I haven’t been birding in the western end of the Central Valley for at least a month but I was reminded of how good the birding is near the town of San Ramon when the Union de Ornitologos de Costa Rica released the Christmas Count Results for this area on March 4th. The results can be downloaded and although there are in Spanish, even if you cant speak that language, they are pretty easy to interpret as bird names are in English.
The variety of habitats that fall within the count circle resulted in over 340 species being identified! Red-crowned Ant-Tanager, Ruddy Woodcreeper, Rufous-breasted Wren and other Pacific Slope species demonstrated that the seasonally dry forests of this biogeographic area were represented at the Eco-Musas park. Over on the other, wetter side of the mountains, several routes that accessed middle-elevation forests turned up a very good number of Caribbean Slope birds including the likes of Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Rufous Motmot, Ocellated and Spotted Antbirds, Thicket Antpitta, and Black-headed Antthrush. Cloud forests in the area also turned up Black-breasted Wood-Quail and Resplendent Quetzal among other species. The area around Tierras Enamoradas was especially productive for a bunch of foothill forest species. On a side note, this hotel has excellent birding near the cabins and on trails through the forest (have seen Great Curassow, lots of intact rainforest). They prefer to sell package stays that are good bargains if you want to do canopy tours and that sort of thing but while non-birding spouses and kids can zipline through the forest and ride horses, you can go birding on your own or with a resident birding guide.
Some highlights were Bare-necked Umbrellabird (3 seen, one right at the San Luis Canopy!), the trio of Costa Rican antthrushes, the triplet of Costa Rican leaftossers, Sunbittern, Tiny Hawk, 5 (!) sightings of Ornate Hawk-Eagle, two White-tipped Sicklebills, Keel-billed Motmot, Scaled Antpitta, Yellow-eared Toucanet, and four Sepia-capped Flycatchers!
Another advantage of these results is that numbers of bird species are given for each site. Now many of these species are rare so you can’t expect to just bird the routes of the count and and see them but at least you know that you have a chance! These count results show that any birder headed to the La Fortuna area should consider spending a night in the area to bird some of these sites or at least take the route from San Ramon through San Lorenzo and stop for birding along the way. I can’t wait to get back to the area as well as check out spots past Tierras Enamoradas where there is a lot of promising, underbirded habitat.