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biodiversity bird photography Birding Costa Rica caribbean slope high elevations Introduction

A Dozen Birds from Poas to Sarapiqui

Always lots of birds to see in Costa Rica. The more you look, the  more you see, especially when you spend time in birdy habitats. This past week, a couple of days guiding along the Poas-Cinchona-Sarapiqui turned up an expected fine variety of avian species. Since the focus was on getting video footage of birds, we had plenty of photo opportunities including the twelve birds seen below.

In the high elevation habitats on Poas, we had a fair selection of temperate zone species including Buffy Tuftedcheek, brief looks at an over shy male Resplendent Quetzal, Black Guan, and several Fiery-throated Hummingbirds among other species including…

A male Black and yellow Silky Flycatcher spent the entire day in a few fruiting bushes.
Hairy Woodpeckers- not so exciting but an interesting endemic subspecies that is fun to watch.

The Volcan Restaurant is a short drive downslope from the temperate zone and an excellent place for watching hummingbirds (we had 7 species). The forest along the riparian zone at that spot can also be good although we saw little when we were there.

Purple-throated Mountain Gems are one of the most common hummingbird species at that site and elevation.
Stunning Violet Sabrewings are also present.

On Wednesday, we started the day out at the Cafe Colibri in Cinchona. This site continues to be an excellent place for seeing several hummingbirds (we had 8 species) and is great for taking pictures of other birds as well. The day we were there, the cloudy weather was perfect for bird photography.

Happily, Emerald Toucanets showed up to eat papaya and entertain with stunning colors at close range.
The other stars of the show were a pair of Prong-billed Barbets.

After enjoying the hummingbird extravaganza (8 species) and getting close looks at Silver-throated and Common Bush Tanagers, we headed down to the Nature Pavilion, one of the best sites for bird photography in Costa Rica. The lighting was excellent, there was a good amount of activity at and near the feeders, a Rufous-winged Woodpecker called and foraged in the trees behind us, and other lowland species called and flew overhead. It was a memorable morning indeed with constant photography opportunities.

Golden-hooded Tanagers are one of the stunning birds that visit the feeders at the Nature Pavilion.
Green Honeycreepers come in now and then. The male showed up too but didn't stay long enough for me to get a photo.
Red-throated Ant Tanagers come to the feeders too for rare photo opps of this understory species!

The owners make sure that the feeders are filled with papaya and bananas.

Dave Lando, one of the owners of the Nature Pavilion, puts out more papaya for the birds.
Grayish Saltators are one of three saltator species that come to the feeders.

After the Nature Pavilion, we made a quick stop near La Selva and got looks at a busy flock of around a dozen species including (Chestnut-colored Woodpecker) but the birds were too quick to photograph (not to mention rain and dense vegetation also posing challenges to photography). So, we headed back upslope and escaped the rain for a bit. At a roadside lagoon near San Miguel, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat came in for good photos.

Gray-crowned Yellowthroats are pretty common in brushy fields.

Olive-crowned Yellowthroat also responded to its song but wouldn’t come close enough for a photo. However, we did manage to get looks at a much less common species.

The White-throated Flycatcher is a very local species in Costa Rica.

After our stop at the lagoon, we made another quick stop near Cinchona and got looks at Silver-throated Tanagers, Speckled Tanagers, Tropical Parulas, and some other birds before the rains begen to fall in earnest. Always a lot of nice birds to watch in Costa Rica!

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