Costa Rica 2020 march trip report

This year, we had two back-to-back Costa Rica tours . But unfortunately due to covid we had to cancel the April tour and postpone it to 2021.
After our welcome dinner and a brief talk about what to expect, we all got a good night’s sleep, excited for the days to come. After breakfast the next morning, we loaded our luggage onto our Coaster bus and began our 3.5-hour trip to our first lodge. We stopped at a local supermarket to pick up some drinks and snacks and any last-minute items needed. Our first two lodges are in the Caribbean Lowlands where it can be quite warm and humid. I always recommend picking up some Gatorade for the early part of our tour. In 2020 before the pandemic stopped all travels, we did 1 tour to Costa Rica right after our Ecuador tour in March. While our main targets were the Quetzals in flight, we had a myriad of other amazing tropical birds in our checklist. Here is a day by detailed report of how our tour unfolded.

Costa Rica

We arrived at our first lodge in the lowland rainforest area near the border of Nicaragua where we spent the next 3 nights. We reached around 3pm and had enough time for one afternoon session. The group was blessed with

The next morning, we started on the deck at 6 am and photographed the beautiful chestnut colored woodpecker alone with a multitude of other birds like the yellow throated toucan, collared aracari on a specially designed perch for bird photography.

tanagers, palm tanagers, black-cowled orioles, Baltimore orioles, red-legged honeycreepers, shining honeycreepers, and many more. Nesting in the tree behind us were two species of tityra and a pair of black-cheeked woodpeckers. There was always something happening throughout costa rica bird photo tours.

The 3 days were exteremely action packed and busy. We got really tired by the end of each day but at the same time each participant came back with a memory cards full of great images.

Next we traveled to the Sarapiqui area where spent 2 amazing days. Each morning we left early and would come back after a full day of photography. Lunch was at local restaurants where our participants got to enjoy the local cuisine after the birding sessions. On foot we ventured inside the forest and photographed trogons, motmots and manakins but our highlight was the incredible and tiny Honduran white bats

Next day we spent the morning at a private farm where we photographed 2 species of wild macaws – great green and scarlet macaws. We spend the entire morning in the area and after a while a large gang of capuchin monkeys also joined us. It was a lot of fun.

After lunch we visited a unique bird feeding station designed and built by a local bird guide. Some birds during costa rica bird photo tours we photographed here were 2 species of Oropendulas, 2 species of kingfishers, and at least a dozen hummingbirds and tanagers. We also did a quick multi flash setup for our group to photography hummingbirds in flight. It was amazing! However, the biggest surprise for the gang was the incredible White-tipped sicklebill which is one of the most difficult hummingbirds to see and photograph.

Next, we left our lowland lodges and headed for the foothills. The lodge sits at an elevation of 3,000 feet. After lunch, I set up the high-speed flash systems to capture hummingbirds frozen in flight. We rotated through our multi flash setups to ensure everyone has enough time to photograph. While the clients wrapped up proceedings and went for dinner our guiding team setup a multi flash system to photograph long tongued bats in flight. This is a truly unique experience and one of a kind where we photograph incredibly fast flying bats feeding from flowers. Our tour mentor ensures that every participant gets some amazing images from this session.

Our next stop was the highlands of costa rica where our prime target was the king of all birds the resplendent quezal. We spent 2 mornings photographing half a dozen males and females together and for some participants this was the best birding experience of their lives! At the end of each quetzal session we would head back to the lodge and enjoy a sumptuous breakfast followed by shooting hummingbirds in flight on the birding deck. The lodge gardens provide excellent opportunities for birders to spot highland species like the goldne browed chlorophonia , large footed finch, fiery throated humming bird, talamanca hummingbird and several other local specialties.

After 2 days we were done with another remarkable tour to costa rica and headed back to San Jose where we spend the night. Next morning our transport

In the afternoon we drove down to a lower altitude where we photographed fruit eating birds on a special feeder and were lucky to add species like the red headed barbet, blue throated toucanet, volcano hummingbird, and several others.

After 2 full days here we wrap up a very productive tour with over 100 species of birds in 10 days and head back to San Jose where our clients took their flights back to their homes.

Here is a complete list of all the birds we saw and photographed.

Higlands (paraíso quetzal Area)
1. Black Guan—-Chamaepetes unicolor
2. Talamanca Hummingbird—-Eugenes spectabilis
3. Fiery-throated Hummingbird—-Panterpe insignis
4. Volcano Hummingbird—-Selasphorusflammula
5. Stripe-tailed Hummingbird—-Eupherusaeximia
6. Lesser Violetear—-Colibri cyanotus
7. White-throated Mountain-gem-Lamporniscastaneoventris
8. Scintillant Hummingbird—-Selasphorus scintilla
9. Snowy-bellied Hummingbird—-Amaziliaedward
10. Turkey Vulture—-Cathartes aura
11. Resplendent Quetzal—-Pharomachrusmocinno
12. Acorn Woodpecker—-Melanerpes formicivorus
13. Hairy Woodpecker—-Dryobatesvillosus
14. Black-capped Flycatcher—-Empidonax atriceps
15. Black-billed Nightingale Thrush—-Catharusgracilirostris
16. Mountain Thrush—-Turdus plebejus
17. Clay-colored Thrush—-Turdus grayi
18. Sooty Thrush—-Turdus nigrescens
19. Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher—-Ptiliogonyscaudatus
20. Sooty-capped Chlorospingus—-Chlorospinguspileatus
21. Chestnut-capped Brushfinch—-Arremonbrunneinucha
22. Large-footed Finch—-Pezopetescapitalis
23. Yellow-thighed Brushfinch—-Atlapetes tibialis
24. Collared Redstart—-Myioborustorquatus
25. Flame-colored Tanager—-Piranga bidentata
26. Silver-throated Tanager—-Tangaraicterocephala
27. Slaty Flowerpiercer—-Diglossaplumbea
28. Rufous-collared Sparrow—-Zonotrichia capensis
29. White-napedBrushfinch—-Atlapetesalbinucha
30. Baltimore Oriole—-Icterus galbula
31. Tennessee Warbler—-Leiothlypis peregrina
Pacific lowlands and mangrove
32. Inca Dove—-Columbinainca
33. Common Ground Dove—-Columbinapasserina
34. White-tipped Dove—-Leptotilaverreauxi
35. White-winged Dove—-Zenaida asiatica
36. Groove-billed Ani—-Crotophagasulcirostris
37. Striped Cuckoo—-Taperanaevia
38. Squirrel Cuckoo—-Piayacayana
39. Rufous-tailed Hummingbird—-Amaziliatzacatl
40. Barn Owl—-Tyto alba
41. Pacific Screech-Owl—-Megascopscooperi
42. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl—-Glaucidium brasilianum
43. Black-headed Trogon—-Trogonmelanocephalus
44. Turquoise-browed Motmot—-Eumomotasuperciliosa
45. Hoffmann’s Woodpecker—-Melanerpes hoffmannii
46. Scarlet Macaw—-Ara macao
47. Streak-headed Woodcreeper—-Lepidocolaptessouleyetii
48. Long-tailed Manakin—-Chiroxiphia linearis
49. Common Tody-Flycatcher—-Todirostrum cinereum
50. Great Kiskadee—-Pitangussulphuratus
51. Streaked Flycatcher—-Myiodynastes maculatus
52. Tropical Kingbird—-Tyrannus melancholicus
53. House Wren—-Troglodytes aedon
54. Rufous-naped Wren—-Campylorhynchusrufinucha
55. Stripe-headed Sparrow—-Peucaearuficauda
56. Eastern Meadowlark—-Sturnella magna
57. Montezuma Oropendola—-Psarocoliusmontezuma
58. American Redstart—-Setophaga ruticilla
59. Yellow Warbler—-Setophaga petechia
60. Chestnut-sided Warbler—-Setophaga pensylvanica
61. Summer Tanager—-Piranga rubra
62. Rose-breasted Grosbeak—-Pheucticusludovicianus
63. Yellow-faced Grassquit—-Tiarisolivaceus
64. Wood Stork—-Mycteria americana
65. Great Egret—-Ardea alba
66. Snowy Egret—-Egrettathula
67. Bare-throated Tiger-Heron—-Tigrisoma mexicanum
68. Little Blue Heron—-Egrettacaerulea
69. Black-crowned Night-Heron—-Nycticoraxnycticorax
70. White Ibis—-Eudocimus albus
71. Mangrove Vireo—-Vireopallens
72. Red-legged Honeycreeper—-Cyanerpescyaneus
73. Buff-throated Saltator—-Saltator maximus
CaribeanFothills (Cinchona Area)
74. Green Hermit—-Phaethornis guy
75. Green Thorntail—-Discosuraconversii
76. Green-crowned Brilliant—-Heliodoxajacula
77. White-bellied Mountain-gem—-Lampornishemileucus
78. Violet Sabrewing—-Campylopterushemileucurus
79. Coppery-headed Emerald—-Elvira cupreiceps
80. Northern Emerald-Toucanet—-Aulacorhynchusprasinus
81. Bat Falcon—-Falco rufigularis
82. Common Chlorospingus—-Chlorospingusflavopectus
83. Buff-fronted Quail-Dove—-Zentrygoncostaricensis
Atlantic lowlands (Laguna Lagarto y Sarapiqui Area)
84. Muscovy Duck—-Cairinamoschata
85. Great Curassow—-Crax rubra
86. Red-billed Pigeon—-Patagioenasflavirostris
87. Scaly-breasted Hummingbird—-Phaeochroacuvierii
88. Rufescent Tiger-Heron—-Tigrisomalineatum
89. Green Heron—-Butoridesvirescens
90. Green Ibis—-Mesembrinibiscayennensis
91. King Vulture—-Sarcoramphus papa
92. Black Vulture—-Coragypsatratus
93. Turkey Vulture—-Cathartes aura
94. Yellow-throated Toucan—-Ramphastosambiguus
95. Keel-billed Toucan—-Ramphastossulfuratus
96. Chestnut-colored Woodpecker—-Celeuscastaneus
97. Crested Caracara—-Caracaracheriway
98. Orange-chinned Parakeet—-Brotogeris jugularis
99. Brown-hooded Parrot—-Pyriliahaematotis
100. Red-lored Parrot—-Amazona autumnalis
101. Great Green Macaw—-Ara ambiguus
102. Red-capped Manakin—-Ceratopipra mentalis
103. Masked Tityra—-Tityrasemifasciata
104. Cinnamon Becard—-Pachyramphuscinnamomeus
105. Social Flycatcher—-Myiozetetessimilis
106. Black-cowled Oriole—-Icterus prosthemelas
107. Blue-gray Tanager—-Thraupisepiscopus
108. Palm Tanager—-Thraupis palmarum
109. Golden-hooded Tanager—-Stilpnialarvata
110. Plain-colored Tanager—-Tangarainornata
111. Variable Seedeater—-Sporophila corvina
112. Morelet’s Seedeater—-Sporophilamorelleti
113. Pale-vented Pigeon—-Patagioenascayennensis
114. White-necked Jacobin—-Florisugamellivora
115. Long-billed Hermit—-Phaethornislongirostris
116. Stripe-throated Hermit—-Phaethornisstriigularis
117. Green-breasted Mango—-Anthracothoraxprevostii
118. Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer—-Chalyburaurochrysia
119. Crowned Woodnymph—-Thaluraniacolombica
120. Roadside Hawk—-Rupornismagnirostris
121. Central American Pygmy-Owl—-Glaucidium griseiceps
122. Spectacled Owl—-Pulsatrixperspicillata
123. Green Kingfisher—-Chloroceryle americana
124. Rufous-winged Woodpecker—-Piculus simplex
125. Chestnut-headed Oropendola—-Psarocoliuswagleri
126. Melodious Blackbird—-Dives dives
127. Great-tailed Grackle—-Quiscalus mexicanus
128. Crimson-collared Tanager—-Ramphocelussanguinolentus
129. Green Honeycreeper—-Cyanerpescyaneus
130. Bananaquit—-Coerebaflaveola
131. Grayish Saltator—-Saltatorcoerulescens
132. Russet-naped Wood-Rail—-Aramidesalbiventris
133. Orange-billed Sparrow—-Arremonaurantiirostris
134. Scarlet-rumped Tanager—-Ramphoceluspasserinii
135. Collared Aracari—-Pteroglossustorquatus
136. Black-cheeked Woodpecker—-Melanerpes pucherani
137. Olive-backed Euphonia—-Euphoniagouldi
138. Dusky-faced Tanager—-Mitrospinguscassinii
Mammals reptiles and amphibians
1. Coatie
2. Fer-de-lance (bothrops asper)
3. Hognosed Pit Viper (Porthidiumnasutum)
4. Mesoamerican Boa constrictor (Boa imperator)
5. Eyelash palm viper (Bothriechisschlegelii)
6. Annulated Tree Boa (Corallusannulatus)
7. Red-eyed tree frog (Agalychniscallidryas)
8. Green and black poison dart frog (Dendrobates auratus)
9. Strawberry poison-dart frog or blue jeans frog (Oophagapumilio)
10. Masked Tree Frog (Smiliscaphaeota)
11. Drab Treefrog (Smiliscasordida)

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