After my quick strike to Colombia in March, I had just a few days to reorient myself for a return trip to the tropics, this time to Costa Rica. True true, I had already spent 2-3 weeks in Costa Rica earlier this year (the "Edges" trips) but this was a different tour altogether. Our tour ran from 20 March to 2 April and this time to I got to lead it with Jay.
As with the other tours we run in Costa Rica, we used the very nice Hotel Bougainvillea as our base when close to San Jose. One perk of staying there is the old, overgrown coffee plantations down across the street. Jay and I checked it out before the group arrived and boom, my lifer PREVOST'S GROUND-SPARROW was waiting for me:
And hey, when you see a fresh PALM TANAGER up close and personal, they're actually not all that bad looking either (although it's a cruel joke to follow up an emerald with this)!
Along the same road, we eventually caught up to this GREAT GREEN MACAW, a rare and hard-to-find species. Although my digiscoped photo doesn't do it justice, it was a true highlight for many folks:
One of the great things about birding with a keen bunch of birders is how many eyes we have looking for targets. For example, someone picked out this distant WHITE HAWK at one of our stops:
Although not at La Selva proper, we did enjoy scope views of this tree branch stump... or is it?
Of course that's a bird perched there... a GREAT POTOO! They rely on their camouflage to stay unbothered during the day.
... although I'm guessing this GREEN HONEYCREEPER was more popular with the group:
Not too far from Rancho was a stream that we wanted to stop at. The reason was simple... SUNBITTERNS had a nest there! We found it and enjoyed amazing scope views (and photos) of this odd tropical species:
Of course, when a target bird like that gets found... EVERYONE rushes to see it. Here's the crowd that was gathered at the quetzal first thing in the morning:
Thankfully we later found quetzals that posed nicely... no crowds involved!
Back at the lodge, we all enjoyed views of this young SPECTACLED OWL from our dining hall:
And yep... an adult was nearby too!
That dry region hosted a few other new species for us including this STRIPE-HEADED SPARROW:
We still needed WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD though and so we stopped at a roadside stop and our lead guide got out to look around... he had intel on one of these maybe nesting in the area. Guess what... it was still there!
Just down the road from our Mangrove Hummingbird experience, we were face-to-face with a gorgeous lagoon full of shorebirds:
We tallied more than a dozen species of shorebirds including some uncommon ones like AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, RUDDY TURNSTONE, SANDERLING, and a few PECTORAL SANDPIPERS.
Whew, after it was all said and done, it's been a busy year for me in Costa Rica. Our tours somehow tallied more than 570 species in the country this year and I ended up spending more than a month there! I already look forward to returning in January with Tom (you can find more info about that tour on our website here).