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Birding Costa Rica Christmas Counts

Highlights and Impressions from Annual Bird Counts at Cano Negro and Arenal, 2019

The past week has been marked by bird counts, at least for us and the other 80 plus people that helped count birds at Cano Negro and Arenal. Since many of the counters and count organizers are busy with tours later on in December, these counts don’t fit into the official count time frame for the Audubon Christmas Counts and are thus not tabulated therein. However, that doesn’t minimize their importance, we still try to hold them around the same dates for each year and with the same routes and effort.

Pretty typical for December, this year’s counts were marked by the arrival of a cold front. It brought the expected buckets of rain and filled the wetlands of Cano Negro to the brink. As one might imagine, the heavy rains also presented challenges to watching birds but we still managed (yay for us participants!).

Some of the highlights and other impressions from this year’s annual bird counts for Cano Negro and Arenal:

You can still bird in the rain but it’s better when it stops

When birding in the rain, there’s a fine balance between getting too much rain and having just enough to boost the avian activity. Fortunately, it didn’t rain the entire time for either count! Although we did experience some heavy, prolonged falling water, we also had enough downtime from precipitation to count the birds.

Odd birds from the ocean

The good thing about a cold front is the birds that it can bring to town. That cool weather from the north can come with some surprises. At Cano Negro, they came in the form of a few Laughing Gulls, a Sandwich Tern, and two Brown Pelicans. Although we weren’t too far from marine environments, this inland freshwater wetland and refuge is still far enough from the ocean to make sightings of coastal species very unusual. I also checked the lake at Arenal but didn’t find any errant shearwaters or other similar oddities.

The new tower at Finca Luna Nueva

This recent excellent addition to Luna Nueva merits its own post and will get one at some point. During the count, we got a hint of what the birding can be like, I can’t wait to check it out during a sunnier, warmer dawn. On count day, the misty, rainy, and cool weather kept activity to a minimum. At other times, I bet it can be really good.

Both counts deliver the goods

Despite the tough weather, thanks to a good number of enthusiastic participants, we recorded most expected species at both counts. Our best birds at Cano Negro may have been the uncommon Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet, Bare-crowned Antbird, and Bronzy Hermit. At Arenal, these were probably Black-crested Coquette, Uniform Crake, Gray Catbird, Ovenbird, and a few other nice finds.

Best birds from 270 plus species at Cano Negro

It’s hard to decide which birds were the best finds for all routes combined but good contenders come in the form of Tiny Hawk, Northern Harrier, crakes, Pinnated Bittern, Snowy Cotinga, and a few others.

Best Birds from 350 plus species at Arenal

One of our best and most memorable birds was a displaying Sunbittern. Thanks to Beto Palma for sharing this picture.

Another tough call, but some of the rarer species recorded included Bare-necked Umbrellabird, Sharpbill, the super tough Lanceolated Monklet, Tody Motmot, two hawk-eagle species, and Ring-necked Duck among others.

Good birding in good company and bird education

As always, the top highlights from both counts come in the form of sharing these special days with fellow birders. Some of us are veterans of bird counts, others were watching and counting birds for the first time. Promotion of birding also happened this year by way of birding workshops that took place in local communities before each count. Our count fees also helped fund those endeavors.

Beto Palma took this picture of the count shirt.

The count shirt is pretty cool too! Many thanks goes to Diego Quesada, Jheudy Carballo, Anthony Arce, Luis Enrique of Bird Songs Bijagua, and other members of the count committee for making these important bird counts happen.

Christmas Counts

The 2015 Arenal Christmas Count Experience

“Tis Christmas count season and all through the woods, birders were counting every bird that was stirring, tweeting, and flying as much as they could”. As with every properly done Christmas count, that can act as a brief summary for what we did on Saturday, December 5th. The following is a more detailed one about the event:

  • Finca Luna Nueva: This wonderful organic farm and ecolodge was our team’s base for the count and count route. This place might not be on the regular birding route but it should be. The rooms are comfortable and clean, there are trails through productive bird

    Finca Luna Nueva

  • Rain (but not too much): Unfortunately for counts on the Caribbean slope, December coincides with buckets of rain and it can happen at any time of the day. None of that classic tropical sunny morning/rainy afternoon stuff. More like heavy rain followed by light rain transitioning back to a downpour followed by fog. That’s how every team started their count on the 5th but at least the rain only lasted until mid-morning. The rest of the day was cloudy and ended with another bout of precip. but when it wasn’t raining, a good number of birds came out to play.

    This Broad-billed Motmot was seen on a drier day before the count. We had one count day and heard a few others that could have also been Keel-billed Motmots (they sound the same).

    This wet Collared Aracari was a typical scene during the morning of the count.
  • A lot of birds: The birding and counting were productive. We added new birds all day long and were constantly counting. With the sound of rain clouding my memory, I forget which birds were first and last on the list. However, I do know that our team  identified 140 plus species, none of which were aquatic birds! The total for all teams was more than 320 species. As expected, the most frequent were common species, especially Baltimore Oriole, and large flocks of Crimson-fronted Parakeets and White-crowned Parrots.

    Luna Nueva's organic farm and primary rainforest are excellent for birding.
  • Lack of night birds: They were out there but constant rain isn’t conducive to nightbirding.  Most owls were missed (and we didn’t have any), but one team still managed a Spectacled Owl and a Tropical Screech-Owl, and another got Great Potoo (maybe the roosting bird near the dam).
  • Tower birding: Finca Luna Nueva has the distinction of being one of the only places in Costa Rica with a tower, and we made use of it during the pre-breakfast mist and rain. It’s not very tall, and it doesn’t overlook primary forest but it still provides eye level views of several species. We saw parrots in flight, a pair of White-winged Becards, a few migrant wood-warblers, our only Long-tailed Tyrant of the day, and a male Green Thorntail feeding on the flower of an “Almendra” planted as part of the finca’s reforestation efforts among other sightings.

    Counting from the tower.
  • A bit of exploration: After counting more than 100 species at Luna Nueva (and that’s with getting rained out for the best part of the morning), we spent the afternoon covering the road to the Soltis Texas A and M Research Station. We also had a chance to do some counting on the trails of the station. Although we didn’t pick up any megas, the quality rainforest at this site still looks like a good place to check for the ground-cuckoo, Tawny-faced Quail, or other rarity. We did pick up several more birds, including Ocellated and Spotted Antbirds, some tanagers, and various other species. On the way back to Luna Nueva, lots of birds were flying to roost and perching in the tree tops. It was a final birdy ride punctuated with calling toucans, trees decorated with orioles and Red-billed Pigeons, and a choice Bicolored Hawk, the only one on the count. We also checked out Soltis the next morning after experiencing similar morning rain. This resulted in a dozen species not recorded by our team during the count including a perched Black Hawk-Eagle at eye level, and another Bicolored Hawk!

    This Nightingale Wren was seen after the day of the count.

    As was this Black Hawk-Eagle!
  • The stand-outs: In addition to the raptor stand-outs mentioned above, other birds of notice were the calling White-fronted Nunbirds at Luna Nueva, a heard only Uniform Crake, Great Curassow, Blue-throated Goldentail, 3 trogon species, 5 woodpecker species, Checker-throated Antwren and several other antbirds, Kentucky Warbler, and White-throated Shrike-Tanager. The most unexpected species was a glimpse of a Long-tailed Manakin, a species that normally occurs on the Pacific slope and hasn’t been recorded in this area. One other was also seen by another team.

    Our nunbirds.
  • A well-organized event: In keeping with the previous two counts, this year’s count was an organized event that featured video footage of a nesting Thicket Antpitta, explanation of each count route, lodging for several counters, a rep from Swarovski, some bird-related arts and crafts, and a delicious plate of “arroz con pollo” accompanied b y refried beans at the end of the count day.

    One of the count routes.

    Hearing about Thicket Antpittas.

Many thanks goes out to Diego Quesada (Diego Birding and Nature Tours), Juan Diego Vargas, and Jheudy Carnallo for organizing this year’s count, and Finca Luna Nueva for hosting us!

Birding Costa Rica Christmas Counts

Some Tips for Christmas Count Birding in Costa Rica

I can’t believe that it’s November. It was easier to accept that part of the calendar while living in Niagara Falls, New York. After Halloween, the surroundings abruptly changed from a russet Autumn brown with golden highlights, to a gray, half-lit world with cold lead waiting in the atmosphere. Taking an hour of the afternoon daylight out of the picture was a contributing factor to that gray scene but really, everything seemed to be dipped in some brand of liquid gray. The oaks and other deciduous trees had gone to their annual sleep, and the bird scene was dominated by large numbers of ducks and gulls fleeing from the winter that had already grasped the north.

Those cold winds, and rafts of Canvasbacks on the river also signaled another point on the calendar, that of the Christmas Count season. Do you think we birders really look forward to hearing Bing Crosby at every corner and discussions over unlabeled coffee cups? At least I don’t. While I do look forward to seeing family and friends, savoring home-baked Christmas cookies, and watching my daughter get really excited about Christmas, I also anticipate the annual counts. I’m not sure why we get so crazy about them in the north.I mean, you can see a lot more birds in much more pleasant green surroundings at other times of the year. But, even if we only saw ten birds up north, it would still be a key birding day of the year. Do we want to see if we can best last year’s count? Do we want to test ourselves? Enjoy a special bird-holiday with good birder friends? End it with egg-nog or maybe a fine, micro-brewed beer? Yes to all of the above and in Costa Rica, it’s even better because this is when we can actually see more birds!

Summer Tanager is one of many wintering birds we can see.

Christmas Counts in Costa Rica are a celebration, sponsored events, and of course we look forward to them with gusto. We get a chance to see friends that we never run into the rest of the year, to see how many hundreds of birds can be recorded in the count circle, and to push the “limits of machine and man” (maybe not but that partial quote from “Red Barchetta” by Rush is nevertheless inspirational). Well, if you would like to participate in any counts in Costa Rica this year, here are a few tips:

  • Sign up now: Like a concert, the counts are very popular, and some might have limited number of participants. Sign up today and say that you would love to help out. The AOCR publishes a list of the counts, and count contacts every year.
  • Don’t try to do all of them: Since some are on the same date, this will be impossible anyways. Or, try to do as many as you want but keep in mind that each one is almost like an adventurous Big Day. Just tell yourself to keep going and break out the chocolate.
  • Be ready for rain: But isn’t this the dry season? On the pacific slope, yes. On the Caribbean slope, welcome to the wet. Instead of snow, we get generous amounts of rain. Like a Christmas present for the forest ecosystems, the precipitation soaks the mountains and Caribbean slope (La Selva, the Aerial Tram, and several other places). Just be prepared and go with the flow, 300 plus bird species are usually recorded anyways, and you can go after rarities found during the count on the following day.

    Sometimes, you see even more birds during rainy weather. This Cinnamon Woodpecker was seen on a rainy day during the Arenal 2014 count.
  • Consider not staying in national park barracks: Some counts offer the possibility of lodging . If you don’t mind sleeping in an open, noisy dormitory warmed by tropical heat, then you might like it. But, if you would rather go for a good night’s sleep, look for other accommodation.
  • Cliff bars and Gatorade: Many counts provide participants with a lunch. But, just in case you don’t like it, Cliff bars can help save the day. Since the counts also take place during the good olde  Yule tide, rewarding oneself with chocolate and/or brownies is also in order (this is a celebration after all). Gatorade also helps during a long, hot, humid day of non-stop birding.
  • Get the shirt!: Because who doesn’t like a birding event shirt? It helps us recognize fellow members of the tribe when we aren’t carrying binos (like at a coffee shop, the DMV, funeral, etc), and makes for a nice souvenir. Most counts give you a cool shirt, get one!
  • Buy “How to See, Find, and Identify Birds in Costa Rica”: It will help you get ready for any degree or level of birding in Costa Rica, and it’s now available on Kindle!

This year, sadly, my counting in Costa Rica might be restricted to just one event. So it goes with odd timing, travel, and obligations. If you do any counts, have fun, I hope to see you at the one I do!

Birding Costa Rica caribbean foothills caribbean slope Christmas Counts Introduction

The 2014 Arenal Christmas Count

The first thing that comes to mind when I reminisce about the recent Arenal Christmas Count is rain. At this time of the year, cold fronts often come on down to Costa Rica. Unlike other visitors from the north, cold fronts aren’t so welcome because they bring constant rain. While the forests on the Caribbean slope do need tons of falling water (they really do), if you don’t happen to be an amphibian, constant rain is kind of annoying. It’s pretty self explanatory but to give an idea of what it’s like, imagine light rain followed by heavier rain followed by light rain and repeat that process for several days and nights.

Getting ready for the count!

Note the umbrella on the ground- a break in the weather.

Such very wet weather is par for the course in the Arenal area in December so we couldn’t have expected less. However, despite the precipitation, we still managed quite a few bird species on our Finca Luna Nueva route, mostly during times of light rain and breaks in the weather. Such breaks lifted our hearts and gave birth to sighs of relief until the pressure dropped and the rain fell again (along with our drowned, soggy hopes). Ok, enough complaints, now for some highlights!:

  • Birding with the guys from 10,000 Birds, Tomohide Cho, Ismael Torres, and Johan Weintz: Mike Bergin and Corey Finger a la 10,000 Birds were visiting Costa Rica and we did the Arenal count together. Lots of fun before, during, and after the count with these guys in our search for lifers and shelter from the rain. Tomohide takes lots of great pictures of birds, Ismael is the resident guide at Luna Nueva and Johan is a guide.birder from Cartago. This was our team and I am grateful for spending the day with them.

    Mike and Corey wading through yet another stream.
  • Cinnamon Woodpecker: First, we had one so close that it seemed like it wanted to help out with the count. Three or so more during the day showed that Luna Nueva is a good spot for this beautiful species.

    I want to count birds!
  • Great Curassow: Regular around Arenal and at Luna Nueva but always a highlight. Although we didn’t get the barred morph and honorary count bird at Luna Nueva, we did see one of those semi-psychadelic creatures at Arenal Observatory Lodge on the following day.

    This was the count mascot.

    This was the one we saw.
  • White-fronted Nunbird: Mike Bergin gets the prize for spotting this target! The quality forests around Arenal are good for this formerly common species but it’s still easy to miss.
  • Hooded Warbler: Uncommon in Costa Rica and a year bird so it was a highlight for me. We did not re-find the much rarer Nashville that Mike, Corey, and Ismael had seen the day before the count!
  • Keel-billed Motmot: We got one from the tower just before lunch! Great looks but too far for a good shot with my camera.

    View from the canopy tower.
  • Magnificent Frigatebird: Weird stuff goes on during cold fronts and this was one of them. Nope, not even near the coast and no other team happened to see this juvenile fly past during the count!
  • Song Wren: Another good one, we got looks up on the trails at the Texas A and M Soltis Center. We did super good for wrens before and after the count too, with 10 species seen and Plain Wren the only heard only (yes, great looks at the almost invisible Nightingale Wren at Arenal Observatory Lodge).

Big misses included Chestnut-backed Antbird, Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, owls, and other birds that probably didn’t call because they were sick of the rain. I forget how many species we got but I think it was around 130 and that’s not bad, not bad at all for a day of birding!

biodiversity Birding Costa Rica birding lodges Christmas Counts Introduction preparing for your trip

Christmas Counts and other News for Birding in Costa Rica

As in other countries where the holiday tradition takes place, Christmas Counts are happening in Costa Rica. La Selva, Cartago, and Arenal have all had counts this year and as chance would have it, I have missed them all. Nevertheless, I was happy to hear that 70 plus birders participated in the Arenal count and I am sure similar numbers were watching and tallying birds in the other counts. I will do at least one, though, and that always yields serious quality when it comes to birds and biodiversity.

The very birdy garden at the Bosque del Rio Tigre.

On Friday, I will be listening and watching for everything at the Bosque del Rio Tigre as part of their Christmas Count. Other counts will also be happening in the Osa at that time so it will be interesting to see what turns up in that biodiversity hotspot. I’m hoping to get a few more year birds, record the sounds of several species, get lucky with digiscoping in the rainforest (need lottery winning luck for that), and probably do some birding on the drive to the Osa for one heck of a three day birding extravaganza. My previous experience with the Bosque del Rio Tigre count reconfirmed my belief that it’s the best birding lodge in Costa Rica so I wonder how Friday’s count will match up to a day that included raptors like Tiny Hawk, White Hawk, Black Hawk Eagle, Roadside Hawk, Laughing Falcon, and Gray-headed Kite (probably a few other raptors too), White-tipped Sicklebill, Black-cheeked Ant Tanager, and lots of other quality birds.

A Black-cheeked Ant Tanager at the lodge feeder.

Roadside Hawk.

As far as the other counts go, I was sad indeed to miss the Arenal gig. The area has a lot of intact habitat and therefore lots of great birds. This year’s count even turned up a Great Jacamar! It was heard only but the calls of this rarity for Costa Rica are unmistakable so I am sure they had one. Since it was found it in the forests of Arenal Observatory Lodge, it seems as if the species was overlooked for that site. Despite a lot of birding done around there, I am actually not too surprised because the area probably hosts a very small population, and few Tico birders have any experience with this species and thus many would probably overlook its vocalization. Of course there are local birders who would recognize the sounds a Great Jacamar makes but they are probably few in number and would have to be at Arenal Oversvatory Lodge exactly when one of the 2 or 4 Great Jacamars that live around there decided to call. Who knows, maybe it also prefers a microhabitat in Costa Rica that we are unaware of? What I do know is that since we also recorded this species in the nearby Penas Blancas Valley earlier this year, there is certainly a small population of Great Jacamars that live in foothills forests of the Monteverde-Arenal Conservation area.

Speaking of Great Jacamar, I am also hoping to find it at Lands in Love. That glittering green and rufous bird might not even be there but since there is quite a bit of primary forest that also happens to be connected to those rainforests mentioned above, I have hopes for it. I was guiding at Lands in Love over the weekend but we got sort of clobbered with rain on our main day. The constant cold front-associated rain kept us from seeing many birds but we still managed goodies like Black-crested Coquette, Scaly-throated Leaftosser, Broad-billed Motmot, and Golden-crowned Spadebill. One of the best was a perched Crested Owl just a few steps from the reception!

The rainy weather was good for herps including this Eyelash Viper.

That cold front is still happening so if you are headed to the Caribbean slope these days, it’s going to be wet. At the same time, it’s also going to drive a bunch of species into the lowlands so look for everything from Black-faced Solitaire to White-ruffed Manakin, Bare-necked Umbrellabird, and out of place tanagers around Sarapiqui. The good news is that the Varablanca-Cinchona-Sarapiqui road is finally fixed and paved! It’s probably still narrow in places but there shouldn’t be any more pot holes, ruts, or other rough road madness.

On a final birding news note, we have released version 2.1 of the Costa Rica Bird Field Guide app! That means:

  • More species (images, info, and range maps for 578 species, and vocalizations for 346).
  • It’s now optimized for the iPad.
  • Free update for those who have already purchased this Costa Rica birding app.
  • On sale for half the regular price for those who still need to buy it!

Hope to see you birding in Costa Rica!

Birding Costa Rica caribbean slope Christmas Counts Introduction lowlands

The Veragua Christmas Count (part 2)

Sleep was almost as evasive as a Harpy Eagle or a dry day in Tortuguero National Park. This did not bode well for the long day of birding that awaited us in the Veragua count circle. Who knows how long we would have to hike in the humid Caribbean lowland heat? Not to mention, we also had to be as alert as hungry Bat Falcons to give an accurate count. Even though Christmas counts are more relaxed endeavors than the wild, wide-eyed craziness that happens on Big Days, you still need to give it your all and attempt to identify and count every single bird. You have to sort out the Social Flycatchers  from their Gray-capped relatives, recognize the steady, insect-like chipping notes of Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, and give an accurate count of the Cattle Egrets that fly by in white, flapping droves.

Oh, and need I forget to mention, you also have to do that all day long. You can’t give up because it is your mission to count those birds until the time is up or until you drop from heat exhaustion. And even if you are lying there in a puddle of sweat with your birding brain frazzled from counting too many gulls or cowbirds while attempting to asses numbers of Great-tailed Grackles by merit of their circus-like madcap vocalizations, it is still your duty to croak out their names and numbers with rasping, over-exhausted breaths. You can’t give up on providing that precious annual data that may or may not be used to asses avian distribution at some later time. You just don’t know what might happen with the data but that’s why it’s so darn valuable (seriously!). Or, if you don’t want to sacrifice yourself in the name of birds, you could always take a nap at some later point in the day. That is a far better alternative than sleeping in because the biggest peak of bird activity happens when the sun begins its long climb into the tropical sky. Miss those golden hours and you forgo making any real assessment of birds in tropical forested habitats.

So, when the clock struck 3:30 a.m., all 60 something participants jumped out of bed, rushed to get ready, and like sleep-depraved robots, walked over to the cafeteria to fuel up with coffee and gallo pinto. This was a very important morning of birding and each of us had a specific route to cover. Bagged lunches were handed out, people met up with route leaders and counters boarded minivans. I found my two fellow counters for the day in one of the minivans. They were Duaro and Einor (spelling might be wrong but the pronunciation isn’t); two guys who lived near and counted raptors at Kekoldi. When the minivan filled up, the driver closed the doors, put the air on full, and we shivered in the Caribbean lowlands (amazingly) as we drove through the dark to our count circle routes. At 4:30 a.m., Duaro, Einor, and I were dropped off at the entrance to the “Brisas de la Jungla“, we wished the other Veragua participants good luck, and officially started the count!

Our ears were eager and attentive as we trudged uphill in the dark. Ignoring the pleas of roosters and dogs to be included on the list, we listened in expectation after belting out the barking call of Mottled Owl and the wail of Black and White Owl.  Nary a response from those nocturnal creatures  but we did pick up the de facto night bird- Common Pauraque. They earned the distinction of being our first species for the day as they called and flew off the road ahead of us.

Common Pauraques live up to their name when birding Costa Rica.

It was still dark when we reached our focal point for the dawn chorus. This auspicious spot was an overlook that took in a vista of forest edge, distant forested hillsides, and farmland; ideal for parrot flybys, raptors, and picking up the sounds of both forested and open habitats. As the sun began to color the sky, the heralds of the dawn chorus made it onto the list by merit of their vocalizations. Two Collared Forest-Falcons called in the distance, a Black and white Owl sounded off to end its “day”, and Woodcreepers sang a few songs. As is typical of tropical latitudes, the sun ran above the horizon and the birds just as quickly jumped out of their roost sites. Gray-capped and Social Flycatchers were more common than Tropical Kingbirds. A few Great Kiskadees and Boat-billed Flycatchers joined in with their dawn songs and a flock of Plain-colored Tanagers and several Blue Dacnis flew into the top of a nearby tree.

The pretty Blue Dacnis is common around Veragua.

Scanning with binoculars turned up a distant flyby flock of Pale-vented Pigeons and Olive-throated Parakeets zoomed on past. As Cattle Egrets started to fly inland from roosting sites near the coast, we were  kept busy counting them while also picking up a sole Black-striped Woodcreeper, two Central American Pygmy-Owls and common birds like Buff-throated Saltator, Blue-gray Tanager, and Passerini’s Tanager. The plaintive calls of Long-tailed Tyrants also made us aware of their presence and two Striped Cuckoos started to sound off but refused to show themselves (cowards!).

Oddly enough, we didn’t see any raptors from the overlook nor did we see as many parrots as expected. Snowy Cotinga was also evasive despite being in a perfect spot to watch for it. Nevertheless, it was a good place to start the count because we racked up around 80 species in two hours (many by sound). Once the dawn chorus calmed down, Duaro, Einor, and I walked uphill through old cocoa plantations and continued to see more birds. We ticked Western Slaty Antshrike, a handsome little Double-toothed Kite, Broad-winged Hawk feeding on a lizard, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, and a short fruiting tree filled with birds. There were at least a dozen Gray-capped and Social Flycatchers, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, saltators, tanagers, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Montezuma Oropendola, Collared Aracaris, and other species feasting on the fruits.

The view from our first overlook.

Yes, it was as exciting as it sounds but even better was an extremely cooperative Central American Pygmy-Owl that came too close for binoculars after imitating its tooting song. Duaro actually took a National Geographicish video of the thing with his phone! I also got some pictures, including this one taken with the small zoom on my handheld point and shoot:

I swear, I felt like this beautiful little owl was going to use me as a perch!

Up on top of the hill, we reached some proper forest and oh did it look good for birds! Too bad we got there around 8:30 though; the requisite quiet time when birding in rainforest. We made our way to another overlook and, like the birds we were counting, rested for the next two hours. No need to walk around the forest between 9 and 11 unless you want to count insects or identify trees. Since that wasn’t part of our mission, we opted for hanging out on benches and scanning the forest canopy with the scope. Black and Turkey Vultures made their way onto the list but other than one, distant, Common Black Hawk, birds were absent from the scene. I bet that second overlook would be even better for starting the count because it overlooks intact forest. Maybe next year!

We figured our resting time was over when Purple-throated Fruitcrows started to call. They are pretty common in southeastern Costa Rica so I expected to get this one for the year on the day of the count. After a failed attempt to check out a lagoon hidden in the forest (due to it being inaccessible), we started walking downhill along one of the well-maintained trails at Brisas de la Jungla. The trail went through nice forest and old cocoa plantations with immense trees. It was pretty quiet during our time there but I bet it could turn up any number of rainforest species if you birded it during the early morning hours.

One of the trails at Brisas de la Jungla.

However, before venturing onto this trail, douse yourself with insect repellent. In fact, take a shower in the stuff until you reek of vicious chemicals. I didn’t and was literally chased out of the forest by a buzzing horde of mosquitoes. I must have gotten bit close to a hundred times and no matter how many I killed, they wouldn’t let up with their attack. Real blood sucking Ghengis Khaners in that place. I would definitely bird that trail again but not without an unhealthy supply of some seriously potent DEET spray.

Back at the safety of our dawn overlook, we continued counting from benches at that spot and this time, the cotingas were in the house! Granted, they were pretty far away, but visible enough to count them. A scan with the scope revealed at least 5 Snowy Cotingas perched in the canopy of forest on distant hillsides. This was around 3 p.m. and I bet you would have a very good chance of seeing them from the same spot at the same time of day. Look for a white speck against the green. Put the scope on it and it will either be a tityra or a Snowy Cotinga. You can also see these peace-doveish birds around Sarapiqui but they seem to be more numerous in southeastern Costa Rica (which makes sense since there is more intact forest).

That white thing is a Snowy Cotinga.

By this time of day, we didn’t get too much else of note other than one flyby Giant Cowbird. The decision was made to bird the road back down to the highway and maybe even check the river. Although we didn’t pick up anything new for the day, the walk back down was busy with common, rainforest edge species. Down by the river, we picked up Northern Waterthrush and got a surprise bird for the day: American Dipper! I didn’t expect this one because in Costa Rica, they typically occur at middle elevations and not at the 150 meters above sea level spot where we saw it.

Down by the river, we also got our last bird for the day, Blue-headed Parrot! I was especially excited about this bird because it also happened to be my 600th species for the year! I guess I was too excited and relieved to take a picture so you will have to take my word for it. Although they are still outnumbered by White-crowned Parrots in southeastern Costa Rica, a few Blue-headeds usually turn up during a day of birding in this area.

Finishing up the count.

Our Brisas de la Jungla count ended when the minivan picked us up at 5 p.m. The other participants told us tales of ticking kingfishers, egrets, Green-breasted Mangos, and other birds along the coast. We also shared and compared stories of our battles with biting bugs and agreed that this was one of the more mosquito-ridden areas of Costa Rica. The total number of species for our count territory was 122 and the number for the entire count was 408! This could make it the highest Costa Rican count for this year if not the highest species total for all 2011 Christmas counts!

The Veragua count  got so many species because the count circle includes habitats such as coastal areas, quality lowland rainforest, edge habitats, and middle elevation forests at 1,200 meters elevation. A few of the highlights from this year’s count include:

Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon: As an indication of the quality lowland forest around Veragua, 6 of this rare species were recorded!

Violaceous Quail-Dove: Although just one was found, the forested habitats in southeastern Costa Rica may be the most reliable area for this bird in the country. It’s still rare but I have also had luck with this bird in the past at the nearby Hitoy Cerere Reserve.

Red-fronted Parrotlet: Ten were recorded as they flew over a route these birds take most days of the year when commuting between highland forests and some unknown lowland site.

Owls: 7 species were recorded including a few Vermiculated Screech Owls, 5 Crested Owls, and 33 Central American Pygmy-Owls! Veragua and surroundings has got to be the easiest place to see this bird in Costa Rica.

Great Potoo: 9 recorded. Yep, this is a good area for this bird.

White-fronted Nunbird: 15 found in the count circle. This species is still regularly encountered in the area.

Spot-crowned Antvireo: 6 of this localized species were found.

Speckled Mourner: 2 found for the count. A rare bird!

Bare-necked Umbrellabird: 2 found, probably more in the area.

Purple-throated Fruitcrow: 83 counted. Like I mentioned, they are fairly common in the area!

Black-chested Jay: Only 3 this year. Last year, 43 were found, mostly at Brisas de la Jungla (we saw none!).

Sulphur-rumped Tanager: Several of these. Veragua is the most reliable site for this species in Costa Rica.

It was quite the count. The area around Veragua is so good for birding simply because it still boasts sizeable areas of lowland forest. Many of the species that have disappeared or become rare around Sarapiqui are still fairly common around Veragua for this reason. It’s a bit off the regular birding circuit but it’s pretty easy to get to (3 and a half hours from San Jose on two-wheel drive roads). Brisas de la Jungla can be visited for birding although they charge $15 to do so and might even charge another $15 to walk their trail. Veragua is still being developed for birding and only offers very basic accommodation but they have fantastic trails, the birds, and excellent bilingual guides who know where to find them. You can only visit by reserving in advance. Their number in San Jose is 2296-5056. You can also write them at  [email protected]

I can’t wait to go back and bird in the area again albeit more prepared with insect repellent!

biodiversity Birding Costa Rica Christmas Counts Introduction Pacific slope

The 2010 Carara Christmas Count

In the latter months of 2010, we opted for traveling to Niagara Falls, NY for Thanksgiving in lieu of Christmas. We may have missed out on watching “A Christmas Story” with the family and couldn’t go to my Aunt Florence’s and Uncle Kevin’s on Christmas Eve but the fact that we also missed out on massive snowfalls, blizzard conditions, and sleeping in airports kind of tells me that we made the right choice.

Another bonus of heading back to the falls for Turkey Day instead of being there for December 25th was the chance to participate in Christmas Counts. The count for Carara was held on December 28th and as you could expect for one of the best birding areas in Central America, it proved to be a very birdy time with around 360 species recorded!

Such a high total was achieved because several well organized teams were able to traverse a count circle that included such diverse habitats as lowland rain forest, middle elevation forest, dry forest, wetlands, mangroves, estuaries, edge, and the Pacific Coast.

My team covered the same route as when I did the count in 2008 and as with that CBC, I suspect that our 143 species for the day was the highest total for a team.

Although the official count was held on the 28th, it really started for most of us on the 27th with a logistics meeting held that date at 5:30 pm.

I can’t recall why I left Santa Barbara de Heredia at 2pm (instead of earlier as I had hoped) but I bet it had something to with chores around the house. The drive down was a beautiful one with sunny weather and few slow trucks on the new Caldera Highway but I still managed to arrive a bit late for the meeting because I got a bit lost while searching for shorebirds near Carara. I knew I needed them if I was going to break 600 species recorded for 2010 but high tides foiled any and all attempts at waders. Well, all except for Double-striped Thick Knee but since I already had that bird and was looking for denizens of the mudflats and not a big-eyed weird-looking thing that stands around all day in the grass, it wasn’t the type of shorebird that I had in mind.

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At least I got pictures of the Double-striped Thick-Knee.

At the meeting, Johan Fernandez, guide extraordinaire and coordinator of the count was giving the down-low on teams and areas to be covered. I met my team members, three young Tico birders and the Larsens, a couple I had guided around Arenal, we made plans to meet at 5am, and then I drove over to the lodging in the Carara field house to claim my bed for the night.

The bed was comfortable enough and I thought I was being smart by choosing one under a ceiling fan but because a peculiar ticking noise was associated with the fan, even ear plugs couldn’t help me sleep. I suppose that excitement about the count and chatting with other birders makes it commonplace to do a CBC on little sleep but I could sure do without that tradition. Maybe next time I will just pitch my tent in the woods.

So, with heavy, determined eyes, I was up by 4:30 and ready to go by 4:50. The other team members who braved the field house got into my car and we drove over to the HQ to meet up with the Larsens at 5. Shortly thereafter, we discovered that we would have to hike over to our first part of the route, The River Trail or “Laguna Meandrica” instead of casually driving 5 minutes to the entrance. We had to hike along the highway because it was too dark to follow indistinct trails in the forest and our vehicles couldn’t be left at the parking area for the River Trail because there wasn’t anyone there to watch them (there have been break-ins at that site on several occasions when guards were not present).

Hiking the two or so kilometers to the trail entrance from the HQ resulted in a few bird species such as Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Great Egret, and Eastern Meadowlark (yes, the other side of the highway is sadly deforested) but our goal was the birdy Laguna Meandrica Trail and so we didn’t tarry along the way. It was a relief to get away from the morning traffic of the coastal highway and onto such a fantastic trail for birding. Riparian forest, second growth, primary rainforest, and an oxbow lake probably make this one of the birdiest trails in Costa Rica.

The birdy Laguna Meandrica trail at Carara National Park, Costa Rica.

As with many neotropical rainforests, our first birds on the trail were Common Pauraque quickly followed by Collared Forest-Falcon. Cocoa and Streak-headed Woodcreepers were next to be tallied but the dawn chorus was overall pretty quiet and low-key compared to 2008. Nevertheless, as we slowly made our way along the trail, other species of Carara’s rainforests were counted one by one; birds such as Chestnut-backed and Dusky Antbirds, Black-faced Antthrush, Slate-headed and Common Tody-Flycatchers, Northern Bentbill, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Long-billed Gnatwren, Rufous-breasted and Rufous and White Wrens, and much more. Rufous-tailed Jacamars called and things were coming along nicely when disaster suddenly struck! Well, it was a small disaster for me and the reason that you won’t see any images of birds other than the strange, big-eyed bird above. While pleasantly standing around and listening for birds, I was startled by the sound of my scope hitting the ground. Apparently, one of the legs of my tripod got tired of being extended, it folded up and the tripod fell over. Thankfully, my scope itself was OK but the head of the tripod broke in half! I could scarcely believe what had just happened but had to just keep counting the calling Black-hooded Antshrikes, twig-inspecting Plain Xenops, and chicky-tuck-tucking Summer Tanagers because unless you get tagged by a Fer-de-Lance, the CBC must go on!

I must admit that my enthusiasm for the count took just as hard a hit as the head of my tripod but the great birding helped me get over that in no time. One bird that soothed my feelings was one of our best for the day, Yellow-billed Cotinga! This species has become very rare at Carara and unfortunately, I wouldn’t even be surprised if it disappeared from the area because its population at Carara may have declined to a few pairs (!). We got the bird after spotting a few Chestnut-mandibled Toucans in a fruiting tree. As if on cue, just after mentioning that we should watch for cotingas in the same tree, a female Yellow-billed popped into view! Everyone on the team got looks at it and it may have been the only one for the count. Despite carefully scanning the foliage for a spot of shiny blue to find any hidden Turquoise Cotingas, we didn’t see any other frugivores and so continued onward to tick off flute-like Black-bellied Wrens, Pale-billed Woodpecker (via the double-knock), several more Lesser Greenlets and Chestnut-sided Warblers, and Turquoise-browed Motmot.

Stoically searching a banana leaf for hidden birds after the breaking of the tripod.

Upon nearing the oxbow lake, as is usual for this part of the trail, we recorded Orange-collared Manakin and counted yet another Wood Thrush and Northern Waterthrush before heading to our little spot for viewing the wetlands. We were surprised to find that the floods from this past October had cleared out a great deal of vegetation at the oxbow lake. This made several crocodiles of all sizes easily visible but kept the wading birds rather far away. They were still identifiable, however, and we quickly found most possible herons, Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Northern Jacana, Purple Gallinule, Anhinga, Prothonotary Warbler, and a few kingfishers (including American Pygmy). Of course because I couldn’t do any digiscoping, the pygmy kingfisher and then a Rufous-tailed Jacamar sat for long periods at eye level only twenty feet away. No images but still nice to see.

After substantially reducing much of our boxed lunches while sitting in the shade by the oxbow lake, it was off to explore the section of the trail that passes next to taller, more closed forest. By this time (it was 11 am), bird activity had gone waaaay down but we still got a few Riverside Wrens, and eventually hooked up with a mixed flock that gave us White-winged Becard. On our way back towards the road, Fiery-billed Aracari was recorded as was Long-tailed Manakin at the same fruiting fig but there were few other birds. Our biggest miss on this trail was Royal Flycatcher. To give an idea of how big of a miss this is, on other occasions, I have seen 6 to 7 individuals of this species literally hanging out right along the edge of or in vegetation that hangs above the trail! Such are the vagaries of tropical birding. In addition to the cotinga, one of our best finds was Ruddy Quail-Dove, a beautiful male that flew across the a stream bed and then sat still in the understory for perfect, prolonged views.

birding Costa Rica

The stream bed that held the quail-dove.

After doing the Laguna Meandrica trail for most of the morning, we trekked back along the highway to the HQ and picked up our only trogon of the day, a Black-headed that was perched on roadside wires. Trogons were another major miss. Slaty-tailed, a normally common bird at Carara, wasn’t recorded by a single team! I wonder of they went elsewhere in search of fruiting trees.

Our next major stop was the dry forest habitats found along the road known as “Guacimo” or “El Capulin”. Spishing brought out Rufous-capped Warbler, Nutting’s Flycatcher, lots of Yellow Warblers, Lesser Greenlets, and Philadelphia and Yellow-throated Vireos. We got our Plain Wren for the day in addition to Brown Jays, Blue Grosbeak, one female Painted Bunting, and Indigo Buntings. Down by the river, we were treated to very close looks at Scarlet Macaws that were feeding in short, beach almond trees, lots of Baltimore Orioles, Steely-vented Hummingbird, flocks of Ruddy Ground-Doves, and other common bird species of edge and open country habitats. We also got a few surprises though in the form of Giant Cowbird and Harris’ Hawk. The cowbird is more expected on the Caribbean Slope (where there are lots of the birds they parasitize-oropendolas) and the hawk is just really uncommon in Costa Rica. Our last bird of the day was a Plain-capped Starthroat that often hangs out at Erythrina flowers at the Cabinas La Vasija.

It was yet another productive, long day of birding at Carara and although I broke my tripod in the process, on a very bright note, Dan Fender (a birder friend of mine) has helped me fix it. We used some super strong epoxy glue that he brought down from the states and even though I treat the tripod head in a delicate manner, it appears to work for digiscoping. I hope to show some images taken with the mended tripod head in my next post!

birding lodges Christmas Counts Osa Peninsula Pacific slope

The 2010 Osa Christmas Count at the Bosque del Rio Tigre

I took a second class bus from the bowels of San Jose up and over Cerro de la Muerte (” mountain of death”) to the frontier-like southwestern lowlands of Costa Rica to get to my destination. It was ten hours on the bus, two of which involved slamming our way over a section of remote road that was seriously afflicted with potholes, but I finally reached my rendezvous with birding friend Dorothy MacKinnon just before nightfall. It was slightly too late to watch birds except for the Common Pauraques that flew off the road at our approach but still early enough to comfortably ford the river that runs just in front of our final waypoint, the Bosque del Rio Tigre Lodge.

Inside the lodge.

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We were there to participate in the Bosque del Rio Tigre sector of the Osa CBC organized by Karen Leavelle of the Friends of the Osa. Our gracious hosts were Liz Jones and Abraham Gallo, owners of one of the best birding lodges in Costa Rica, the Bosque del Rio Tigre lodge. They were as welcoming as always and eager to discuss count logistics. With just 11 participants, it was going to be impossible to cover the count circle to the extent of other Costa Rican counts such as La Selva or Carara but we would do our best with two small teams covering major habitats as well as one person staying back at the house to maintain the yard and feeder count.

I had heard a lot about the excellent cuisine of Bosque del Rio Tigre and the tuna steaks and garlic potatoes for dinner on the evening before the count certainly surpassed my expectations. As I savored that perfect meal, I thought that if the birds didn’t cooperate, at least dinner was probably worth the long bus ride!

As with all nights before a CBC in the tropics, I went to bed before nine to essentially get up in the night. Sure, 4:30 a.m. is only thirty minutes or so before the light of dawn begins to faintly illuminate the surroundings but it’s still nighttime in my book. Because it is pitch black outside, I always have this strong notion that I should be sleeping as opposed to feeling disoriented as I fumble around with my flashlight. 

Fortunately, I am able to make it to the washroom without knocking anything over or walking into a wall and fully wake myself up with cold water splashed on the face. Since I wisely prepared my gear the night before, I am ready to rock and roll in five minutes and head downstairs for coffee and banana bread.  As others come to the table, Liz apologizes for the fact that we aren’t having a proper breakfast and points out a variety of healthy snacks to keep us going until an early lunch. As we finish coffee and get ready to head off to our respective territories, the first birds of the day start to call. Someone heard Black and white Owl the night before so that is technically bird numero uno but the first for me is a Collared Forest-Falcon vocalizing from somewhere on the other side of the river. Getting a forest falcon at that crepuscular hour is pretty typical as is hearing woodcreepers and shortly thereafter sure enough, our next birds are a couple of dawn yodeling Cocoa and Northern Barred Woodcreepers. Another of our first calling birds is regular at the lodge but a new year bird for me- the tiny Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet.

Starting the count. Check out our slick, green 2010 Osa CBC tee-shirts.

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Just as everything seems to be starting to wake up and the light of day steadily grows, Liz, Dorothy, and I head up into the primary forest on the hillside behind the lodge on our way to an open area that overlooks a mix of pasture and forest. We quickly tick off forest species such as Black-faced Antthrush, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Scaly-throated Leaftosser (regular at the lodge), Golden-crowned Spadebill, Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Scarlet-rumped Cacique, and White-throated Shrike-Tanager. Dot-winged Antwren, Red-capped Manakin and Blue-black Grosbeak also get counted and just as we reach the horse trail that will take us to the open area, Gray-headed Kite calls from the canopy. In addition to its typical vocalization of steady, repeated notes, it also gives a strange rising call that momentarily tricks us because of its similarity to the calls of a young Spectacled Owl.

On up into the open area, we keep hearing new birds and actually see a few too now that it’s light out. The day is thankfully overcast but not so much to pour down rain and so we thankfully avoid getting roasted under the blazing, lowland sun. As we scan the treetops, Liz remarks how heavier rains than usual appear to have resulted in less fruit being available in the forest and so a number of frugivorous birds seem to have moved to lower lying areas in search of arboreal vittles. She says that because of this it’s kind of slow even though we have recorded 70 species by this time.

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While scanning the forest canopy, I find one of our best birds of the day perched in a tall, bare emergent. It’s not very close but the light colored underparts and dark head tells me this is something good and when it turns its head to reveal a raptor profile, yep(!) it’s a Tiny Hawk! My first for 2010 and always a good bird, the thrush-sized little forest raptor lets us watch it for a few minutes before flying across of field of view. In flight it looks a lot like a small Sharp-shinned Hawk.

We leave the open area after that and count more forest birds as we make our way down to the Crake Trail and eventually to edge habitats near the river. The Crake Trails gets its name from the Uniform Crakes that are regular there. We look for them but despite neither seeing nor hearing any, keep moving because we just can’t dedicate the whole day to seeing that elusive denizen of wet thickets. It’s around this time that we also hear a strange bird calling. I know it’s a parakeet species but nothing I am familiar with and so guess that it could be a Brown-throated Parakeet. I can barely believe my eyes when I then briefly spot a long-tailed parakeet hanging out with a much shorter-tailed and expected Orange-chinned Parakeet perched at the top of a riverside tree. The only other long-tailed parakeet species in the area is Crimson-fronted Parakeet but this bird was most definitely NOT one of those! They fly off before I can get more than a one second look and it’s not enough to clinch an ID but amazingly, we hear it calling again and are thrilled to see it fly right into perfect light and perch in full view for 5 or so seconds. The pale eye ring accompanied by brown cheeks and throat show that yes it is most certainly a Brown-throated Parakeet and we can hardly believe our luck at getting this new species for the lodge on the same day as the CBC.

As the sun comes out, we get several more raptors- King Vulture, White Hawk, Gray Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Double-toothed Kite, American Swallow-tailed Kite, and Black Hawk Eagle. With 14 raptor species recorded for the day, I am pretty sure it’s my best day for raptors in Costa Rica! After sightings of Great Antshrike, two becard species, and picking up more key birds of the low, thick stuff such as our only Black-bellied Wren of the day and Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher, we swing by a lagoon to get Neotropical Cormorant, Green Kingfisher, and Boat-billed and Yellow-crowned Night-Herons and get killer close looks at beautiful Marbled Wood-Quail before finally making it back to the lodge for lunch. After trudging around all morning in the uncomfortable yet requisite rubber boots, it’s a fantastic feeling to take that trying footwear off and sit down to yet another excellent meal. 

Me looking serious (probably dazed by the humidity) and Dorothy enjoying an apple.

birding Costa Rica

During lunch and some post lunch relaxation, the parakeet shows up again, this time with a brown-throated friend, and they amazingly perch in full view on a distant tree. As we watch those, it’s hard to decide where to look as a much prettier Turquoise Cotinga makes an appearance in the same tree and Little Tinamou and Blue Ground-Doves show up near the kitchen to eat rice thrown to the ground. Fruit feeders also attract quality bird species such as…

 the Costa Rican endemic, Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager,

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the mostly Costa Rican endemic Fiery-billed Aracari (they barely reach Panama),

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and two other mostly Costa Rican endemics, the Spot-crowned Euphonia, and

birding Costa Rica

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Golden-naped Woodpecker!

Although I kind of feel like just birding from a hammock for the rest of the day, as it would be blasphemous to shirk responsibilities on a CBC, I join the group in fording the river to walk through the village and hike up the Pizote River to make sure we don’t miss White-tipped Sicklebill. Birding is good (surprise, surprise) along the way and we record a bunch of usual edge and second growth suspects as well as Green Heron, Northern Jacana, Purple Gallinule, and White-throated Crake in roadside marshy spots.

The river walk is made challenging because we can’t see wear to put our feet in water made murky by the activities of gold miners (illegal) upriver. The sound of the rushing stream cancels out any and all bird calls which makes this segment of the CBC the least productive. There was gold at the end of the muddy rainbow however, as Abraham led us to roosting White-tipped Sicklebills! Another new one for the year, I hadn’t seen one of these crazy looking hummingbirds since I don’t know when so I guess the fear of slipping and drowning my camera in the brown stream was worth it!

birding Costa Rica

White-tipped Sicklebill thanks to Abraham Gallo of Bosque del Rio Tigre lodge.

A fitting way to end a fantastic day of birding, we counted up results before yet another perfect dinner and came up with 205 bird species! Our team alone wracked up 144 for the day and still saw a dozen or more species the following morning. It will be interesting to see how many I get on the Carara count two weeks from now.

We couldn’t count wooden birds but we got the real ones anyways (Turquoise Cotinga, Barird’s Trogon, and Orange-collared Manakin).

birding Costa Rica

Our team list for the day:

Little Tinamou
Neotropical Cormorant
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Boat-billed Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
King Vulture
White Hawk
Roadside Hawk
Collared Forest-Falcon
Yellow-headed Caracara
Gray -headed Kite
Tiny Hawk
Black Hawk-Eagle
Gray Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Double-toothed Kite
American Swallow-tailed Kite
Marbled Wood-Quail
White-throated Crake
Purple Gallinule
Gray-necked Wood-Rail
Northern Jacana
Pale-vented Pigeon
Short-billed Pigeon
Blue Ground Dove
Ruddy Ground-Dove
White-tipped Dove
Gray-chested Dove
Crimson-fronted Parakeet
Brown-throated Parakeet
Orange-chinned Parakeet
Brown-hooded Parrot
White-crowned Parrot
Mealy Parrot
Red-lored Parrot
Scarlet Macaw
Squirrel Cuckoo
White-collared Swift
Costa-Rican Swift
Bronzy Hermit
Long-billed Hermit
Stripe-throated Hermit
White-tipped Sicklebill
White-necked Jacobin
Blue-throated Goldentail
Charming Hummingbird
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Baird’s Trogon
Violaceous Trogon
Black-throated Trogon
Blue-crowned Motmot
Green Kingfisher
White-necked Puffbird
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Fiery-billed Aracari
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
Olivaceous Piculet
Red-crowned Woodpecker
Golden-naped Woodpecker
Lineated Woodpecker
Slaty Spinetail
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner
Plain Xenops
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Cocoa Woodcreeper
Black-striped Woodcreeper
Northern Barred Woodcreeper
Long-tailed Woodcreeper
Scaly-throated Leaftosser
Black-hooded Antshrike
Great Antshrike
Chestnut-backed Antbird
Dot-winged Antwren
Black-faced Antthrush
Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet
Yellow Tyrannulet
Yellow-bellied Elaenia
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
Paltry Tyrannulet
Northern Bentbill
Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher
Common Tody-Flycatcher
Yellow-olive Flycatcher
Golden-crowned Spadebill
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher
Wood pewee sp.
Tropical Pewee
Great Kiskadee
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Gray-capped Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Bright-rumped Attila
Rufous Piha
Rose-throated Becard
White-winged Becard
Masked Tityra
Black-crowned Tityra
Orange-collared Manakin
Red-capped Mankin
Turquoise Cotinga
Yellow-throated Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Tawny-crowned Greenlet
Lesser Greenlet
Gray-breasted Martin
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
Mangrove Swallow
Black-bellied Wren
Riverside Wren
House Wren
Scaly-breasted Wren
Long-billed Gnatwren
Tropical Gnatcatcher
Clay-colored Robin
Tennessee Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Mourning Warbler
Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager
Cherries´s Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Palm Tanager
Golden-hooded Tanager
White-throated Shrike-Tanager
Blue Dacnis
Blue-black Grasquit
Variable Seedeater
Thick-billed Seed-Finch
Orange-billed Sparrow
Black-striped Sparrow
Buff-throated Saltator
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Baltimore Oriole
Scarlet-rumped Cacique
Yellow-billed Cacique