21 Feb Costa Rica Trip Dec. 2019- Jan. 2020
On the morning of January 9, 2020 it was the last day of my 25-day trip to Costa Rica. I went over Christmas with my family and did lots of birding! We visited Monteverde, Samara Beach and La Fortuna. This particular morning I woke up early and walked in the dark to the hotel next door to be picked up by Ramon and Gerald at 5:40 am for a 3-hour bird tour near La Fortuna. It had just stopped raining and I was hoping for good weather. It was amazing!! I was the only participant, though our driver was also interested so the three of us kept our eyes and ears ready. I saw about 65 bird species in 3 hours! My favorites were the Red-Legged Honeycreepers and the Green Honeycreeper. But I saw lots of AMAZING birds! Here is my list of birds on ebird: https://ebird.org/checklist/S63225038 for that morning!
We went for breakfast at the Oasis Eco Lodge where the restaurant staff put out fruit to attract birds. The birds came slowly at first but then in large groups! Honeycreepers, Saltators, Chachalacas, Great Crested Guans, Toucans and even a pair of Great Curassow which are about the size of our wild turkeys and just as impressive! After breakfast we drove to my guide’s house where we saw Parrots and Parakeets in his garden and a perched Great Black Hawk! We watched for birds on the drive too as we returned to the Oasis Eco lodge to walk the forest trails. One bird that stood out was the Broad-Billed Mot-Mot. A beautiful bird with 2 long tail feathers that end in blue spoon shapes.
We started our trip up in Monteverde in December where we rented a little house with a great garden and hiking trails right on the property. It was cozy and a good start to our trip to get the family in sync. I did a lot of birding in the trails and in our garden. The first birds I saw were Brown Jays and Masked Tityra on the first morning. Rebecca spotted another species of Mot-Mot and there were many Hummingbirds. The Lesser Violetear was the most common hummingbird, it made a “tic-toc” song. I went with a birding guide to the Curi-Cancha reserve while in Monteverde. It was both amazing and overwhelming since there were so many new species in one day! Overall in Monteverde I counted 39 species.
After Monteverde we drove down to our “second home”, Samara Beach! We rented a beautiful home with a pool near Buena Vista beach. There was a little cat that we called Percy that came and visited. Samara Beach is very hot and dry in December. We spent about 3 weeks in Samara so I really got to know the local birds. I saw Mot Mots, Trogons, Woodpeckers, Sandpipers, Herons, Ducks and more. One of my favourites was the Northern Jacana that just wadded around in the mash with its fancy yellow forehead and beak! I also enjoyed the squirrel cuckoo which is rather large and jumps around the branches like a squirrel. I went out for regular walks and always spotted a new species of bird in marshes, beaches or forests.
I’m looking forward to spring in Canada to get back into birding! During our winter there is much less variety and birds are pretty quiet in the cold weather. So, I usually concentrate on other interests like snowboarding and guitar, then get right back into it when the Robins come back around April 1st.