Costa Rica Birding North to South

Sunbittern © Dave Larson
Sunbittern © Dave Larson
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April 2015

David Larson was joined by local guide Rudy Zamora and an enthusiastic group of Mass Audubon travelers for a journey that began in San Jose, headed north to the Caribbean lowlands, and made multiple stays in the mountains on their way to Corcovado National Park in the south. The final count was 384 species of birds, 21 species of mammals, and a nice selection of other vertebrates, as well as many interesting plants and invertebrates.

Top Birds s voted by the group:

  1. Resplendent Quetzal
  2. Scarlet Macaw
  3. Sunbittern
  4. Blue Dacnis, Snowcap, Flame-throated Warbler (tied)
  5. White-whiskered Puffbird, Turquoise Cotinga (tied)
  6. Black-faced Solitaire, Red-lored Parrot, Yellow-thighed Finch, Golden-crowned Spadebill, Red-capped Manakin, Blue-crowned Manakin (tied)

There were also several votes for “all wrens,” “all motmots,” “all trogons,” and “mixed flocks,” and who could disagree?

Top Experiences:

  1. Rudy, an incredible font of knowledge on all aspects of Costa Rica!
  2. Enjoying the Rudy-Ricardo-David bus comedy.
  3. Seeing the hummingbirds bathing at sunset in the stream pools at Rancho Naturalista.
  4. Experiencing the manakin leks. What energy! And that Red-capped Manakin slide – shades of Michael Jackson.
  5. Seeing two Magnificent Frigatebirds battling over a good-sized fish (even though the bad guy won).
  6. Stopping the bus for an American Dipper and lucking into a Sunbittern with spread wings.
  7. Watching the sun set over the Pacific with new-found friends at the Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge Sunset Bar.
  8. Breezily jetting across glass-smooth water after the jungles of the Osa Peninsula.
  9. Seeing all the monkeys, but especially seeing the mother and baby Central American Spider Monkeys.
  10. Watching a real, live, free-range Baird’s Tapir.
  11. Watching Rudy so full of excitement at finding and showing the group another new bird made every sighting special.
  12. Having such amiable companions on this adventure.
  13. Seeing 13 Keel-billed Toucans perched and greeting each other in the morning.
  14. Waiting for the movement of the Spotted Wood Quails and finally seeing them marching by in the heavy brush at Savegre.
  15. Seeing those incredible, aptly named Resplendent Quetzals – and so well.