Trip report: Costa Rica Custom Birding Tour (March 2021) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Fito Downs. This was a custom tour.

Costa Rica is always an example of a quality, phenomenal birdwatching experience. On our 14 day tour we covered almost all the popular birdwatching hotspots along with some lesser known areas in order to find a long list of target species.

This tour was a shorter version of the Comprehensive Costa Rica: Border to Border Tour (BwC), and we had enough flexibility to visit new areas when certain species required us to do so. This was a target species tour, and the final list did not disappoint us! We were also fortunate to have amazing weather conditions throughout the entire trip with only few hours of rain mostly by night, and only a few hours during daytime. We covered the rainforest, which even in the dry season can be rainy!

There were numerous highlights and I want to give a special mention to our time looking for the secretive Lesser Ground-Cuckoo near the town of Orotina in the lowlands of the pacific coast. We usually spend a long time trying to get this bird but not on that day. Shortly after we arrived at the stakeout, we had the bird in view, and not just any view but fully in the open! It left me no choice but to include this as the title photo for this report! Also, in the South Pacific lowlands we enjoyed very good views of the endangered Yellow-billed Cotinga, and a tree full of yellow flowers with 5 White-crested Coquettes in attendance, including two males. I had never seen this many in a single spot before. Moving into the foothills, we worked hard to get the elusive Rosy Thrush-Tanager in a couple of remote locations. On the same day, we got a male Turquoise Cotinga perched in the treetops following a rainy afternoon, an unforgettable moment. Going higher still, the impressive highlands of the Talamanca Mountain Range were hard to beat. We found many of our targets there, including a pair of the usually shy Spotted Wood-Quail walking right in front of us, a very vocal Dusky Nightjar, and also obtained excellent views of the always hard-to-see Wrenthrush. The Caribbean and northern lowlands were good, as always, and this is where we had roosting Great Potoo and Crested Owl, an amazing close up encounter with Middle-American Screech-Owl at night in La Selva, and also got views of a Slaty-breasted Tinamou, while our boat trip searching for displaying Nicaraguan Grackles was successful too. Last, but not least, Monteverde was our final destination. The hummingbird feeders were fantastic, and we saw a male Three-wattled Bellbird calling in the forest near our hotel and had unbelievable sightings of Black-breasted Wood-Quails.

Full TROPICAL BIRDING Costa Rica Custom Birding Tour Trip Report March 2021 (3.5 MB PDF file).