountain Elaenia, Elaenia frantzii                                                      A few in the mountains

Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Mionectes oleagineus                                 1 at La Selva & Esquinas

Olive-striped Flycatcher, Mionectes olivaceus                                    1 at Rancho

Paltry Tyrannulet, Zimmerius vilissimus                                             3 at Esquinas, 1 at Osa Palmas & Veragua

Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Myiornis atricapillus                              2 at La Selva

Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Lophotriccus pileatus                            1 at Arenal Lodge

Slate-headed Tody-Tyrant, Poecilotriccus sylvia                                 1 at Esquinas

Common Tody-Flycatcher, Todirostrum cinereum                               Widespread in small numbers

Eye-ringed Flatbill, Rhynchocyclus brevirostris                                   1 at San Gerardo, 2 at Esquinas

Yellow-margined Flycatcher, Tolmomyias assimilis                            2 at Volcan Tenorio road

White-throated Spadebill, Platyrinchus mystaceus                             1 at Finca Ecologia

Tawny-chested Flycatcher, Aphanotriccus capitalis                             3+ at Rancho

Tufted Flycatcher, Mitrephanes phaeocercus                                      1 at Braulio Carrillo

Olive-sided Flycatcher, Contopus cooperi                                          1 at Finca Ecologia

Rough-legged Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias burmeisteri                            1 at Rancho

Dark Pewee, Contopus lugubris                                                         1 at Savegre

Ochraceous Pewee, Contopus ochraceus                                       1 near Savegre

Tropical Pewee, Contopus cinereus                                                   A few records including at Arenal Lodge

Yellowish Flycatcher, Empidonax flavescens                                     1 at Santa Elena & Veragua

Black-capped Flycatcher, Empidonax atriceps                                   1 at San Gerardo de Dota , 3 at Volcan Irazu & a few at Volcan Turrialba

Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans                                                     Singles at Cano Negro, Arenal Lodge & Volcan Irazu

Long-tailed Tyrant, Colonia colonus                                                   Seen on 5 days with a max of 6 at Arenal Lodge

Flammulated (Bright-rumped) Attila, Attila spadiceus                          Heard at Volcan Tenorio road

Rufous Mourner, Rhytipterna holerythra                                             1 at Veragua

Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Myiarchus tuberculifer                               1 at La Selva & Arenal Lodge

Brown-crested Flycatcher  Myiarchus tyrannulus                                1 en route to Monteverde

Great Kiskadee, Pitangus sulphuratus                                               Common and widespread

White-ringed Flycatcher, Coryphotriccus albovittatus                         1 at Heliconias Lodge

Boat-billed Flycatcher, Megarynchus pitangua                                    3 at Veragua, probably overlooked elsewhere

Social Flycatcher, Myiozetetes similis                                               Common and widespread

Grey-capped Flycatcher, Myiozetetes granadensis                             1 or 2 at La Selva, 1 at Esquinas & Rancho

Golden-bellied Flycatcher, Myiodynastes hemichrysus                       2 at Santa Elena & 1 at Savegre

Streaked Flycatcher, Myiodynastes maculatus                                   4 at San Gerardo

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Myiodynastes luteiventris                         1 at Arenal Lodge & Rancho

Piratic Flycatcher, Legatus leucophaius                                             1 at Braulio Carrillo, 2 at Volcan Tenorio road

Tropical Kingbird, Tyrannus melancholicus                                        Common and widespread

Cinnamon Becard, Pachyramphus cinnamomeus                               1 at La Selva, Veragua road & feeding nestlings at El Tapir

White-winged Becard, Pachyramphus polychopterus                          1 at Rancho

Masked Tityra, Tityra semifasciata                                                    Fairly common with a pair nest building at Osa Palmas

Black-crowned Tityra, Tityra inquisitor                                                1 at Sarapiqui

Grey-breasted Martin, Progne chalybea                                             Common and widespread

Mangrove Swallow, Tachycineta albilinea                                          Several with a max of 15 at Golfito bridge

Blue-and-white Swallow, Pygochelidon cyanoleuca                             Common and widespread

N Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis                          Several at Cano Negro

S Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx ruficollis                             A few at La Selva, Arenal Lodge, Veragua road & Rancho

Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher, Phainoptila melanoxantha               2 at Mirador del Quetzal

Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Ptilogonys caudatus                               Fairly common in the mountains

X   American Dipper, Cinclus mexicanus                                           1 at La Paz Waterfall gardens

Band-backed Wren, Campylorhynchus zonatus                                  2 at La Selva

Rufous-naped Wren, Campylorhynchus rufinucha                               2 below Monteverde

Black-throated Wren, Thryothorus atrogularis                                     3 at La Selva, heard at Rancho

Black-bellied Wren, Thryothorus fasciatoventris                                  2 at Esquinas

Spot-breasted Wren, Thryothorus maculipectus                                 2 at Cano Negro

Riverside Wren, Thryothorus semibadius                                            2 at Esquinas

Bay Wren, Thryothorus nigricapillus                                                   3 at Guaybo ruins, 1 at Arenal Lodge, heard at Arenal old road & Veragua

Stripe-breasted Wren, Thryothorus thoracicus                                    2 at La Selva, Guaybo ruins & Rancho, heard at El Tapir

Rufous-and-white Wren, Thryothorus rufalbus                                     2 at Finca Ecologia

Plain Wren, Thryothorus modestus                                                    1 at Sarapiqui, La Selva & Ujarras

House Wren, Troglodytes aedon                                                        Common and widespread

Ochraceous Wren, Troglodytes ochraceus                                         2 at Savegre

Timberline Wren, Thryorchilus browni                                                 1 at Cerro de la Meurte

White-breasted Wood-Wren, Henicorhina leucosticta                          1 or 2 at Veragua & Rancho, heard elsewhere

Grey-breasted Wood-Wren, Henicorhina leucophrys                           1 or 2 daily in the mountains

Nightingale Wren, Microcerculus philomela                                         Heard at Arenal Lodge

Scaly-breasted Wren, Microcerculus marginatus                                 1 at Esquinas

Song Wren, Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus                                           3 at Heliconias Lodge, heard at Arenal Lodge

Black-faced Solitaire, Myadestes melanops                                       1 + at San Gerardo & Santa Elena, heard at La Paz Waterfall gardens & San Gerardo de Dota

Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Catharus aurantiirostris                   1 behind Grandpa's Hotel & on Volcan Irazu

Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, Catharus fuscater                           1 at La Paz Waterfall gardens, 2 at Santa Elena

Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Catharus gracilirostris                        Fairly common in the mountains

Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Th, Catharus frantzii                                 A few in the mountains

Black-headed Nightingale-Th, Catharus mexicanus                             Singles at Braulio Carrillo, Arenal Lodge & Heliconias Lodge

Sooty Robin, Turdus nigrescens                                                       Common in the mountains

Mountain Robin, Turdus plebejus                                                      A few at San Gerardo, Volcan Irazu & Volcan Turrialba

Pale-vented Thrush, Turdus obsoletus                                               2 at San Gerardo

Clay-coloured Robin, Turdus grayi                                                    Common and widespread

White-throated Thrush, Turdus assimilis                                             fairly common at Arenal, San Gerardo and Santa Elena

White-throated Magpie-Jay, Calocitta formosa                                   3 at Cano Negro

Black-chested Jay, Cyanocorax affinis                                                  3 + at Brisas de la Jungla near Veragua

Brown Jay, Cyanocorax morio                                                           A few small parties widely scattered

Azure-hooded Jay, Cyanolyca cucullata                                            2 shy birds at San Gerardo on both days

House Sparrow, Passer domesticus                                                  A few noted around human settlements

Yellow-winged Vireo, Vireo carmioli                                                   A few at Savegre, Volcan Irazu & Volcan Turrialba

X   Brown-capped Vireo, Vireo leucophrys                                         1 at San Gerardo de Dota

Yellow-green Vireo, Vireo flavoviridis                                                 1 at Santa Elena & 2 at Volcan Irazu

Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Hylophilus ochraceiceps                             1 at Heliconias Lodge

Green Shrike-Vireo, Vireolanius pulchellus                                         Heard at Braulio Carrillo

X   Yellow-bellied Siskin, Carduelis xanthogastra                                2 at Savegre

Lesser Goldfinch, Carduelis psaltria                                                  Heard at Ujarras

Flame-throated Warbler, Parula gutturalis                                           A few in the mountains

Tropical Parula, Parula pitiayumi                                                       2 at San Gerardo, 1 at Ujarras ruins & Volcan Irazu

Olive-crowned Yellowthroat, Geothlypis semiflava                              2 at Medio Queso, 3 en route to Heliconias Lodge

Slate-throated Redstart, Myioborus miniatus                                      2 at San Gerardo & Rancho,  & up to 4 at Volcan Irazu

Collared Redstart, Myioborus torquatus                                             2 at San Gerardo de Dota & Volcan Irazu

Golden-crowned Warbler, Basileuterus culicivorus                              4 at Rancho

X   Chestnut (Rufous)-capped Warbler, Basileuterus rufifrons             1 at Ujarras ruins

Black-cheeked Warbler, Basileuterus melanogenys                            Fairly common in the mountains

Buff-rumped Warbler, Basileuterus fulvicauda                                    Fairly common and widespread

Wrenthrush, Zeledonia coronata                                                         2 at Mirador del Quetzal, 1 at Volcan Turrialba & Volcan Irazu

Bananaquit, Coereba flaveola                                                            Fairly common and widespread

Common Bush-Tanager, Chlorospingus ophthalmicus                         A few at Santa Elena & San Gerardo de Dota

Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager, Chlorospingus pileatus                         A few in the mountains

X   Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager, Chlorospingus canigularis                1 at Rancho

Black-and-yellow Tanager, Chrysothlypis chrysomelaena                    1 at Arenal Lodge

Dusky-faced Tanager, Mitrospingus cassinii                                      5 at La Paz Waterfall gardens

Olive  (Carmiol's) Tanager, Chlorothraupis carmioli                              Common at Braulio Carrillo, a few at Arenal Lodge & San Gerardo

White-shouldered Tanager, Tachyphonus luctuosus                            1 at Veragua

Tawny-crested Tanager, Tachyphonus delatrii                                     A few at Braulio Carrillo & El Tapir

White-lined Tanager, Tachyphonus rufus                                            2 at Braulio Carrillo, La Selva, Ujarras ruins & Veragua road

Red-crowned Ant-Tanager, Habia rubica                                            1 at Heliconias Lodge

Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Habia fuscicauda                                      4 at  Rancho

Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager, Habia atrimaxillaris                             A pair at Esquinas

Flame-coloured Tanager, Piranga bidentata                                        Common at Miriam's feeders

Crimson-collared Tanager, Ramphocelus sanguinolentus                    2 at Arenal Lodge & 1 at San Gerardo

Passerini's Tanager, Ramphocelus passerinii                                     Common except in the SW where replaced by the next species

Cherrie's Tanager, Ramphocelus costaricensis                                   Fairly common at Esquinas & Golfito

Blue-grey Tanager, Thraupis episcopus                                              Common and widespread in small numbers

Palm Tanager, Thraupis palmarum                                                     Widespread in small numbers

Blue-and-gold Tanager, Bangsia arcaei                                              1 at San Gerardo

Yellow-crowned Euphonia, Euphonia luteicapilla                                 3 at Cano Negro

Yellow-throated Euphonia, Euphonia hirundinacea                              4 at Volcan Tenorio road, 2 at Santa Elenia & Ujarras ruins

Olive-backed Euphonia, Euphonia gouldi                                           3 at La Selva, 4 at Veragua

Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Chlorophonia callophrys                       2 at Volcan Turrialba

X   Silver-throated Tanager, Tangara icterocephala                             4 at San Gerardo

X   Speckled Tanager, Tangara guttata                                              1 at El Tapir

Bay-headed Tanager, Tangara gyrola                                                 1 at Arenal Lodge & Veragua

Rufous-winged Tanager, Tangara lavinia                                            2 at Veragua

Golden-hooded Tanager, Tangara larvata                                          1 at Arenal Lodge & Veragua

Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Tangara dowii                                          2 at La Selva & 1 at Santa Elena

Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Dacnis venusta                                             2 at Arenal Lodge

Blue Dacnis, Dacnis cayana                                                             2 at Veragua

Green Honeycreeper, Chlorophanes spiza                                          Widespread in small numbers

Shining Honeycreeper, Cyanerpes lucidus                                         1 at Arenal old road, a few at Veragua

Red-legged Honeycreeper, Cyanerpes cyaneus                                 A few around Arenal

Blue-black Grassquit, Volatinia jacarina                                             Widespread in small numbers

Variable Seedeater, Sporophila corvina                                              Common and widespread

White-collared Seedeater, Sporophila torqueola                                  Widespread in small numbers

Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, Sporophila minuta                                   3 at Medio Queso & 2 at Esquinas

Nicaraguan Seed-Finch, Oryzoborus nuttingi                                      A pair en route to Cano Negro

Thick-billed (Lesser) Seed-Finch, Oryzoborus funereus                       Singles at Sarapiqui, Medio Queso & Veragua road with a nesting pair at El Tapir

Yellow-faced Grassquit, Tiaris olivacea                                             Widespread in small numbers

X   Peg-billed Finch, Acanthidops bairdii                                            1 at Cerro de la Meurte (RM)

Slaty Flowerpiercer, Diglossa plumbea                                               A few at San Gerardo de Dota, Volcan Turrialba & Volcan Irazu

Sooty-faced Finch, Lysurus crassirostris                                           1 at La Paz Waterfall gardens

Yellow-thighed Finch, Pselliophorus tibialis                                        Common in the San Gerardo de Dota area & 1  at Volcan Turrialba

Large-footed Finch, Pezopetes capitalis                                            Common in the San Gerardo de Dota area & a few at Volcan Irazu & Volcan Turrialba

Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch, Buarremon brunneinucha                     3 at Santa Elena, 2 at Mirador del Quetzal & 1 at Rancho

Orange-billed Sparrow, Arremon aurantiirostris                                   5 at Esquinas, 1 or 2 at Brisas de la Jungla, Rancho & El Tapir

Black-striped Sparrow, Arremonops conirostris                                  2 or 3 at Arenal daily, Esquina & Osa Palmas

Cabanis’s(Prevost's) Ground-Sparrow, Melozone (biarcuatum) cabanisi  Singles at Ujarras on both visits

White-eared Ground-Sparrow, Melozone leucotis                                2 at Santa Elena

Rufous-collared Sparrow, Zonotrichia capensis                                  Common and widespread

Volcano Junco, Junco vulcani                                                          1 at Cerro de la Meurte

Streaked Saltator, Saltator striatipectus                                            A few in the southwest

Greyish Saltator, Saltator coerulescens                                             1+ Volcan Irazu

Buff-throated Saltator, Saltator maximus                                           Widespread in small numbers

Black-headed Saltator, Saltator atriceps                                            2 at Ujarras

Black-faced Grosbeak, Caryothraustes poliogaster                             1 at Braulio Carrillo, 6 at La Selva

Black-thighed Grosbeak, Pheucticus tibialis                                      2 at Savegre & 6 at Volcan Turrialba

Blue-black Grosbeak, Cyanocompsa cyanoides                                 Singles at Arenal Lodge & Heliconia Lodge

Blue Grosbeak, Guiraca caerulea                                                      2 en route to Monteverde

Red-winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus                                      Common at Cano Negro, displaying en route to Heliconias Lodge

Eastern Meadowlark, Sturnella magna                                               2 near Cano Negro, 3 at Grandpa's Hotel, near Ujarras & Volcan Irazu

Melodious Blackbird, Dives dives                                                     Widespread in small numbers

Great-tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus                                        Common and widespread

Nicaraguan Grackle, Quiscalus nicaraguensis                                10+ at Canos Negro both days

Bronzed Cowbird, Molothrus aeneus                                                 Locally widespread in good numbers

Yellow-tailed Oriole, Icterus mesomelas                                            1 en route to Monteverde, a scarce bird thanks to the bird trade

Spot-breasted Oriole, Icterus pectoralis                                          2 en route to Monteverde

Black-cowled Oriole, Icterus dominicensis                                         2 at La Selva, 1 at Arenal Lodge & Ujarras ruins

Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Cacicus uropygialis                                     1 at Braulio Carrillo & Volcan Tenorio road, 3 at Esquinas & 4 at Veragua

Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Psarocolius wagleri                             A few at La Selva, Volcan Tenorio road & Veragua

Montezuma Oropendola, Gymnostinops montezuma                          Common and widespead


BIRDS MISSED                                                                                                         

Unspotted Saw-whet Owl, Aegolius ridgwayi                                      Volcan Irazu

Bare-necked Umbrellabird, Cephalopterus glabricollis                         San Gerardo

Maroon-chested Ground-Dove, Claravis mondetoura                          Volcan Irazu



Northern Tamandua Tamandua mexicana                                                          1 at Arenal Lodge

Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth Choloepus hoffmanni OR Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth Bradypus variegates   1 at  Guayabo ruins

White-faced Capuchin  Cebus capucinus                                                            2 at Volcan Tenorio road

Mantled Howler  Alouatta palliate                                                                           3 at Braulio Carrillo, 1 at Arenal old road, a few at Veragua

Central American Spider Monkey Ateles geoffroyi                                           A few at Arenal

Variegated Squirrel Sciurus variegatoides                                                          Common

Red-tailed Squirrel (Tropical Red S) Sciurus granatensis                               2 at Ujarras ruins

Alfaro’s Pygmy Squirrel  Microsciurus alfari                                                       One at San Gerardo.

Montane Squirrel Syntheosciurus brochus                                                             Several at Cerro de la Muerte ??

Central American Agouti Dasyprocta punctata                                                      A few at Finca Ecologia & Esquinas

White-nosed Coati Nasua narica                                                                                1 at Arenal old road, Santa Elena & Veragua

Collared Peccary Tayassu tajacu Rather common at La Selva.                          6 at La Selva

Helmeted Basilisk  Corytophanes cristatus                                                               1 at Veragua

Whip-tail Lizard                                                                                                                1 at Veragua

Gecko                                                                                                                                 1 at Veragua

Red Poisonous Frog                                                                                                       Veragua & Brisas de la Jungla

Green-and-black Poisonous Frog                                                                               Veragua & Brisas de la Jungla

Red-eyed Frog                                                                                                                 2 at Veragua

Vine Snake                                                                                                                        Veragua

Spectacled Caiman  Caiman crocodilus                                                                    Cano Negro


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