The Catarata del Toro is a massive, scenic waterfall at the edge of Juan Castro Blanco National Park. if you are wondering where that is, think central Costa Rica, the mountains between Poas and La Fortuna. If it helps, it’s also near Bosque de Paz. If you aren’t headed to Bosque de Paz, it’s a bit of a detour off the route between Arenal and Sarapiqui but here are some reasons why the detour is worth it:

  • A couple of loop trails through good cloud forest: Although I have only birded on them twice, I think there is a lot of birding potential. The elevation is around 1,200 meters, the forest has a lot of big trees (indicators of quality habitat), and the forest is connected to the national park. On my limited time on those trails, I have had Highland Tinamou, Emerald Toucanet, Prong-billed Barbet, Pale-vented Thrush, and various common middle elevation species. I bet a lot more could occur.
  • Hummingbird feeders:  This is the main reason for paying a visit. Sometimes, they can be slow but during rainy weather and, when hummingbirds are hungry, the Colibridae action is out of sight.

Some of that sweet hummingbird action.

The feeders are also scenic.

Lots of fantastic Violet Sabrewings to look at.

  • Crazy, close shots of hummingbirds:

Juvenile Green-crowned Brilliant.

Adult Green-crowned Brilliant.

Adult male Green-crowned Brilliant with photo-bombing White-bellied Mountain-Gem.

White-bellied Mounatin-Gem

Green Hermit

  • Black-bellied Hummingbird: Not a whole lot of accessible sites for this one.

Black-bellied Hummingbird

Black-bellied Hummingbird showing its flat crown.

  • Coppery-headed Emerald: Common, near endemic (one population was found in Nicaragua).

    Coppery-headed Emerald shaking off the rain.

    Coppery-headed Emerald showing its colors.

  • Black-breasted Wood-Quail: They used to come into the garden but one of the owners told me that she thought their recent absence might be related to Coatis showing up now and then. She is probably right but the wood-quail should still be in the forest. I wonder if Ochre-breasted and Scaled Antpittas are also around.

Not to mention, the owners also provide good service, can provide meals, and also offer 3 simple rooms. Sounds like a good place for a lone birder or small group to stay and check out. If you do, please send me a report to publish on the blog.

There's also that waterfall to look at. Probably harbors some good swifts.