Tuesday 5 April 2022

Costa Rica - Day 4 – 16th March 2022

I was awoken in the night by a Pauraque serenading the dark from the little fence around our balcony.  The curtains were open and it was quite easy to carefully pop the torch on him for a short while. Somehow, I was able to nod back off with him still singing just ten feet away.  The Spectacled Owls were also heard just pre-dawn when the Crested Guans decided it was time to get up and started making the most awful din that sounded like someone strangling a herd of Canada Geese followed by much tree crashing after poor landing judgements!



Crested Guan

Our pre breakfast walk was back into the top part of the garden and upper jungle tracks and was quite successful with two showy Rufous Mourners that called to confirm their identity, both Toucans and good views of Dull Mantled Antbirds and tail waggling Buff-rumped Warblers. A distinctive ‘pluuip’ call just like a Ringed plover had me looking for a Mistletoe (formally Paltry) Tyrannulet and unlike in 2020 I actually got a good view this time.  An out of place Mountain Thrush showed well as it fed in the canopy and two Gartered Trogons were counter singing while Angie picked up our first high flying Chestnut Collared Swifts.  It was time for repast, and I wandered back with Nightingale and White Breasted Wood-Wrens for vocal company as well as the first Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and the big male Curassow once again.

An early morning White-necked Jacobin waiting for some warming rays

Rufous Mourner

Grey Headed Chachalaca

Great Curassow

Mistletoe Tyrannulet


Possibly Erycina cista-galli

Not sure if it is a funky Long Horn Beetle or a Bug instar



As I headed back to the room two Americans were enthusing about something. I ambled over and enquired. I was shown wonderful pictures of the Bare-necked Umbrellabird that had just dropped from view! I was torn and after a few minutes I had to go back to pack.

Ramon picked our bags up and I told him about the ‘Bird and I dashed back for another look before the rest of the crew reconvened on my position. We spread out to cover a few vantage points and thankfully I picked the bird up as it flew across a gap. Steve refound it perched up just a few minutes later and great views were had of this ‘crow’ with a black bouffant hair do.  A real bonus and proper smiles all round.  The first Collared Aracaris flew in and a pair of Pale-billed Woodpeckers were decimating a pine trunk.

Could we find it?

Yes we could! Bare-necked Umbrellabird

Pale-billed Woodpecker - Jim Willett

Pale-billed Woodpecker

Collared Aracari

We were now running a wee bit behind schedule but we had one hell of a quality bird in the bag!

The Bogarin Trail in La Fortuna was our delayed destination but we still needed to stop twice more to check out a fine White Hawk, some Vaux’s Swifts and a Ramon speciality, a Laughing Falcon perched up on top of a lone tree in a meadow with its oversized head and huge eyes.

Grey Hawk

Laughing Falcon

We were soon back in town but now only really had an hour to play with and a hasty tour was undertaken that began with the quite showy and vocal White-throated Crakes on the little stream before a quick succession of close Sloth encounters with both Brown Throated Three Toed and the cuter looking Hoffmann’s Two Toed.  Both species were seen with infants and poor Jacqui could barely conceal her excitement which was equally wondrous. 

Brown Throated Three Toed Sloth - so green

Hoffmann’s Two Toed Sloth - so speedy and you can even see the little moths that live in her fur!

Hoffmann’s Two Toed Sloth and Slothlet

A Yellow-throated Toucan was seen looking out of its termite mound nest up a tree and a grumpy looking Black & White Owl looked solemnly down on us or perhaps it was the snack sized baby Chachalaca nearby?  

Black & White Owl

Black & White Owl

Chachalacas and chick - far right

Yellow-throated Toucan

There were few small birds but floor watching produced a huge Bullet Ant, a small Anole, both Green and Brown Basilisks, Green Iguana and one each of Strawberry Blue Jeans and Black & Green Dart Frogs. Black-headed Saltators and a Piratic Flycatcher greeted us back at the bus and Dad saw a Grey Cowled Wood Rail.


Brown Basilisk

Brown Basilisk

Green Basilisk

presumably an immature Green Iguana

Black & Green Dart Frog

Strawberry Blue Jeans

Tiny red bananas

Black Headed Saltator

Blue Grey Tanager

Piratic Flycatcher

On again for a swing back around Arenal and up to Tenorio where we would be staying at the Celeste Mountain Lodge, a couple of miles down valley from the Hideaway of last time.  As usual there were roadside birds on the way with many Groove Billed Anis and Grey Chested Martins as well as Common and Ruddy Ground Doves and the usual flycatchers that included one or two Boat Billed. Morelet’s Seedeaters were noted in the verges and four Collared Aracaris flew across a field well away from any forest.  Swallow-tailed Kites cruised by and a single Eastern Meadowlark posed nicely for all to see from the bus.

Eastern Meadowlark

After a poorly timed disembarking deluge and a warm welcome and a quick bag drop it was time for lunch with panoramic views across the valley and up into the cloud covered slopes of Tenorio.  Every lodge has feeders and this one was no exception with a familiar suite of Tanagers, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Baltimore Orioles, Honeycreepers, Clay Coloureds, Euphonias and bigger Flycatchers in attendance. House Wrens and Variable Seedeaters fed in the gardens below and Vaux’s and Grey Rumped Swifts zoomed about in chittering flocks.

Open ended allowing the wildlife to move on through...

A quickly changing view

Crimson Collared Tanager - the sexes are the same it would appear

Crimson Collared Tanager 

Grey Capped Flycatcher

House Wren

Passerini's Scarlet Rumped Tanager 

Tropical Kingbird

Tropical Kingbird

Yellow-throated Euphonia

Both Vultures, Toucans and Grey Hawks distracted us during lunch and I could hear Manakins cracking in the forest behind while a Barred Antshrike was rattling below and dashed into the flower beds.

 Barred Antshrike

Keel-billed Toucan between showers

There was time for a look around before headed out for the afternoon walk and I found a stunning little pinkish Eye-lash Viper at just below eyelevel on one of the plants just off the walkway outside the rooms. Everyone I have seen so far has been a different colour.  I spread the word partly so that everyone (even beyond our group) would be aware of this potentially dangerous little reptile.

Eye-lash Viper 

I could hear Parrots and some Red-lored headed over but there were some high pitched ones too and when they appeared they were smaller and flashed red axillaries. They were Brown-headed Parrots and thankfully a couple landed and quite literally hung around for a while.  The Heliconias near the entrance were checked for the fabled White-tipped Sicklebill but not this time so we had a look at the Verbena down by the road where Violet-headed, Rufous Tailed, Scaly-breasted, Black-crested Coquette and Little Hermits were in attendance before crossing the road and venturing into the adjacent jungle gorge.

Brown-headed Parrot

Brown-headed Parrot

Serious caterpiller



A small flowered Begonia

A large flowered Begonia

Rufous Tailed HB

Rufous Tailed HB

As usual it was hard work with very little actually seen but there was a noisy gang of Carmiol’s Tanagers crashing through and we heard Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrants, Bentbill, Lesser Greenlet, White-breasted Wood-Wrens, Bright-rumped Attila and Lemon Meringues.  A beautiful but sad thrush-like song was thankfully tracked down to an actual Thrush and Pale Vented became another new bird and we found several feeding in a tree back up near the road which was also occupied by glaring Capuchins  Wedge-billed and Streak-headed Woodcreepers were both seen well and a large male Coatimundi clambered up a tree to forage.


Waiting and listening

Pale Vented Thrush

White-faced Capuchin

And just like the last time we walked through the jungle around this volcano, Ramon stopped me and pointed up to where a majestic Ornate Hawk-Eagle was sat in the sunshine drying out after the brief shower we had endured. It watched us below as it preened and ten minutes later silently slipped back into the forest.  So privileged to have had another such special encounter.  A spiral of Broad-winged Hawks was seen through the canopy.

Ornate Hawk-Eagle 

Back up at the Lodge, Martin discovered a young Boa Constrictor probably about 18 inches long, lying in wait in exactly the same species of plant as the little Eye-lash.  It pretended that we were not there as we snuck in for photos. 

Banded cat eyed snake - Leptodeira annulata - thanks to James Adams

Ruddy Ground Doves and Red-billed Pigeons were becoming more active as the light fell and both Hoffmann’s and Black-cheeked Woodpeckers were in the gardens where a Black-striped Sparrow was now singing. 

Hoffmann's Woodpecker


Red-billed Pigeon

Ruddy Ground Doves

Dad was sent to the room to study the bird book...

With an hour before dinner there was still time to have a look around and there was a rough meadow bordering the gardens which looked more natural.  Two Red-lored Parrots came in to the tree above us and a large streaky flycatcher felt odd and was in fact the more boldly marked Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. Variable Seedeaters were along the fence line, Clay Coloured Thrushes were clucking and whistling and the Yellow-throated Toucan pairs were counter-singing from stand alone trees as the sun dipped below the hills and the insects took over the audio shift.  Crested Guans were now silently poking around the lawns and the first Pauraque was already warming up for the night along with countless invisible Dink Frogs and some very deep voiced Cane Toads!

Red-lored Parrot

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher at some ridiculous ISO

We had a fabulous dinner and some frogging afterwards produced very little bar one moth so we called it a night.

I had trouble sleeping and for once the thrum of cicadas and rhythmic Pauraque did not lull me and with the addition of two distant Spectacled Owls it was well gone midnight before the body finally gave in.


New Birds: * = life tick ** = new to Costa Rica but previously seen elsewhere

14: Chestnut Collared Swift *

15: Bare-necked Umbrellabird *

16: Brown-headed Parrot *

17: Pale-vented Thrush *

18: Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher *

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