Trip report: Costa Rica, The Introtour Group 1 (Feb 2018) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Fito Downs. This was a set departure tour.

Our Costa Rica Introtour took place during early February 2018. This time of the year is quite busy for travelers from all over the world visiting this always wonderful and amazingly diverse Central America country, but it is also one of the best times of the year to see some of the local rarities and specialties.

With more than 40% of the country officially protected under different categories like Biological Reserves, Wildlife Refuges and National Parks Costa Rica host some of the finest birding areas of all Latin America. As you move through the country you can see and feel a respect for nature, and notice how locals care about their environment. This world-wide reputation makes the travelers to come over and over again.

This country has so much to offer, from lowland rainforest in the Northeast, to the high elevation mountains at ten thousand feet above sea level, to the magical transition areas of the central pacific slope. Not to mention the very pleasant weather at the cloudforest of Monteverde and spectacular sunsets over the Gulf of Nicoya.

We were especially lucky with a huge number of 23 hummingbird species (including gems like Snowcap, Black-crested Coquette and Magenta-throated Woodstar), just in 9 days! In addition to the hummingbirds we found 2 species of the always hard-to-see quail-doves and 2 species of wood-quails. And, we will never forget the Double-toothed Kite following the troop of Capuchin Monkeys at La Selva Biological Station.

We visited fantastic birding spots during our tour such as the renowned La Selva Biological Station where we enjoyed displaying males of the lovely White-collared Manakins right at the main building area. We also saw another local star here; Snowy Cotinga (male) seen many times perched right up in the bare trees of the main entrance road.

As our tour continued we went to the Talamanca Mountain Range also known as Cerro de la Muerte (mountain of death) due the very cold weather that early settlers unexpectedly encountered as they travelled through the region. We visited the charming town of San Gerardo, located right along the Savegre River, consider one of the cleanest rivers in the country. Here we got the glamorous Resplendent Quetzal.

During our time in the central Pacific slope of the country, we were delighted with large flocks of Scarlet Macaws going to their roosting sites at the mangrove forest near Tarcoles River. The trails of Carara National Park provided a good quantity of regional endemics like Black-hooded Antshrike and we also enjoyed a very tame Great Tinamou (our second one of the trip) along the main trail of the park. The boat tour was always wonderful with birds everywhere. Tons of herons were spotted there, including Boat-billed Heron.

The area of Monteverde was unusually very sunny and “hot” compared to what I am used to. But, we managed to see most of our target species there. Curi-cancha Reserve was great, with some local rarities such as Magenta-throated Woodstar at the verbena flower in the forest clearings. We also got our second Resplendent Quetzal in the wild avocado trees. The Monteverde Reserve was really nice and peaceful in the afternoon (since most tourists go there in the morning) and we encountered some mixed species flocks and a very cooperative Black Guan eating some fruits near the main trail. Read the full report by clicking the link below.

Read the full TROPICAL BIRDING Costa Rica The Introtour Trip Report (PDF format; 4 MB size file).