Thursday, February 6, 2014


After having thoroughly enjoyed a week in Costa Rica last winter I couldn't resist going back.  After being a part of a large Sarett tour last year I arranged an 8 person tour through Costa Rica Gateway.  We had a great time.

It was a bit of an adventure getting there; the night before we were to leave I-94 was closed to the east of me.  The entirely of South Bend, including the airport, was shut down to the South of me.  Luckily O'Hare lay to the west and I drove there not long after the kids went to bed in negative temperatures.  I ended up dozing in the airport for several hours.  The upshot was that the early flights allowed arrival in the very early afternoon, which meant one thing.  Birds.

As with last year we started in the Hotel Bougainvillea, a beautifully landscaped motel that provides an introduction to some of the common birds, starting with the National bird of Costa Rica (wait for it ... yes brought to you by the same creative minds that came up with Michigan's state bird when a unique revenue-producing alternative was so so easy), the Clay-colored Robin (or Thrush as is apparently more politically correct)
Not Quetzal or Scarlet Macaw, or even a Motmot?  A dingy relatively uniformly brown bird.  It made no sense other than that our guide Vernon mentioned that they typically become very vocal when it's time to plant crops so they're apparently recognized by the workers.  And why wouldn't you choose your official bird to be one that heralds work?

Two very common flycatchers were present, Tropical Kingbird, which didn't have much in the way of relatives,

as well as Great Kiskadee (whose cousins the Boat-billed and Social Flycatchers both were present in the garden, along with 3 or 4 more over the course of the trip)

Almost all of the hummingbirds present (with the exception of a young Ruby-throated) were Rufous-tailed.  It was too easy to just look at the tail or body shape and snap-call them Rufous-taileds here; from the front Scaly-breasted, Steely-vented, to some extent Charming, and to a lesser extent Goldentail, look quite similar.  More study early in the trip of this common species would have made ID of the less common species later much easier.

White-winged Dove was common about the city, though they petered out at least in the areas we went to

Hoffman's Woodpecker is the representative zebra-backed woodpecker.  We found a pair attending a cavity.  The female has just the yellow nape but lacks the color to the cap or lore.

Not all the birds on the grass were Clay-colored Thrushes though, at least a couple times they were Blue-crowned Motmots that had flown down from their perch after some bug or another.  Last year this was the last bird of the trip for me, this year looping into the other half of the country we saw them basically every day we weren't in the highlands.


 I should be updating much more regularly now that I have a boatload of material...



1 comment:

Jerry said...

Terrific report, Matt. Love that Motmot!