Saturday, April 16, 2016

Costa Rica April 2-April 12

Bay headed Tanager, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Apr 7, 2016
Masked Tityra, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Apr 7, 2016
Dusky capped Flycatcher, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Apr 8, 2016
Golden hooded Tanager, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Apr 7, 2016
Variable Seedeater, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Apr 7, 2016
Black bellied Wren, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Apr 7, 2016
Violet headed Hummingbird on nest, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Apr 5, 2016
Gray necked Wood Rail, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Apr 4, 2016
Just back from another trip down to Costa Rica and once again it was relaxing and productive all at the same time. We spent the majority of our time at Rio Magnolia Lodge once again arriving there on April 2 and leaving midday on April 10. After Rio Magnolia Lodge we headed up the the Herradura area where we spent two nights before heading back home.

Once we arrived at Rio Magnolia Lodge we didn't leave the property for our entire stay and it was fantastic. The hundreds of acres at the lodge and the wide variety of habitats provided lots of birding opportunities. Despite this being our 9th trip down here I still managed to find not only new birds for my lodge list but life birds as well. Life birds found at the lodge included Northern Schiffornis, Costa Rican Brushfinch, Lesser Elaenia, Plain Antvireo and Ruddy Woodcreeper. We caught just the beginning of the rainy season with some short duration rain showers moving through on a few days.

Each day at the lodge featured at least some different birds as well as many species that were always around. Lots of northbound migrants around with good numbers of Swainson's Thrush, Scarlet Tanagers, Philadelphia and Red eyed Vireos, various flycatchers and warblers including Chestnut sided, Tennessee, Golden winged and Mourning Warblers. Lots of local nesting species with young birds around as well as others on nests or bringing food to nestlings. I spent most days covering the various trails and roads as well as some extended time just sitting and watching the birds move by. On Tuesday the 5th I covered just the area between the cottage and lodge (several hundred feet) and found 92 species over the course of the day. I decided to try to maximize my effort on Wednesday and finished the day with 127 species which seemed good to me. The next day I managed to turn up 131 species for the day without putting in the same effort as the previous day! Some days are just better than others for finding birds I guess. Overall for my time at the lodge I found 182 species with five of those being life birds and fourteen being new for me at the lodge bringing my total seen at the lodge over multiple trips to 251.

Tiyra, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Costa Rica, Apr 7, 2016
Snake, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Costa Rica, Apr 6, 2016
Also a decent amount of non bird life around with mammals including Three toed Sloths, a Tiyra and several bat species plus at least three species of snake including a Fer-De-Lance.
Turquoise browed Motmot, Tarcoles, Costa Rica, Apr 11, 2016
Royal Flycatcher, Carara NP, Costa Rica, Apr 11, 2016 (life bird #1200)
Great Tinamou, Carara NP, Costa Rica, Apr 11, 2016
Scarlet Macaws at nest, Carara NP, Costa Rica, Apr 11, 2016
Plain breasted Ground Dove, fields east of Jaco, Costa Rica, Apr 11, 2016
The last part of the trip involved a few nights further up the Pacific coast near Carara National Park. We had stayed one night in the same area on a previous trip but the guide I hired for that day never showed so we tried the area once again. The area is at the transition of the drier northern Pacific and the wetter southern Pacific and features a mix of birds from both areas.  We arrived at our lodging in the mid afternoon and I once again tried to confirm with the guide for a tour on the 11th but found out he was now unable to guide due to a 'stomach virus' but he knew someone else who could guide. This is the third time I have had a birding guide in Costa Rica cancel out due to a stomach illness which makes me think they need to take better care of themselves or get a new story to tell! In the end no harm done as I ended up with a great guide named Sergio Ulate, whom my original guide set up for me the previous day.  We started out the morning of the 11th visiting a few areas in Tarcoles including some mangrove areas as well as a portion of the river where I found three lifers. We then drove a bit north to Carara National Park where we spent over five hours covering several miles of forested habitat and found a great selection of birds (as well as mammals). I added an additional half a dozen lifers in the park including a Royal Flycatcher that became species #1200 for me. Also had my first Spider Monkeys and a so called 'ghost' bat plus very close looks at multiple Agouti's. By the time we finished up at Carara it was early afternoon so we broke for a quick lunch and then headed south to some large fields to the east of Jaco. The wide open areas at this location included a couple more new species and some great looks at them. The area also featured the largest concentrations of Crested Caracaras and Blue Grosbeaks I have ever seen.  I finished the day with eleven life birds and 123 species total.
Spider Monkeys, Carara NP, Costa Rica, Apr 11, 2016
Ghost Bat, Carara NP, Costa Rica, Apr 11, 2016
Also added a few new mammals on the last full day there with Spider Monkeys and a 'ghost' bat.

Overall the trip produced a total of 16 life birds bringing my list to 1202.  I found a total of 245 species on this trip and added 24 new species to my Costa Rica list bringing that total to 494.

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