Would you want to see 150 bird species in a day? The immediate response tends to be a big fat “yes!” but if we pause, step back and contemplate what a birding blur of a day that might be like, we of course still say “YES!” and just as emphatically as the call of a Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher.
Actually, though, if all the birds are new, you might not want to have 150 species in one day. Although the generally accepted rule in birding is the more the merrier, if we see too much in one day, we can end up being confused about what we have seen, and might feel less appreciation for the birds we encounter. But hey, if a birder in Costa Rica doesn’t mind accepting the challenge, here are a couple of ideas to see 150 species in a day:
The Carara area– This is probably the easiest place to connect with that many birds in one day. It will be a long, likely hot, day of birding but you will be surprised at how many birds are on the list when the clock shows 5 p.m. Last week, I had just such an experience during an exciting day of guiding around Carara. To keep it brief, we began the birding on the Guacalillo Road, moved to the Cerro Lodge Road, then Carara National Park for the rest of the morning. Lunch at a seaside restaurant was followed by Tarcoles then the road to Pura Vida Gardens.
The end result was Pearl Kite, White-throated Magpie-Jay, various parrots, parakeets and Scarlet Macaw, Crane Hawk, point blank views of Streak-chested Antpitta, Red-capped Manakin, an excellent antswarm, and a bunch more to hit 143 species seen and 20 plus more heard. And that’s not running around like the proverbial headless jungle fowl either but just steady birding until 4:30 p.m. or so.
La Gamba– Way down south, the road to the Esquinas Lodge area and trails in the forest can yield 150 plus species. Several will likely be heard only but a full day of birding around there is typically fantastic on account of the winning combination of open wet fields, riparian zones, gardens, and mature lowland rainforest. If you still have energy to bird, the night birding in that area is also excellent!
Sarapiqui- This classic site can also turn up 150 or so species in a day. A birder would probably need to visit more than site in the area doing that can certainly result in a large number of species. Last month, I did just that while guiding and we got around 150 by birding on roads near Quinta de Sarapiqui, behind Selva Verde, and at the edge of La Selva.
Are you ready to see more than your share of tropical birds in one day? How about a few hundred or more during a week? Support this blog and check out my 700 plus page e-book “How to See, Find, and Identify Birds in Costa Rica”. If I don’t transfer the book right away, it’s because I am out guiding and will get it to you within a few days.
Hope to see you in Costa Rica!