Birding Tour Costa Rica Escape
Costa Rica Escape Tour
We believe this expertly tailored Costa Rica birding tour is the perfect excuse to leave behind the daily stress of modern-day living to do some great birding in one of the most fantastic birdwatching destinations in all of the neotropics.
Resplendent Quetzal is one of the main targets on this trip (photo Kevin Easley).
Costa Rica offers perhaps the best birding in Central America, not only in terms of birds (the country holds 933 species) but also in terms of accommodation and tourist infrastructure. During this short tour we are staying at some of the most comfortable hotels available, perfect for birders and nature-lovers alike. If you do not have time to join our more comprehensive Complete Costa Rica Tour but still want to see beautiful and charismatic neotropical bird species, then this Costa Rica Escape Tour could be perfect for you. The tour is suited for both first-time birders to the neotropics and those more experienced birders trying to get a high number of species in the shortest amount of time. Not only does this tour offer an impressive species list but it also offers you the opportunity to see a number of neotropical dream birds such as Keel-billed Toucan, Resplendent Quetzal and a plethora of gorgeous hummingbird species.
The large and brightly colored Keel-billed Toucan is always a popular sight.
Itinerary (9 days/8 nights)
Day 1. Arrival at San José and transfer to Hotel Bougainvillea
You will arrive at the San José Airport to be met by your tour leader, and be transferred to the hotel. If time permits, we may do some birding around the beautiful grounds of the hotel, looking for Rufous-backed Wren, Hoffmann’s Woodpecker, Finsch’s Parakeet, Squirrel Cuckoo, Baltimore Oriole, Cinnamon-bellied Saltator, American Yellow Warbler, Lesson’s Motmot, White-winged Dove, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Clay-colored Thrush, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Melodious Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, and with some luck, White-eared Ground Sparrow.
Overnight: Hotel Bougainvillea, San José
Day 2. La Paz Waterfalls, Cinchona Feeders, and transfer to La Quinta
We will spend some time birding the hotel grounds before breakfast to add any additional species to yesterday afternoon’s birding. After breakfast, we will leave the hotel and head to La Paz Waterfalls. Here we should get species such as Mountain Wren, Slaty Antwren, Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush, Large-footed Finch, and a number of hummingbirds such as Violet Sabrewing, Green Hermit, Green-crowned Brilliant, the endemic Coppery-headed Emerald and with some luck Purple-crowned Fairy. We will of course spend some time admiring the impressive waterfalls of the area too!
We may find Violet Sabrewing at La Paz Waterfalls.
After lunch, we will visit the Cinchona feeders, where we can spend time watching and photographing birds such as Red-headed Barbet, Prong-billed Barbet, Blue-throated Toucanet, Silver-throated, Scarlet-rumped, Crimson-collared, Blue-grey, and Palm Tanagers, and with luck Black Guan and Buff-fronted Quail-Dove. After some great time at the feeders, we will transfer to Sarapiquí where we will look for iconic Caribbean foothills species such as Yellow-throated Toucan, Montezuma Oropendola, White-crowned Parrot, and Grey-headed Chachalaca.
Overnight: La Quinta Sarapiquí Country Inn, Sarapiquí
Black Guan can be seen at the Cinchona feeders.
Day 3. La Selva Biological Station
We will have an early start to explore the famous La Selva Biological Station, where we have the chance to find Short-billed and Scaled Pigeons, Brown-hooded Parrot, Great Green Macaw, Snowy Cotinga, White-ringed Flycatcher, Fasciated Antshrike, White-collared Manakin, Crested Guan, Great Antshrike, Red-lored Amazon, and Chestnut-headed and Montezuma Oropendola. In addition, we’ll look for Semiplumbeous Hawk, Chestnut-sided and Buff-rumped Warblers, Great Tinamou, Vermiculated Screech Owl, Great Curassow, Northern Barred Woodcreeper, Rufous-winged, Pale-billed, Chestnut-colored, and Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, Keel-billed Toucan, and perhaps even the secretive Slaty-breasted Tinamou.
Overnight: La Quinta Sarapiquí Country Inn, Sarapiquí
Day 4. Cope Wildlife Reserve and Puerto Viejo
We will have a full morning visiting the famous Cope Wildlife Reserve where we will have excellent opportunities to photograph birds visiting its amazing feeders. Some of the species regularly visiting the feeders might include Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Crowned Woodnymph, White-necked Jacobin, Stripe-throated Hermit, White-tipped Sicklebill, Green Hermit, Montezuma and Chestnut-headed Oropendolas, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Red-legged, Shining and Green Honeycreepers, and Crimson-collared Tanager. We will also explore some nocturnal bird territories near the reserve to look for potential roosting trees for Crested Owl, Spectacled Owl, and Black-and-white Owl, as well as Great Potoo. The open fields are good for Tropical Mockingbird and Yellow Tyrannulet. We will also have good chances to enjoy some other iconic Costa Rican wildlife including frogs, lizards, and mammals.
Late in the afternoon, we will explore some areas around Puerto Viejo where Great Green Macaw is reliable and other birds such as Slaty Spinetail, Long-tailed Tyrant, Yellow Tyrannulet, Olive-throated Parakeet, Morelet’s and Variable Seedeaters, and Thick-billed Seed Finch may be seen.
Overnight: La Quinta Sarapiquí Country Inn, Sarapiquí
Crested Owl is one of a number of owl species we hope to encounter on this tour.
Day 5. Puerto Viejo and transfer to San Gerardo de Dota
Today we will leave Sarapiquí and make our way to San Gerardo de Dota and will break the long drive with a pleasant birding stop along the Sarapiquí River where, with luck, we might find Scarlet Macaw and King Vulture. We also have chances for Mangrove and Southern Rough-winged Swallows, Grey-breasted Martin, Prothonotary Warbler, Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, and Bare-throated Tiger Heron. We will then continue our drive to San Gerardo de Dota and, if time permits, enjoy some birding around Cerro de la Muerte, before reaching the lovely Savegre Lodge.
Overnight: Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa, San Gerardo de Dota
Day 6. Los Quetzales National Park and Paraiso Los Quetzales Lodge
Today we will drive to the high elevations of Los Quetzales National Park. Once on the high grounds of the park we will focus on the range-restricted Volcano Junco and Timberline Wren. Other species are likely to include Large-footed Finch, Volcano Hummingbird, Black-capped Flycatcher and Red-tailed Hawk. We will then explore the lower areas in search of Black-eared Warbler, the shy Peg-billed Finch, and with luck, Barred Parakeet.
After birding the national park we will visit Paraiso Los Quetzales Lodge where we will enjoy the hummingbird feeders, likely getting views of Fiery-throated, Talamanca, and Volcano Hummingbirds, Grey-tailed Mountaingem and Lesser Violetear. The lodge is also a good place to look for the Mountain Thrush, Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Black-and-yellow Phainoptila, and with luck, Golden-browed Chlorophonia.
Lesser Violetear is one of the many hummingbird species we hope to see at the feeders at Paraiso Los Quetzales Lodge.
After lunch, we will explore the surroundings of the Cerro de La Muerte and spend the afternoon enjoying some coffee and hummingbirds at Miriam’s Restaurant where we should find Acorn and Hairy Woodpeckers, Sooty-capped Bush Tanager, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Flame-colored Tanager, Large-footed Finch, Sooty Thrush and perhaps Blue-throated Toucanet. We will leave for our lodge before dusk and try for Dusky Nightjar en route.
Overnight: Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa, San Gerardo de Dota
Day 7. Savegre Lodge birding
Today we will have an early start to look for Resplendent Quetzal, perhaps the most-wanted bird in Central America. We will visit the most reliable spot in the valley to secure this special sighting. After breakfast, we will spend the morning exploring the lush mountain forest above the lodge, looking for Spotted Wood Quail, Ruddy Treerunner, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Collared Whitestart, Black-capped Flycatcher, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, and Flame-throated Warbler. Mixed flocks might hold North American migratory warblers such as Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, Black-and-white, and Wilson’s Warblers. In addition, we could find Sooty-capped Bush Tanager, Yellowish Flycatcher, Yellow-winged Vireo, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, and Black-faced Solitaire. We will spend the afternoon enjoying some easy birding around the lodge where we will keep an eye out for Finsch’s Parakeet, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Flame-colored Tanager, Acorn Woodpecker, Red-tailed Hawk, and Stripe-tailed and Scintillant Hummingbirds.
Overnight: Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa, San Gerardo de Dota
The fierce Ferruginous Pygmy Owl may be seen in San Jose.
Day 8. Birding Savegre and transfer back to San Jose
We will spend an extra morning around Savegre in case we need another chance to look for the Resplendent Quetzal, if we missed it on the previous day. We can explore the waterfalls road to look for Yellowish Flycatcher, Dark and Ochraceous Pewees, Black-faced Solitaire, and with some luck, American Dipper. After lunch we will be transferred to San Jose’s Hotel Robledal where it is possible to find Ferruginous Pygmy Owl and Jamaican Fruit-eating Bats in the hotel grounds.
Overnight Hotel Robledal, San Jose
Day 9. Transfer to the airport and departure
You will be transferred to San Jose Airport at a convenient time to connect with your international flight
Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors. In addition, we sometimes have to use a different international guide from the one advertised due to tour scheduling.Download Itinerary
Costa Rica Escape Trip Report, January 2023
11- 19 JANUARY 2023
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A rapt bunch of birders watched this male Resplendent Quetzal eat its avocado breakfast.
This Costa Rica Escape 2023 trip was an incredible trip, which allowed us to see the best of the country in just a week. Costa Rica is perhaps the easiest country to bird in the tropical Americas, and most of the Neotropical families are well represented. With great roads, comfortable tourist and service facilities, and modern infrastructure, the country, and this trip in particular, is the best choice for those who come to the tropics for the first time.
Our adventure started in San José, the capital of Costa Rica, and we managed to explore different habitats and ecosystems, ranging from the cloudforest mountains of Savegre in central Costa Rica to the Caribbean foothills. Of the 931 species of birds that occur in Costa Rica we managed to record more than a quarter in a week only! We saw 270 species as well as an additional 18 species that were heard only.
Our trip list included sightings of amazing species such as Resplendent Quetzal, Violet Sabrewing, Black and Crested Guans, Yellow-throated and Keel-billed Toucans, Spectacled and Crested Owls, Flame-throated and Black-cheeked Warblers, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Prong-billed and Red-headed Barbets, American Dipper, Black-breasted Wood Quail, and Golden-Browed Chlorophonia. In addition, we managed to see one of two country endemics that occur on the mainland, Coppery-headed Emerald, and we saw 28 birds that are shared only by Costa Rica and Panama. A nice selection of North American migratory warblers was also found, such as Chestnut-sided, Tennessee, Black-and-white, Golden-winged, Black-throated Green, Townsend’s,and Wilson’s Warblers, 7 species of owls, and 26 species of hummingbirds.
It was a memorable trip, with most participants visiting the tropics for the first time. This fun group of clients was able to experience the excellent food, amazing wildlife, and friendly people that make Costa Rica a popular vacation destination. We hope that you can join us on our Costa Rica Escape 2024 tour!
Day 1, 11th January 2023. Hotel Bougainvillea
Half the group had arrived at Hotel Bougainvillea by the afternoon, so after lunch we birded the lush gardens behind the hotel. A resident Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl was perched in out in the open and one Mottled Owl was seen roosting in a large stand of bamboo. Several Lesson’s Motmots were seen, and a pair of Red-billed Pigeons were observed in courtship and copulation. Two White-fronted Amazons and a flock of Finsch’s Parakeets flew overhead. That evening a Common Pauraque called loudly in the parking lot and could be heard from inside our rooms.
Lesson’s Motmots were actively hunting in the Hotel Bougainvillea garden.
Day 2, 12th January 2023. Irazu Volcano National Park to Savegre Lodge
The group spent the first hour of our first full day birding the gardens behind Hotel Bougainvillea before breakfast. The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl was again perched in full view and two Mottled Owls were roosting in the bamboo. We tried for White-eared Ground-Sparrow and Chestnut-capped Warbler, which were heard calling and the warbler gave brief views, but neither species cooperated well. Several species perched in the large, leafless tree in the center of the garden: a Masked Tityra, six Brown Jays, and a Tennessee Warbler. A couple Rufous-naped Wrens, a Cabanis’s Wren, and a Rufous-collared Sparrow were observed singing. Just before breakfast a male Montezuma Oropendola flew in and displayed. The female flew in, and they copulated.
After breakfast we drove up into the highlands to Irazu Volcano National Park. At the crater, there were Volcano Juncos in the parking lot. The entire group watched a male Volcano Hummingbird display several times – singing and flying high into the air and coming back to perch. We had our first looks at Slaty Flowerpiercer, Sooty Thrush, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, and Sooty-capped Bush Tanager. When stopped for lunch on the way down the mountain, a Short-tailed Hawk was observed soaring over the valley below.
On the way to Savegre Lodge, we stopped at Miriam’s Quetzals Restaurant where there are feeders in the back and a view of the Savegre Valley. Several species of hummingbirds were coming to the feeder and flowers: Talamanca, Fiery-throated, and Volcano Hummingbirds, Lesser Violetear, and Grey-tailed Mountaingem. The fruit feeder hosted Yellow-thighed Brush-finch, Mountain Thrush, Large-footed Finch, Flame-colored Tanagers, and Acorn Woodpeckers. One of the restaurant staff alerted us to the presence of a male Golden-browed Chlorophonia feeding on crabapples in the side garden and we watched it at length. First looks were had of Ruddy Treerunner and Yellow-winged Vireo, both seen briefly. A male and female pair of Yellow-bellied Siskins were seen perching high behind the feeders.
The Volcano Junco’s piercing yellow eyes made it look angry.
We arrived at Savegre Lodge just before dusk and noticed a woman photographing something in a tree at the entrance. When we found out it was an immature male Resplendent Quetzal, we pulled over and everyone eagerly bailed out of the vehicle to see it. Number one species acquired!
Day 3, 13th January 2023. Savegre Lodge to Los Quetzales National Park
We left before dawn to go a few miles down the road to join the vigil for the male Resplendent Quetzal that had been frequenting an avocado tree at dawn. The spectacular bird arrived as if on cue, fed from the avocado tree, and sat still for a long time for excellent scope views. After digesting for at least an hour, it went briefly to the tree again then flew down into the valley and disappeared. Everyone enjoyed seeing its tail stream behind it while it flew. After our breakfast, we took a two-mile walk up the hillside behind the hotel. The variety of species there was impressive! We had close looks at Collared Whitestart and Grey-breasted Wood-Wrens singing, several cooperative Flame-throated Warblers, great looks at two Black-faced Solitaire and Yellowish Flycatcher and encountered a mixed migrant warbler flock that included Wilson’s, Black-throated Green, and Townsend’s Warblers. At least ten White-collared Swifts soared overhead. We enjoyed scope views of Sulphur-winged Parakeets and Barred Becard. We had brief views of an Olive-streaked Flycatcher feeding on berries with a Mountain Elainea and a Philadelphia Vireo until a Spot-crowned Woodcreeper stole our attention. Once back down near the rooms we observed a Scintillant Hummingbird, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatchers, and Slaty Flowerpiercer feeding.
Resplendent Quetzal, the first of two of this most-wanted species seen on the trip.
After lunch we drove to Villa Mills, which is above 9,000 feet elevation. At the beginning of the trail, a keen tour participant found an endemic Black-cheeked Warbler and there turned out to be three of them. A Timberline Wren was singing but didn’t come out. We did get views of several Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, which were also singing. We saw the hilarious looking Buffy Tuftedcheek and got better views of Ruddy Treerunner.
We moved on from there a short distance down the mountain to a gravel road within Los Quetzales National Park. We found a perched Talamanca Hummingbird and a Grey-tailed Mountaingem preparing to roost for the night, offering fantastic looks. Just at dusk, the Dusky Nightjar began calling. It flew up to a branch right above the road and perched for several minutes, offering phenomenal views, until a car flushed it. As it flew, the buffy corners of the tail could be seen. After this, we tried for the endemic Bare-shanked Screech-Owl, which was quite cooperative, and everyone got amazing looks of the owl perched in the open.
Day 4, 14th January 2023. Parque Nacional Los Quetzals and San Gerardo de Dota Sendero Catarata
We took our customary morning walk, this time along Río Savegre, and saw several Torrent Tyrranulets, including a pair possibly setting up nesting territory. The small black, gray, and white flycatchers were fun to watch moving around the rocks on the river, occasionally flying up for an insect. A Stripe-tailed Hummingbird was feeding on flowers alongside the road allowing for good looks at its namesake and a silent Belted Kingfisher rocketed down the river. We got our first looks at Common Bush Tanager and compared them to nearby Sooty-capped Bush Tanager. On the way back, we admired a flock of Long-tailed Silky-Flycatchers.
After breakfast, we visited Parque Nacional Los Quetzals and encountered a mixed flock of species previously seen that included Barred Becard. Timberline Wren was seen at last, three individuals together. We watched a pair of Black-capped Flycatchers actively foraging and had scope views of Mistletoe Tyrannulet and of a pair of Black-and-yellow Phainoptila. A Wrenthrush was calling and did get very near the group, but didn’t come out, only its movement was seen. We had a fantastically close look at a male Volcano Hummingbird (heliotrope-throated subspecies). A Ruddy Pigeon called “mashed potatoes” in the distance, but never came close.
We stopped for lunch and hummingbird photos at Paraíso Quetzal Lodge. There we had ridiculously close encounters with Volcano, Fiery-throated, Talamanca Hummingbirds, Lesser Violetear, and Grey-tailed Mountaingem. A male Volcano Hummingbird was displaying nearby. We had a second look at Golden-browed Chlorophonia when a pair perched in a treetop eye-level to the platform.
In the late afternoon, we hiked the San Gerardo de Dota Sendero Catarata (Waterfall Trail). It was exciting to see two pairs of American Dippers foraging underwater for insects in the river as well as Dark Pewee, endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama, and two Tufted Flycatchers hawking insects. We had brief encounters with Ochraceous Wren, Red-faced Spinetail, Black-thighed Grosbeak, and Spotted Barbtail and a long look at a singing Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush at dusk and spotted another one as we exited the trail.
Collared Aracari were common, but attractive, guests at several fruit feeders we visited.
Day 5, 15th January 2023.Rio San José and Comandancia de Sarapiquí Road
We took one last pre-breakfast walk around Savegre before heading to La Quinta Sarapiquí Lodge where we would stay the next three nights. We got our first view of Slate-throated Whitestart, albeit brief. The highlight of the walk was the discovery of a Lesser Violetear nest with two young, especially when a parent came and fed them.
Since the weather wasn’t favorable the day before, we returned to Parque Nacional Los Quetzals. A White-fronted Tyrannulet was seen several times moving about. The main target, missed yesterday, was the Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl, endemic to the Costa Rican and western Panamanian highlands, which we ended up seeing in full view for several minutes to our amazement.
Viewing this endemic Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl was a truly unforgettable experience.
We made a stop after lunch to bird Calle Israel along Rio San José. We eventually got fantastic views of the main target, Fasciated Tiger-Heron, which flushed at first, but then two were viewed well from the vehicle. A Spotted Sandpiper, a juvenile Little Blue Heron, a Northern Waterthrush and Buff-rumped Warblers were also feeding along the river. We had first looks at Collared Aracari feeding in a fruiting tree. An Amazon Kingfisher that flew down the river was viewed by some as it perched briefly. Scope views of White-crowned Parrots were also had.
A few new species were added on the drive. A small pond along the road yielded some waders on the way to Sarapiquí: Great-Blue Heron, Northern Jacana, and Great Egret. Cattle Egrets and Groove-billed Ani were seen as we drove by fields and scrub habitat.
Our last stop of the day was Comandancia de Sarapiquí Road, an open area with a few very large trees. The big draw here was the Great Green and Scarlet Macaws and both species were seen in flight. One Scarlet Macaw perched high, but in the open. A pair of Bat Falcons were also perched high, at the top of a tree. A soaring Short-tailed Hawk gave distant views. A pair of Slaty Spinetails were observed nest building. Common Tody-Flycatcher came in close for a great photographic opportunity. Two Black-striped Sparrows were calling and occasionally came into view. Several other flycatcher species were observed: Grey-capped Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Great Kiskadee, Northern Tropical Pewee, and Mistletoe Tyrannulet. Many Montezuma and three Chestnut-headed Oropendolas flew overhead. Variable Seedeaters were mimicking a variety of other birds’ songs and flocking with a Morelet’s Seedeater.
It was awe-inspiring to see wild Scarlet Macaws.
Day 6, 16th January 2023. La Quinta Sarapiquí Lodge, Cope’s Place and La Quinta
Excited to bird a new location, we took our usual walk before breakfast around La Quinta Sarapiquí Lodge and immediately encountered a new species, a cooperative Stripe-breasted Wren. Near the Caiman lake, we found a couple Orange-billed Sparrows, a Northern Waterthrush, a Buff-rumped Warbler, and a Green Kingfisher. In the woods, a Slate-colored Grosbeak called from high in the trees. We had brief looks at a female Blue-black Grosbeak and would later also get glimpses of the male. The two feeders on the property hosted a variety of species including Clay-colored Thrush, Green and Red-legged Honeycreeper, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Grey-headed Chachalaca, Red-throated Ant Tanager,and Palm, Scarlet-rumped, and Golden-Hooded Tanagers.
After breakfast, we headed to Cope’s Place. On the way we paused for great looks at a Grey Hawk on a pole. As soon as we arrived, we were treated to a perched Band-tailed Barbthroat. We spent an hour at Cope’s feeders watching and photographing Long-billed and Striped-throated Hermits, Shining, Green, and Red-legged Honeycreepers, a Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, a Green-breasted Mango, many White-necked Jacobins, and Chestnut-headed and Montezuma Oropendolas. We got our first close looks at Pale-vented Pigeons and Orange-chinned Parakeets, previously fly overs, and saw our first Keel-billed Toucan, which came to the bananas. A Russet-naped Wood-Rail came out and ate the rice. We also enjoyed talking with Cope and looking at his amazing photographs and artwork.
We took a walk in Cope’s farm with one of the guides who showed us a colony of Honduran White Bats roosting under a huge leaf. Early in the walk we had brief looks at a pair of Cinnamon Woodpecker and good looks at two Scarlet-rumpled Caciques. We were amazingly fortunate to see and photograph two Crested Owls perched together and an immature Spectacled Owl. We also viewed two Green Ibis. On the way out, we marveled over a huge Bullet Ant on a log.
We counted ourselves lucky to see this pair of Crested Owls right out in the open.
After lunch and a break, we had planned to drive to an open area close to La Quinta. We stopped for five Southern Lapwings in a field and also saw a pair of Lineated Woodpeckers there. We never got to the intended location because next we stopped for a probable Motmot and ended up finding 46 species at the “Crazy Corner” and never did get a motmot. Highlights included three species of Antshrike, all seen very well: Great (singing male), Fasciated (male and female), and Barred Antshrike (male and female). We had spectacular views of Squirrel Cuckoo, Black-crowned Tityra,a singing Rufous-tailed Jacamar, and Canebrake Wren. We watched a Long-tailed Tyrant sally for insects. Three Giant Cowbirds flew over and one perched briefly.
In the evening we went searching for nocturnal creatures and found a Common Rain Frog, a Slender Anole, a Cane Toad, a Long-nosed Proboscis Bat, and several Spectacled Caiman.
Day 7, 17th January 2023. La Selva Biological Station
A big day with 92 species recorded!
We birded around La Quinta before breakfast and picked up Purple-crowned Fairy and Black-cowled Orioles, new for the trip.
We spent the rest of the morning at La Selva Biological Station. The variety of birds just at the headquarters was amazing and included several Short-billed Pigeons, nesting Olive-backed Euphonia and Crested Guans, a soaring Double-toothed Kite, a female White-ruffed Manakin, and a male White-collared Manakin. Once in the jungle, woodpeckers were a highlight with a nest-building Chestnut-colored Woodpecker and Pale-billed Woodpeckers feeding young. Some in the group enjoyed their lifer look at a Kentucky Warbler while others worked to identify a Streak-headed Woodcreeper. The morning included notable mammal sightings: a troop of Golden-mantled Howler Monkeys and two Brown-throated Three-toed Sloths. Just before a pre-lunch snack of fresh watermelon and pineapple, we added Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher and Cinnamon Becard to our list of birds seen well.
Watching woodpecker nesting activities, including Chestnut-colored Woodpeckers, was a treat.
After lunch and a break, we returned to La Selva Biological Station until dusk. Upon arrival, we had brief views of a Bay-headed Tanager and a male Snowy Cotinga and a Scarlet-thighed Dacnis were perched in the open for excellent scope views. Then several Yellow-throated and Keel-billed Toucans and a group of Red-lored Amazons flew in. From the bridge, we viewed our first White-ringed Flycatcher,a Rufous Mourner,and a Slaty-tailed Trogon giving fantastic views perched in the open, eye-level to the bridge. Just after crossing the bridge, the only Blue-chested Hummingbird of the trip was seen foraging in a large flowering tree. The same area also hosted Social, Grey-capped,and Boat-billed Flycatchers.While walking the trail, a male Great Tinamou and three chicks walked across the trail in front of us. At dusk, a pair of Middle American Screech-Owls were calling, and one was cooperative, allowing for excellent views.
Day 8, 18th January 2023. La Selva to San Jose
We had a goal to break 100 species for our last birding day and we did it!
We started early to begin birding the road near the main entrance to La Selva before dawn. While it was still dark, we saw several Common Pauraque foraging for insects in the streetlight and heard a Little Tinamou calling. At dawn, we observed a Short-tailed Nighthawk flying around.
After dawn, we observed many birds from a spot just outside the main entrance including a close, perched Semiplumbeous Hawk, an Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, a Southern Rough-winged Swallow, many Collared Aracaris and Yellow-throated Toucans, a Keel-billed Toucan, a Brown-hooded and several Red-lored Amazons, and a flock of Orange-chinned Parakeets. At one point, we heard a Slaty-breasted Tinamou that sounded like a mini train and very close by, so we investigated, but it was like a ghost. Our foray into the forest wasn’t for naught, though, because we saw several Wedge-billed Woodcreepers and a Cocoa Woodcreeper at that time. The trail led us to an open area where we added two new species: a Bronzy Hermit and a pair of Olive-crowned Yellowthroats.
It was time to return to the lodge for breakfast, but two spontaneous birding stops were a necessity. First, we stopped for seven Scarlet Macaws in a single tree by the road. Then just before the lodge, we saw a Broad-billed Motmot on a wire and got two noisy Bright-rumped Attilas as a bonus.
After breakfast we bid goodbye to La Quinta and headed to San Jose, but not before watching a Strawberry Poison-dart Frog sing right outside our rooms.
Nightingale Wren, a shy, plain bird that put on a show.
We made several birding stops at different elevations, the most productive of those was Virgin del Socorro and we hated to leave. On the drive down into the valley we spotted a Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush and a Lesser Greenlet was the first bird we spied at the bottom. We saw many flycatcher species and added these new ones to our list: Slaty-capped Flycatcher, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, and Eye-ringed Flatbill. Warblers were actively feeding, and we added Tropical Parula, Blackburnian and Golden-crowned Warblers to our list and got a second look at Golden-winged Warbler and Slated-throated Whitestart here. A large flock of vultures soaring over the valley included all three species: King, Black, and Turkey Vulture. One keen-eyed participant got a long look at a Chestnut-backed Antbird, which played hide and seek with the rest of the group. More cooperative birds included an Olivaceous Woodcreeper, three Black-thighed Grosbeaks, a Collared Trogon perched in the open, and a Nightingale Wren that showed itself and put on quite the concert within a few feet of the entire group.
On the way up to the Cinchona Feeders we stopped for a much better view of a pair of Bat Falcons than before and a brief look at a large group of White-nosed Coati being fed by gullible tourists.
The Cinchona Feeders were an obligatory stop for both the waterfall overlook view and the amazing birds. We picked up our three main targets for this location almost immediately: Red-headed and Prong-billed Barbets, and two Blue-throated Toucanets. We also got first looks at Green Hermit and Green-Crowned Brilliant, a second sighting of Crimson-collared Tanager, our sole sighting of Black-headed Saltator, and our only rare bird of the trip, Yellow-winged Tanager, which has somewhat recently expanded its range southward into Costa Rica.
A beautiful pair of Blue-throated Toucanets were the stars of the Cinchona Feeders.
We stopped at La Paz Waterfall Gardens for both birds and lunch. One of two major targets was obtained while eating, the Sooty-faced Finch, an individual known to beg rice from diners and a species otherwise very difficult to see. The group was practically bum rushed by a flock of eight of the other target, Black-breasted Wood-Quail, when they noisily crossed the set of stairs where we were standing. Several new-for-the-trip hummingbirds were viewed at the many feeders: Green Thorntail, White-bellied and Purple-throated Mountaingems, Black-bellied Hummingbird,and Coppery-headed Emerald. On the way out, a participant that was lagging behind the group snagged the only Tawny-capped Euphonia and last new species of the trip.
Day 9, 19th January 2023. Departure
Our international flights left from Juan Santamaría International Airport.
This Semiplumbeous Hawk perched nearby, undetected until the birds gave it away.
Bird List – Following IOC (12.2)
Birds ‘heard only’ are marked with (H) after the common name, all other species were seen.
The following notation after species names is used to show conservation status following
BirdLife International: CE = Critically Endangered, EN = Endangered, VU = Vulnerable, NT
= Near Threatened.
|Common Name||Scientific Name|
|Great Tinamou||Tinamus major|
|Little Tinamou (H)||Crypturellus soui|
|Slaty-breasted Tinamou – VU (H)||Crypturellus boucardi|
|Chachalacas, Curassows, Guans (Cracidae)|
|Grey-headed Chachalaca||Ortalis cinereiceps|
|Crested Guan||Penelope purpurascens|
|Black Guan||Chamaepetes unicolor|
|New World Quail (Odontophoridae)|
|Black-breasted Wood Quail||Odontophorus leucolaemus|
|Spotted Wood Quail (H)||Odontophorus guttatus|
|Short-tailed Nighthawk||Lurocalis semitorquatus|
|Dusky Nightjar||Antrostomus saturatus|
|White-collared Swift||Streptoprocne zonaris|
|Grey-rumped Swift||Chaetura cinereiventris|
|Vaux’s Swift||Chaetura vauxi|
|Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift||Panyptila cayennensis|
|White-necked Jacobin||Florisuga mellivora|
|Bronzy Hermit||Glaucis aeneus|
|Band-tailed Barbthroat||Threnetes ruckeri|
|Stripe-throated Hermit||Phaethornis striigularis|
|Green Hermit||Phaethornis guy|
|Long-billed Hermit||Phaethornis longirostris|
|Lesser Violetear||Colibri cyanotus|
|Purple-crowned Fairy||Heliothryx barroti|
|Green-breasted Mango||Anthracothorax prevostii|
|Green Thorntail||Discosura conversii|
|Green-crowned Brilliant||Heliodoxa jacula|
|Talamanca Hummingbird||Eugenes spectabilis|
|Fiery-throated Hummingbird||Panterpe insignis|
|White-bellied Mountaingem||Lampornis hemileucus|
|Purple-throated Mountaingem||Lampornis calolaemus|
|Grey-tailed Mountaingem (Endemic)||Lampornis cinereicauda|
|Ruby-throated Hummingbird||Archilochus colubris|
|Volcano Hummingbird||Selasphorus flammula|
|Scintillant Hummingbird||Selasphorus scintilla|
|Violet Sabrewing||Campylopterus hemileucurus|
|Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer||Chalybura urochrysia|
|Coppery-headed Emerald (Endemic)||Microchera cupreiceps|
|Stripe-tailed Hummingbird||Eupherusa eximia|
|Black-bellied Hummingbird||Eupherusa nigriventris|
|Rufous-tailed Hummingbird||Amazilia tzacatl|
|Blue-chested Hummingbird||Polyerata amabilis|
|Groove-billed Ani||Crotophaga sulcirostris|
|Squirrel Cuckoo||Piaya cayana|
|Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)|
|Rock Dove (Introduced)||Columba livia|
|Scaled Pigeon||Patagioenas speciosa|
|Band-tailed Pigeon||Patagioenas fasciata|
|Pale-vented Pigeon||Patagioenas cayennensis|
|Red-billed Pigeon||Patagioenas flavirostris|
|Ruddy Pigeon (H)||Patagioenas subvinacea|
|Short-billed Pigeon||Patagioenas nigrirostris|
|Inca Dove||Columbina inca|
|Ruddy Ground Dove||Columbina talpacoti|
|Blue Ground Dove (H)||Claravis pretiosa|
|White-tipped Dove||Leptotila verreauxi|
|Grey-chested Dove||Leptotila cassinii|
|White-winged Dove||Zenaida asiatica|
|Rails, Crakes & Coots (Rallidae)|
|Russet-naped Wood Rail||Aramides albiventris|
|Southern Lapwing||Vanellus chilensis|
|Northern Jacana||Jacana spinosa|
|Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)|
|Spotted Sandpiper||Actitis macularius|
|Anhingas, Darters (Anhingidae)|
|Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)|
|Green Ibis||Mesembrinibis cayennensis|
|Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)|
|Fasciated Tiger Heron||Tigrisoma fasciatum|
|Green Heron||Butorides virescens|
|Western Cattle Egret||Bubulcus ibis|
|Great Blue Heron||Ardea herodias|
|Great Egret||Ardea alba|
|Little Blue Heron||Egretta caerulea|
|New World Vultures (Cathartidae)|
|King Vulture||Sarcoramphus papa|
|Black Vulture||Coragyps atratus|
|Turkey Vulture||Cathartes aura|
|Kites, Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)|
|Double-toothed Kite||Harpagus bidentatus|
|Roadside Hawk (H)||Rupornis magnirostris|
|Semiplumbeous Hawk||Leucopternis semiplumbeus|
|Grey Hawk||Buteo plagiatus|
|Broad-winged Hawk||Buteo platypterus|
|Short-tailed Hawk||Buteo brachyurus|
|Red-tailed Hawk||Buteo jamaicensis|
|Costa Rican Pygmy Owl||Glaucidium costaricanum|
|Ferruginous Pygmy Owl||Glaucidium brasilianum|
|Bare-shanked Screech Owl||Megascops clarkii|
|Vermiculated Screech Owl||Megascops vermiculatus|
|Spectacled Owl||Pulsatrix perspicillata|
|Crested Owl||Lophostrix cristata|
|Mottled Owl||Strix virgata|
|Resplendent Quetzal||Pharomachrus mocinno|
|Slaty-tailed Trogon||Trogon massena|
|Collared Trogon||Trogon collaris|
|Amazon Kingfisher||Chloroceryle amazona|
|Green Kingfisher||Chloroceryle americana|
|Belted Kingfisher||Megaceryle alcyon|
|Lesson’s Motmot||Momotus lessonii|
|Broad-billed Motmot||Electron platyrhynchum|
|Rufous-tailed Jacamar||Galbula ruficauda|
|New World Barbets (Capitonidae)|
|Red-headed Barbet||Eubucco bourcierii|
|Toucan Barbets (Semnornithidae)|
|Prong-billed Barbet||Semnornis frantzii|
|Blue-throated Toucanet||Aulacorhynchus caeruleogularis|
|Collared Aracari||Pteroglossus torquatus|
|Keel-billed Toucan||Ramphastos sulfuratus|
|Yellow-throated Toucan||Ramphastos ambiguus|
|Acorn Woodpecker||Melanerpes formicivorus|
|Black-cheeked Woodpecker||Melanerpes pucherani|
|Hoffmann’s Woodpecker||Melanerpes hoffmannii|
|Cinnamon Woodpecker||Celeus loricatus|
|Chestnut-colored Woodpecker||Celeus castaneus|
|Lineated Woodpecker||Dryocopus lineatus|
|Pale-billed Woodpecker||Campephilus guatemalensis|
|Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)|
|Crested Caracara||Caracara plancus|
|Collared Forest Falcon (H)||Micrastur semitorquatus|
|Bat Falcon||Falco rufigularis|
|African & New World Parrots (Psittacidae)|
|Orange-chinned Parakeet||Brotogeris jugularis|
|Brown-hooded Parrot||Pyrilia haematotis|
|White-crowned Parrot||Pionus senilis|
|White-fronted Amazon||Amazona albifrons|
|Red-lored Amazon||Amazona autumnalis|
|Sulphur-winged Parakeet||Pyrrhura hoffmanni|
|Olive-throated Parakeet||Eupsittula nana|
|Great Green Macaw – CR||Ara ambiguus|
|Scarlet Macaw||Ara macao|
|Finsch’s Parakeet||Psittacara finschi|
|Olivaceous Woodcreeper||Sittasomus griseicapillus|
|Wedge-billed Woodcreeper||Glyphorynchus spirurus|
|Cocoa Woodcreeper||Xiphorhynchus susurrans|
|Streak-headed Woodcreeper||Lepidocolaptes souleyetii|
|Spot-crowned Woodcreeper||Lepidocolaptes affinis|
|Buffy Tuftedcheek||Pseudocolaptes lawrencii|
|Spotted Barbtail||Premnoplex brunnescens|
|Ruddy Treerunner||Margarornis rubiginosus|
|Red-faced Spinetail||Cranioleuca erythrops|
|Slaty Spinetail||Synallaxis brachyura|
|Barred Antshrike||Thamnophilus doliatus|
|Black-crowned Antshrike (H)||Thamnophilus atrinucha|
|Fasciated Antshrike||Cymbilaimus lineatus|
|Great Antshrike||Taraba major|
|Spotted Antbird (H)||Hylophylax naevioides|
|Chestnut-backed Antbird||Poliocrania exsul|
|Tyrant Flycatchers, Calyptura (Tyrannidae)|
|White-fronted Tyrannulet||Phyllomyias zeledoni|
|Mountain Elaenia||Elaenia frantzii|
|Torrent Tyrannulet||Serpophaga cinerea|
|Mistletoe Tyrannulet||Zimmerius parvus|
|Olive-striped Flycatcher||Mionectes olivaceus|
|Ochre-bellied Flycatcher||Mionectes oleagineus|
|Slaty-capped Flycatcher||Leptopogon superciliaris|
|Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant||Lophotriccus pileatus|
|Common Tody-Flycatcher||Todirostrum cinereum|
|Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher||Todirostrum nigriceps|
|Eye-ringed Flatbill||Rhynchocyclus brevirostris|
|Black Phoebe||Sayornis nigricans|
|Northern Tufted Flycatcher||Mitrephanes phaeocercus|
|Dark Pewee||Contopus lugubris|
|Ochraceous Pewee (H)||Contopus ochraceus|
|Tropical Pewee||Contopus cinereus|
|Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (H)||Empidonax flaviventris|
|Yellowish Flycatcher||Empidonax flavescens|
|Black-capped Flycatcher||Empidonax atriceps|
|Long-tailed Tyrant||Colonia colonus|
|Piratic Flycatcher||Legatus leucophaius|
|Social Flycatcher||Myiozetetes similis|
|Grey-capped Flycatcher||Myiozetetes granadensis|
|Great Kiskadee||Pitangus sulphuratus|
|White-ringed Flycatcher||Conopias albovittatus|
|Boat-billed Flycatcher||Megarynchus pitangua|
|Tropical Kingbird||Tyrannus melancholicus|
|Rufous Mourner||Rhytipterna holerythra|
|Great Crested Flycatcher (H)||Myiarchus crinitus|
|Bright-rumped Attila||Attila spadiceus|
|Snowy Cotinga||Carpodectes nitidus|
|White-ruffed Manakin||Corapipo altera|
|White-collared Manakin||Manacus candei|
|Red-capped Manakin||Ceratopipra mentalis|
|Tityras, Becards, Sharpbill (Tityridae)|
|Black-crowned Tityra||Tityra inquisitor|
|Masked Tityra||Tityra semifasciata|
|Barred Becard||Pachyramphus versicolor|
|Cinnamon Becard||Pachyramphus cinnamomeus|
|Vireos, Greenlets, Shrike-babblers (Vireonidae)|
|Rufous-browed Peppershrike (H)||Cyclarhis gujanensis|
|Lesser Greenlet||Pachysylvia decurtata|
|Philadelphia Vireo||Vireo philadelphicus|
|Yellow-winged Vireo||Vireo carmioli|
|Crows, Jays (Corvidae)|
|Brown Jay||Psilorhinus morio|
|Black-and-yellow Phainoptila||Phainoptila melanoxantha|
|Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher||Ptiliogonys caudatus|
|Swallows, Martins (Hirundinidae)|
|Mangrove Swallow||Tachycineta albilinea|
|Blue-and-white Swallow||Pygochelidon cyanoleuca|
|Northern Rough-winged Swallow||Stelgidopteryx serripennis|
|Southern Rough-winged Swallow||Stelgidopteryx ruficollis|
|Grey-breasted Martin||Progne chalybea|
|Barn Swallow||Hirundo rustica|
|Rufous-backed Wren||Campylorhynchus capistratus|
|Black-throated Wren||Pheugopedius atrogularis|
|Cabanis’s Wren||Cantorchilus modestus|
|Canebrake Wren||Cantorchilus zeledoni|
|Bay Wren||Cantorchilus nigricapillus|
|Stripe-breasted Wren||Cantorchilus thoracicus|
|House Wren||Troglodytes aedon|
|Ochraceous Wren||Troglodytes ochraceus|
|Timberline Wren||Thryorchilus browni|
|White-breasted Wood Wren||Henicorhina leucosticta|
|Grey-breasted Wood Wren||Henicorhina leucophrys|
|Northern Nightingale-Wren||Microcerculus philomela|
|Mockingbirds, Thrashers (Mimidae)|
|Tropical Mockingbird||Mimus gilvus|
|Black-faced Solitaire||Myadestes melanops|
|Wood Thrush||Hylocichla mustelina|
|Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush||Catharus fuscater|
|Swainson’s Thrush (H)||Catharus ustulatus|
|Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush||Catharus gracilirostris|
|Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush||Catharus frantzii|
|Sooty Thrush||Turdus nigrescens|
|Mountain Thrush||Turdus plebejus|
|Clay-colored Thrush||Turdus grayi|
|American Dipper||Cinclus mexicanus|
|Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches (Passeridae)|
|House Sparrow (Introduced)||Passer domesticus|
|Finches, Euphonias (Fringillidae)|
|Yellow-bellied Siskin||Spinus xanthogastrus|
|Golden-browed Chlorophonia||Chlorophonia callophrys|
|Yellow-crowned Euphonia||Euphonia luteicapilla|
|Yellow-throated Euphonia||Euphonia hirundinacea|
|Olive-backed Euphonia||Euphonia gouldi|
|Tawny-capped Euphonia||Euphonia anneae|
|New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)|
|Sooty-capped Bush Tanager||Chlorospingus pileatus|
|Common Bush Tanager||Chlorospingus flavopectus|
|Black-striped Sparrow||Arremonops conirostris|
|Orange-billed Sparrow||Arremon aurantiirostris|
|Chestnut-capped Brushfinch||Arremon brunneinucha|
|Sooty-faced Finch||Arremon crassirostris|
|Volcano Junco||Junco vulcani|
|Rufous-collared Sparrow||Zonotrichia capensis|
|Large-footed Finch||Pezopetes capitalis|
|White-eared Ground Sparrow (H)||Melozone leucotis|
|Yellow-thighed Brushfinch||Atlapetes tibialis|
|Wrenthrush (H)||Zeledonia coronata|
|Oropendolas, New World Orioles, Blackbirds (Icteridae)|
|Eastern Meadowlark||Sturnella magna|
|Chestnut-headed Oropendola||Psarocolius wagleri|
|Montezuma Oropendola||Psarocolius montezuma|
|Scarlet-rumped Cacique||Cacicus microrhynchus|
|Baltimore Oriole||Icterus galbula|
|Black-cowled Oriole||Icterus prosthemelas|
|Red-winged Blackbird||Agelaius phoeniceus|
|Giant Cowbird||Molothrus oryzivorus|
|Melodious Blackbird||Dives dives|
|Great-tailed Grackle||Quiscalus mexicanus|
|New World Warblers (Parulidae)|
|Northern Waterthrush||Parkesia noveboracensis|
|Golden-winged Warbler||Vermivora chrysoptera|
|Black-and-white Warbler||Mniotilta varia|
|Flame-throated Warbler||Oreothlypis gutturalis|
|Tennessee Warbler||Leiothlypis peregrina|
|Mourning Warbler||Geothlypis philadelphia|
|Kentucky Warbler||Geothlypis formosa|
|Olive-crowned Yellowthroat||Geothlypis semiflava|
|Tropical Parula||Setophaga pitiayumi|
|Blackburnian Warbler||Setophaga fusca|
|American Yellow Warbler||Setophaga aestiva|
|Chestnut-sided Warbler||Setophaga pensylvanica|
|Townsend’s Warbler||Setophaga townsendi|
|Black-throated Green Warbler||Setophaga virens|
|Buff-rumped Warbler||Myiothlypis fulvicauda|
|Chestnut-capped Warbler||Basileuterus delattrii|
|Black-cheeked Warbler||Basileuterus melanogenys|
|Golden-crowned Warbler||Basileuterus culicivorus|
|Wilson’s Warbler||Cardellina pusilla|
|Slate-throated Whitestart||Myioborus miniatus|
|Collared Whitestart||Myioborus torquatus|
|Cardinals & Allies (Cardinalidae)|
|Flame-colored Tanager||Piranga bidentata|
|Summer Tanager||Piranga rubra|
|Red-throated Ant Tanager||Habia fuscicauda|
|Black-thighed Grosbeak||Pheucticus tibialis|
|Rose-breasted Grosbeak||Pheucticus ludovicianus|
|Black-faced Grosbeak (H)||Caryothraustes poliogaster|
|Blue-black Grosbeak||Cyanoloxia cyanoides|
|Tanagers & Allies (Thraupidae)|
|Green Honeycreeper||Chlorophanes spiza|
|Red-legged Honeycreeper||Cyanerpes cyaneus|
|Shining Honeycreeper||Cyanerpes lucidus|
|Scarlet-thighed Dacnis||Dacnis venusta|
|Cinnamon-bellied Saltator||Saltator grandis|
|Buff-throated Saltator||Saltator maximus|
|Black-headed Saltator||Saltator atriceps|
|Slate-colored Grosbeak (H)||Saltator grossus|
|Yellow-faced Grassquit||Tiaris olivaceus|
|Crimson-collared Tanager||Ramphocelus sanguinolentus|
|Scarlet-rumped Tanager||Ramphocelus passerinii|
|Morelet’s Seedeater||Sporophila morelleti|
|Variable Seedeater||Sporophila corvina|
|Slaty Flowerpiercer||Diglossa plumbea|
|Blue-grey Tanager||Thraupis episcopus|
|Yellow-winged Tanager||Thraupis abbas|
|Palm Tanager||Thraupis palmarum|
|Golden-hooded Tanager||Stilpnia larvata|
|Bay-headed Tanager||Tangara gyrola|
|Silver-throated Tanager||Tangara icterocephala|
|Common Name||Scientific Name|
|Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)|
|White Peacock||Anartia jarophae|
|Blue Morpho||Morpho menelaus|
|Gossamer-winged Butterflies (Lycaenidae)|
|Togarna Hairstreak||Arawacus togarna|
|Bullet Ant||Paraponera clavata|
|Common Name||Scientific Name|
|Three-toed Sloths (Bradypodidae)|
|Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth||Bradypus variegatus|
|New World Monkeys (Atelidea)|
|Central American Spider Monkey EN||Ateles geoffroyi|
|Golden-mantled Howler Monkey||Alouatta palliata palliata|
|Red-tailed Squirrel||Sciurus granatensis|
|Variegated Squirrel||Sciurus variegatoides|
|Orange Nectar Bat||Lonchophylla robusta|
|Honduran White Bat NT||Ectophylla alba|
|Long-nosed Proboscis Bat||Rhynchonycteris naso|
|Nine-banded Armadillo||Dasypus novemcinctus|
|White-nosed Coati||Nasua narica|
Reptiles and Amphibians List
|Common Name||Scientific Name|
|Common House Gecko||Hemidactylus sp.|
|Green Iguana||Iguana iguana|
|Pug-nosed Anole||Anolis capito|
|Slender Anole||Anolis fuscoauratus|
|Spectacled Caimen||Caiman crocodilus chiapasius|
|Black River Turtle||Rhinoclemmys funerea|
|Poison Dart Frogs (Dendrobatidae)|
|Strawberry Poison-dart Frog||Oophaga pumilio|
|Fleshbelly Frogs (Craugastoridae)|
|Common Rain Frog||Craugastor fitzingeri|
|True Toads (Bufonidae)|
|Cane Toad||Rhinella marina|
|Leaf Litter Toad||Rhaebo haematiticus|
DOWNLOAD TRIP REPORT
Please see the downloadable PDF above with the full species lists included. This is a sample trip report. Please email us ([email protected]) for more trip reports from this destination.
COSTA RICA ESCAPE TOUR-SPECIFIC INFORMATION
Our Costa Rica Escape tour is a great, nine-day trip across one of the most exciting destinations in the neotropics. Our tour will start in San José and will take you to explore the Caribbean foothills in the north where we will have the chance to explore La Selva Biological Station and other famous birding sites. Here we hope to see iconic species such as Snowy Cotinga, Montezuma Oropendola, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari and Great Green Macaw. There are excellent chances for other wildlife sightings too, with Brown-throated Sloth, Honduran White Bat and Strawberry Poison-dart Frog, all possible. The birding is generally easy-going with ample opportunities to relax and enjoy bird feeding stations. We will spend quality time walking along exciting forest trails. Another part of our tour will take us to the San Gerardo de Dota to explore the cloudforest mountains looking for the incredible Resplendent Quetzal and other specials such as Wrenthrush, Dark Pewee, Spotted Wood Quail, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, and Blue-throated Toucanet, while staying at the comfortable Savegre Lodge as our base for three nights.
Please e-mail us ([email protected], or contact us in a different way, if preferred) before you book any flights, as the information shown here is just an initial guide. Our tour will start in the city of San José, at San José’s de Costa Rica Juan Santa María International Airport (SJO) which can be reached by flights from most major airports from the US, Europe and Panama City (Panama). You may wish to consult your travel agent to book your most convenient flight, although please contact us if you need any guidance. Your tour leader will be waiting for you at San José Airport with the Birding Ecotours logo displayed and will then transfer you to your nearby hotel. Please be aware that most international flights arrive in San José around midday. We don’t have any birding activities planned for the first afternoon but we can enjoy birding around the hotel grounds where we can get a nice set of birds. In case you arrive on an early flight, you will be transferred to the hotel but may have to wait until check-in is available (normally in the early afternoon, although you can easily pass the time wandering around the hotel grounds). For an early check-in, you might be charged extra directly by the hotel; this cost is not included in the Birding Ecotours tour price.
Please remember to keep your luggage tags, as they are required to exit the terminal at the San José Airport.
When filling out the customs declaration form, please use the hotel address below:
Hotel Bounganvillea Santo Tomás, Heredia, Santo Domingo, 40302, Costa Rica
Our tour will end in the city of San José after a wonderful nine days in Costa Rica. On the final morning you will be transferred to the San José Airport (SJO) from where you can catch your connecting flight.
DOMESTIC FLIGHT INFORMATION
There are not domestic flights needed on this birding tour.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS AND PACE
We grade this trip as easy, with most of the birding consisting of walking along roads, although some of them lead up and down hills. We will explore some forest trails in the cloudforest and Caribbean slope which have gentle undulations, and there may be muddy sections after rain. Nevertheless, Costa Rica does not require long, hard mountain walks as do some other Birding Ecotours destinations like Peru, Guatemala, or Ecuador. We will spend quality time sitting and enjoying hummingbird feeders and birding the lodge grounds at a number of destinations on this tour.
Keep in mind that (as is usual on most birding trips) we need to be awake very early in the mornings, and pre-dawn starts are required each day. We normally spend the whole morning birding in the field, before returning to the lodge for lunch, after which we often enjoy some downtime and then continue our birding in the late afternoon. Your guide will sometimes invite you to look for owls at night, however this is an optional activity that you can skip if you feel tired. Some people prefer to rest, skipping birding in the afternoon; this can be done at those lodges where we are staying more than one night. When we make birding stops while traveling from location to location, those who feel tired do not have to follow the group and can remain and rest in the vehicle.
We think this trip may be difficult for people with back, walking, and balance problems or for those who are not used to a birding trip with early morning starts.
ATM machines are only available at San José Airport and we suggest drawing US dollars here (for personal expenses such as bar bills, laundry, phone calls, etc). We recommend drawing all the cash (US dollars) you expect to need on the tour at the airport, as ATM machines are not easily accessible elsewhere on the tour itinerary. Please note that although most destinations will accept credit cards, some of the more remote locations may not offer these facilities.
We will reach the highest elevation of the tour at Los Quetzales National Park at 10,170 feet (3,190 meters) above sea level. Please ask your doctor if you have any medical conditions that might be aggravated by high elevations. However, we will likely only spend 1-2 hours at this elevation, as we are only looking for two special targets here; Volcano Junco and Timberline Wren. Normally we find these birds fairly quickly and we have not had any problems with altitude sickness in the past.
We ask you to be ready for all kinds of weather during this trip. Areas such as Sarapiqui, El Tapir, Cope Wildlife Reserve and La Selva Biological Station in the Caribbean foothills are hot and humid with temperatures reaching 30°C (86°F). We suggest packing clothes in which you feel most comfortable for this kind of weather. We highly recommend using sunscreen and a light-colored hat or cap. We might also get some rain during our visit in the Caribbean tropical forest!
The weather in the cloudforest of San Gerardo de Dora, Savegre Lodge, Irazú Volcano and the Quetzales National Park can be sunny and humid around midday but cold in the early morning and night, with temperatures dropping to 8°C (46°F).
Please check here for a list of what we recommend bringing.
Laundry services are available at Hotel Boungavillea, Savegre Lodge and La Quinta Sarapiquí Country Inn. Laundry fees are not included in the tour price.
Accommodation is of a very good standard during the tour with rooms including en suite bathrooms, hot showers and air conditioning (in warmer areas only).
We will have a private van for the whole tour with plenty of room for everybody. We will require 4×4 vehicle transfers to reach a couple of birding spots above Savegre Lodge. The drive should only take a few minutes but participants should be fit enough to climb in and out of the 4×4 vehicles.
‘The Costa Rica Escape tour was my second trip with Birding Ecotours, after Brazil. It was a great winter break and also a teaser trip to the country, leaving us wanting to see more. Any trip with a Resplendent Quetzal has to be a good one, but the variety of birds we saw at the various stops was amazing. One of the highlight memories for me was when Eduardo and the local guide were off the trail, listening for an owl, and a Great Tinamou walked right up to their feet without them realizing it. As a guide, Eduardo is professional, knowledgeable and personable. I’m already planning my third trip with the company!’