Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Monday 12th March 2012, 16:52   #1
Black Wheatear
Bowed but not broken, yet!
 
Black Wheatear's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Southern Spain
Posts: 946
Accosting Costa Rica...

TOUR: Costa Rica 2012

February 2nd to 16th 2012

Brief Daily Account

Author: Peter Jones

The tour trip report is posted on my blog in three parts and obviously easier to illustrate the trip report there. It was a fun packed group and we all enjoyed being in a superb country seeing such a wide variety of wildlife.

Illustrated Blog version for Days 1 to 7:
http://spanishnature.blogspot.com/20...rt-part-1.html

Illustrated Blog version for Days 8 to 15:
http://spanishnature.blogspot.com/20...part-2_11.html

Illustrated Blog version for a full species listing:
http://spanishnature.blogspot.com/20...rt-part-3.html

Introduction.

Pleasant climate, super food and wonderfully friendly people make visiting Costa Rica a real pleasure. However, as a tour leader working for Worldwide Birding Tours, then high on the priority list for making journeys with groups a success is diversity of habitats, stunning scenery and of course a wide variety of wildlife, not to mention the birds. A good variety to birdlife is what keeps fellow travellers involved each day and certainly Costa Rica never fails to deliver. We managed 417 species in our 2 weeks and heard another 24, so another successful visit and yet again a very happy group made the whole trip a memorable one.
On a personal note I managed 6 lifers and being well travelled that is no mean feat, so thanks to my pal Steven Easley for not only helping the life list, but for making my job so easy and relaxed. Steven is most probably the best birding guide in the country, so these journeys mean I can step back, listen and watch and be more like a guest enjoying the holiday, its another reason for me to always look forward to these tours.

Day One 2nd February

All of our party opted to spend the previous night at our hotel in San Jose and this enabled us to get an early start on our journey to the first destination Rancho Naturalista. Poor old Rancho has had a pretty rough press in previous years (not from us) and yet we have always felt it is an important place for us to visit. It offers many possibilities on various bird species hard or difficult to find elsewhere, also the upstair’s balcony is a wonderful place to down an early morning coffee whilst getting very close to hummers as they visit the impressive array of feeders. It is hard to remember any of our fellow travellers over the years not being impressed with Rancho. Now under a consistent and settled new management, I found even the staff had a smile on their faces this year. A few notable birds were seen on our journey and these included Crested Guan, Green Ibis, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Squirrel Cuckoo and at Rancho Mottled Owl, Blue-crowned Motmot and a host of other goodies including 11 species of hummingbird!

Day Two 3rd February

The balcony experience! Pre-breakfast coffee whilst being entertained by the many hummingbird species visiting the feeders on the upstair’s balcony was a reminder to me of why Rancho continues to thrill their guests and keeps many enthralled by the variety of birds also visiting the ground feeders. Some stars of the show were Collared Aracari and Keel-billed Toucan, whilst on our woodland trail I actually managed a lifer in the shape of Tawny-throated Leaftosser. Red-faced Spinetail and other great birds found their way onto an ever growing bird list, but another star turn for the group was discovered during our visit to the valley below Rancho, where we found Sunbittern on the river. Our visit at the base of Silent Mountain gave me another lifer! I’m not sure how it has evaded me on previous visits, but at last I caught-up with Tawny-crested Tanager, several birds were together in a mixed flock that included White-shouldered, White-lined, Summer, Golden-hooded and Black and Yellow Tanagers. Impressive day and to cap our return journey to the lodge we saw Common Pauraque.

Day Three 4th February

We had been fortunate with seeing 19 species of hummingbird at and around the areas of Rancho, with of course Snowcap and Garden Emerald attracting many an oooh and aaah, cameras went into overdrive and just about everybody were thrilled to digitally capture these beauties. Rancho operates a bug lamp and screen, so this morning we went to take a look around the lamping area. We were rewarded with the scarce Grey-crowned Yellowthroat and some great views of Red-throated Ant Tanager, a Golden-crowned Warbler flew around us searching for moths and other insects attracted to the screen. On our way out of the area we managed a few other species such as Yellow-faced Grassquit and a beautiful Olive-backed Euphonia. Our journey to Savegre was to include some stops along the way and one of these Cachi Dam produced some CR rarities including the first record of Canvas-back Duck and the rare Ring-necked Duck, later we stopped at the Lancaster Gardens and the lagoon close-by produced Southern Lapwing, American Coot, Northern Shoveler and other water birds. A superb birding day.

Day Four 5th February

After arriving the previous afternoon we managed some birding, but this morning we set-off to look around the local area for Resplendent Quetzal, the weather here was chilly and before leaving the lodge we saw Yellow-bellied Siskin and other local birds such as the ever present Scintillant Hummingbird, whilst Emerald Toucanet gave great views. Our local walk failed to produce a Quetzal, so we went for our drive to the high mountain area of Cerro de la Muerte and during a stop along the way we managed a female Quetzal and also the Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher. On our approach to the high mountains low cloud and rain hampered our efforts to find some local endemics, but after a hard slog we managed our target bird Volcano Junco and also saw Volcano Hummigbird. Our journey back was also improved by clearer weather and with the rain finally clearing we saw American Dipper and a real favourite of mine the Torrent Tyrannulet. Of course the area is rich in birdlife and we were anxious to find species we were unlikely to find elsewhere in Costa Rica, so it was a case of perseverance pays as we saw Spot-crowned Woodpecker, Mountain Elaenia, Tufted Flycatcher, Yellowish Flycatcher, Yellow-winged, Brown-capped and Philadelphia Vireo. The evening also gave views of Ochraceous Wren and Black-cheeked Warbler amongst a host of other species. Another super day’s birding.

Day Five 6th February

We ventured out before breakfast, braving the cold morning to yet again try for our Quetzal and yet again draw a blank. I have never found Resplendent Quetzal this hard here, apparently fruiting trees in the area had failed and this had caused the local population to disperse. We did locate a nest site where birds had been seen, but despite spending an age watching the site we never saw or heard a bird. Hard labour had its moments though with Collared Redstart following us around and we had great views of the beautiful Flame-throated Warbler. We decided to cut our loses and make our way to our next destination near La Selva, but not before a last throw of the dice by taking lunch at Paraiso Quetzal. Here we had always intended to stop, it is a good place to see Fiery-throated Hummingbird and a few other choice species such as Golden-browed Chlorophonia. An excited local guide greeted our group with the news of a pair of nesting Quetzals, so off the group traipsed being led by our newly acquired local guide, who was in constant contact with a colleague by mobile phone to say he had the birds in view! Well good news we found our targets and slumped to the ground in relief and took our time admiring this strangely beautiful bird.

Day Six 7th February

The previous day’s journey was a good and easy trip to our hotel near to the famous nature reserve at La Selva and as my old bones were a little chilled in Savegre, it was also good to get back to a warm temperature. The day was spent in and around the main reserve of La Selva. Here we were to see just so many species that it is hard to select which were stars of our day, but from a personal point of view, then Short-tailed Nighthawk and both Spot-fronted Swift and Rufous Motmot took some beating just for the close views we had, but Violaceous, Black-throated and Slaty-tailed Trogons were special. White-necked Puffbird together with Rufous-winged, Cinnamon and Chestnut-coloured Woodpeckers were another highlight, especially for me the Cinnamon Woodpecker. Our afternoon also proved a great success with a few target birds being found including Fasciated Antshrike and Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant. Star for the day? Well for a few members of the group it was Spectacled Owl with a youngster! Not enough space here to mention so many other great species, phew what a day!

Day Seven 8th February

A bit of a red letter day for me today, a kind of personal quest to track down a bird I had never managed before on previous visits. I had heard it, seen fleeting glimpses afar and silhouettes in the distance, but never a view that meant I could honestly say ‘yes’ I’ve seen it. What bird? Well the beautiful and very large Great Green Macaw of course! We found a breeding pair and were able to watch the male tenderly feed his mate and then saw them fly from the nest to feed on a nearby fruiting tree, then with surprising elegance return to the nesting tree, Peter was one very happy birder. Having arrived with high hopes to Braullio Carrillo National park, we were greeted by decending cloud and rain. Not that liquid sunshine could stop our band of intrepid birders, but it certainly dampened bird activity, so we made our way to the nearby Old Butterfly Garden. Here we managed a few hummingbird species and the highlights were Snowcap and the beautiful Black-crested Coquette. Bay Wren, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Plain-coloured Tanager, Nigaraguan and Thick-billed Seed Finch made our stop at El Tigre marsh a worthwhile interlude as we made our way back to our hotel, the weather here was sunny and hot!

Day Eight 9th February

We had a relaxed morning and a latish breakfast before we packed and headed for the track that took us through the wetland area known as Pangola Marsh. White-throated and Grey-breasted Crakes were seen and heard, whilst Purple Swamphen was skirting the fringes of the reedbeds. Lineated Woodpecker was hammering hard on the trunk of a nearby dead tree with Snowy and Great Egrets both wading in the open waters of the marsh. Overhead Double-tooth Kite were displaying and a Hook-billed Kite drifted by wondering what the other kites were getting so excited about. Olive-throated Parakeet skipped around in the nearby treetops and Ringed and Green Kingfisher dived from their overhanging perches to feed on an abundance of fishes. It was around here and La Selva where we saw Shiny Cowbird, a recent arrival to Costa Rica from southern parts of the continent. We eventually arrived at our lunch stop and shop around in La Fortuna, adding a few raptor and river birds to our tour list. The drive to our lodge was fruitful seeing Great Curassow, which we saw later under the feeders at the lodge, with an encounter of a very large flock of mixed warblers and tanagers, including Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Blue Dacnis and Silver-throated Tanager.

Day Nine 10th February

Early morning birding concentrated on the area immediately around our lodge, extensive forest and gardens with open areas made for some great bird sightings. Larger birds were putting in appearances such as Grey-headed Chachalaca (always sounds to me like a hot chocolate drink), Crested Guan and Great Curassow, with Swallow-tailed Kite and White Hawk overhead in good numbers. The undoubted star of the show for our morning’s effort was Black Hawk-Eagle, great views and caused a deal of excitement for all. Later we ventured down to the shores of Arenal Lake and with surrounding forest our species list was soon growing apace. Our visit to the shores began accompanied by the squawks and general racket of several parrot species, they always seem to sound angry, among these were Orange-chinned Parakeet, Brown-hooded, White-crowned, White-fronted and Red-lored Parrot. Violaceous Trogon showed well and didn’t really register to the group why it should now be called Gartered Trogon, but there you go, who knows why folk have to change familiar names? Most exciting for us all was to track down Keel-billed and Broad-billed Motmot, although a displaying Pale-billed Woodpecker gave stunning views!

Day Ten 11th February

Our day began with a short amble around the gardens of the lodge before taking an early breakfast in preparation for our visit to the famous Arenal Hanging Bridges. Your man here did the inexplicable thing of leaving his walking boots back in Spain, so the pathways proved particularly unforgiving on the soles of my feet, but the birdlife made-up for any discomfort. On our approach to the hanging bridges we managed King Vulture and a reasonable view of Laughing Falcon, whilst White-collared and Vaux’s Swift wheeled overhead, but we also managed our first sighting of Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift. Around the walkways we saw Dusky Antbird, Spotted Antbird and again Broad-billed Motmot. It is always good to visit this area as it normally produces single records of birds we might otherwise miss and so it was on this occasion with sightings of Slate-coloured Grosbeak and we also saw the elusive Northern-barred Woodpecker. Visiting the forest near to our lodgings and seeking an ant swarm we were lucky to happen on the feeding frenzy of antbirds as they accompanied the horde of army ants, these birds become totally obsessed with feeding and allowed excellent close viewing, we saw Immaculate, Spotted, bicoloured, Dusky and Ocellated Antbird, all at very close quarters, what a day!

Day Eleven 12th February

After a quick spot of birding around the grounds of the lodge, it was time for breakfast and prepare for our journey to Punta Leone on the Pacific Coast. I guess the last part of birding in the area was punctuated by a Slaty Spinetail plus the journey produced some interesting species such as Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, Great-crested Flycatcher and the beautiful Cinnamon Becard. Satiated by a bit of a slap-up lunch we headed to the coastal area and first port of call was around the tracks near to Orotina, here we saw several species and amongst our highlights were Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, also we saw lots of water birds in the area and on our journey to the area with Fasciated Tiger Heron being especially obliging. Our most productive time was spent driving along the Guacimo Road and stopping at various strategic places, here we managed superb views of so many species. Yes! I managed another lifer, the superb and beautiful Long-tailed Manakin, yet another that I would have expected to have seen on previous visits, but it had always eluded me. Zone-tailed Hawk cruised above us and Ferruginous Pygmy Owl gave great views near the roadside. For many of us seeing the wonderful Turquoise-browed Motmot was a real highlight of our day. So many more species, too many to mention! Another fantastic day.

Day Twelve 13th February

Before our breakfast we took a stroll along the avenues of our superb resort accommodation and were quickly rewarded by finding Pale-billed Woodpecker, Streak-chested Antpitta and the superb Orange-collared Manakin, in fact it was to be a bit of a Manakin day, but more about that later. No visit to this part of Costa Rica is complete without walking in the National Park of Carara, we planned 2 visits, one in the morning and then the figure of 8 circuit in the afternoon. The morning, a bit cooler although still very hot, produced some notable birds for our group and we soon had Costa Rican Swift, Blue-throated Goldentail, Slaty-tailed Trogon, White-whiskered Puffbird, Golden-naped Woodpecker, Tawny-winged Woodcreeper, Dot-winged and Chestnut-backed Antbird, so a very productive morning. The afternoon session was very hot under the high canopy of the virgin forest, but we had birds to see, places to visit, so the hardy group ventured on! It wasn’t long before we reached our preferred area, a drinking place for many prime species, to joy of one and all Red-capped and Blue-crowned Manakin were visiting to bath and also the snapping of the males punctuated their presence, wow what great birds. Again so many species on the day, what a country, what birds!

Day Thirteen 14th February

It was a slow start to our day, also quiet around the resort, although we did manage great views of both Baird’s and Black-throated Trogon, always super birds to see and such a wonderfully colourful family. I was particularly looking forward to the day as I enjoy a spot of seabird watching and seeing a few waders, something we had been missing with our visits to various forest and upland sites. An area always worth a visit is Guacalillo, both the approaches and the tidal basin. Here we were able to enjoy several gulls, terns and waders, with the surprise being Marbled Godwit and the Black Skimmer providing value to the scene. Grey Hawk and the common Black Hawk gave very close views, whilst a domestic dog chasing an Anteater down the road added a certain humour to the morning. The journey back produced another lifer and another which has eluded me on previous visits, the White-lored Gnatcatcher! The afternoon was the way all birding should be done when you reach as many years as me, a boat ride on the Tarcoles River, relaxed, balmy and a way to get up close to birds. Of course we added a host of species to our list, but seeing a Peregrine take a Hoffman’s Woodpecker as it attempted to cross the river gave spectacle and drama to the occasion!

Day Fourteen 15th February

Umm, another boat ride or go in search of some last many species? We decided to plum for the heights around Lajas for better views of King Vulture and perhaps other raptors. We only really had the morning to do birding as we were heading back to San Jose after lunch, so we took a relaxed morning viewing the valleys from the high mirador overlooking Cerros del Chiquero. It wasn’t long to wait before we were enjoying a few raptor species including Double-toothed Kite, White Hawk, Grey Hawk and of course the very common Black and Turkey Vultures, but no sign of our target the King Vulture. Packing away the scopes and somewhat deflated we made a slow decent and we had only gone a short distance when there high and directly above us was 2 King Vulture, they drifted closer and one bird gave super views, at last and feeling good about ourselves, we returned to the resort for lunch. Scarlet Macaw was around the lunch area and we watched White-faced Monkey and White-nosed Coati scrounge food from diners. Despite that empty feeling you get when the holiday draws to a close, our spirits were lifted by some excellent birds on our way to San Jose, these included Plain-capped Starthroat, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Yellow-crowned Euphonia and close views of Crimson-fronted Parakeet. However it was the end of our holiday, the hotel beckoned and it was time to wind down.

Day Fifteen 16th February

Our entire tour group had booked the optional extra night as a way of relaxing at the end of our journey around Costa Rica. The hotel we choose in San Jose is just perfect, super bedrooms, good food, friendly staff and wonderfully large and landscaped gardens, which of course attracts some good birds too! So all of us wound down from our tour, time to reflect on what a great birding tour it had been as you wandered around the leafy pathways in the gardens, spotting a White-eared Ground Sparrow or seeing the gloriously coloured Blue-crowned Motmot as you also pondered the flight home. A few of us managed a tour tick when we saw Rufous-capped Warbler flitting around in the tangle of climbing plants covering the garden boundary, so we may have been relaxing, but once a birder always a birder! I am looking forward to visiting this great destination again and can’t wait for February 2013.

I hope you enjoyed the read and if you got this far, then thanks for your indulgence!

Peter
__________________
Peter
www.spanishnature.com
If you look without seeing, if you listen without hearing, if you speak without thinking - you must be a politician!
Please support Andalucia Bird Society www.andaluciabirdsociety.com also follow http://twitter.com/spanish_nature
Black Wheatear is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 15th March 2012, 00:34   #2
Hamhed
Registered User
 
Hamhed's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Posts: 839
I'm suprised no one else has complimented you on this excellent report, Peter. Good work! Did the dump trucks try to run you over on Guacimo Road? :o Even so, worth a dusty breath or two for the Long-tailed Manakin!

Steve
Hamhed is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2014
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Thursday 15th March 2012, 06:06   #3
Birdingcraft
Registered User
 
Birdingcraft's Avatar

 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Costa Rica
Posts: 3,869
Nice report of a great trip! Yes, another tough year for quetzals in the Dota valley compared to past years. They have been showing up in fair numbers in places like Monteverde and Irazu though. Glad that pair showed up at Paraiso de Quetzales!
The Pangola marsh sounds great, I hope to check that out sometime.
__________________
Patrick O'Donnell
my blog about living and birding in Costa Rica:
http://birdingcraft.com/wordpress
Birdingcraft is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 16th March 2012, 18:49   #4
Black Wheatear
Bowed but not broken, yet!
 
Black Wheatear's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Southern Spain
Posts: 946
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamhed View Post
I'm suprised no one else has complimented you on this excellent report, Peter. Good work! Did the dump trucks try to run you over on Guacimo Road? :o Even so, worth a dusty breath or two for the Long-tailed Manakin!
Steve
Hi Steve, Very kind of you and thanks for the compliment. I must admit I am also surprised not many have read the report, perhaps Costa Rica is going out of fashion with folk on Birdforum? Strange.

Lol, no we didn't get choked by dump trucks on the Guacimo Road, but the state of the last section was pretty bad. Like you say it was so worth it, at least for me and the Long-tailed Manakin. Thanks again Steve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdingcraft View Post
Nice report of a great trip! Yes, another tough year for quetzals in the Dota valley compared to past years. They have been showing up in fair numbers in places like Monteverde and Irazu though. Glad that pair showed up at Paraiso de Quetzales!
The Pangola marsh sounds great, I hope to check that out sometime.
Thank you very much Patrick. We were certainly sweating on finding the Quetzales and what a big relief when we did... I really recommend the Pangola Marsh area, very interesting.

Peter
__________________
Peter
www.spanishnature.com
If you look without seeing, if you listen without hearing, if you speak without thinking - you must be a politician!
Please support Andalucia Bird Society www.andaluciabirdsociety.com also follow http://twitter.com/spanish_nature
Black Wheatear is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 19th March 2012, 13:17   #5
Stevie babe
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Warlingham, Surrey, UK
Posts: 418
Hi Blackwheatear

Very interesting report. We so love CR we have been several times. Your report has a number of species we have not yet seen but i guess there are so many there that you have to be in the right place at the right time.

One thing not mentioned that I'd be interested to know about is your flight experience. I presume you went on Iberia direct to SJ.

I am trying to organise flights for our own trip out (now less than 11 months away) but torn between BA / AA and Iberia Air.

The pros of Iberia Air is that it doesn't go via the crazy international transfers that we've experienced in Miami and should also arrive mid afternoon unlike BA/AA which has been mid to late evening for us. The downside is the reviews on the internet are not favourable and apparetly there is little in flight entertainment.

I'd be interested to hear your views on this.
Stevie babe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 20th March 2012, 00:25   #6
Steve Lister
World Birder, County Recorder and Garden Moth-er

 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Loughborough, Leicestershire
Posts: 3,538
Excellent precis Peter - but Purple Swamphen in CR ??

Steve
Steve Lister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 28th March 2012, 04:52   #7
wolfbirder
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Wolves
Posts: 4,217
Hi Peter

great report.

I fear a lot of birders (like me!) are still fixated with seeing things like Rock Thrush or Snowfinch before we can dream of such exotic birding locations.

Maybe one day.

Actually i do wonder if there has been a natural decline in interest in this sub section, maybe its been a victim of its own success.

Best wishes mate.
__________________
Nick Moss.
Fav Birds - Hen, Pallid & Monty Harrier, Gyrfalcon, Great Grey Owl, Saker, Hobby, Golden Eagle, Merlin, Monty, SE Owl, Pom Skua, Hawfinch, Wryneck, Redstart, Shrikes, Roller, Bee-eater's, Nightjar, Smew, GN & BT Diver, Spotted Redshank, Warblers (especially yank ones)!
wolfbirder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 28th March 2012, 14:48   #8
Birdingcraft
Registered User
 
Birdingcraft's Avatar

 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Costa Rica
Posts: 3,869
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie babe View Post
Hi Blackwheatear

Very interesting report. We so love CR we have been several times. Your report has a number of species we have not yet seen but i guess there are so many there that you have to be in the right place at the right time.

One thing not mentioned that I'd be interested to know about is your flight experience. I presume you went on Iberia direct to SJ.

I am trying to organise flights for our own trip out (now less than 11 months away) but torn between BA / AA and Iberia Air.

The pros of Iberia Air is that it doesn't go via the crazy international transfers that we've experienced in Miami and should also arrive mid afternoon unlike BA/AA which has been mid to late evening for us. The downside is the reviews on the internet are not favourable and apparetly there is little in flight entertainment.

I'd be interested to hear your views on this.
Although I havent taken Iberia Air, everyone I know who travels to and from Europe and Costa Rica definitely prefers this airline on account of it not making any stops in the USA.
__________________
Patrick O'Donnell
my blog about living and birding in Costa Rica:
http://birdingcraft.com/wordpress
Birdingcraft is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 28th March 2012, 15:42   #9
Jon Turner
Registered User
 
Jon Turner's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Devon, England
Posts: 2,787
I went last year via Madrid on Iberia. My friend on the same trip booked a couple of weeks later and had to fly via Houston. 4 hours of immigration later (for a transfer) he arrived, slightly frazzled. There was in- flight entertainment, but I could hardly see the screen! On the plus side, the trip was fabulous, the country amazing, and the birds well, 480+ species blew us away!
__________________
Jon
Jon Turner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 29th March 2012, 14:40   #10
Stevie babe
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Warlingham, Surrey, UK
Posts: 418
Jon
No doubt about the birds but terrific geology active as well as the scenery. As I mentioned we are looking at going for the 4th time. For actually getting there the best option we had was via First Choice / Thompsons 15 months ago. Gatwick direct to Liberia with a cheap upgrade to economy plus. I can only guess that the economic tide meant that this service has been stopped again.

This time however we are taking in the southern half of CR so we would have to go to San Jose anyway.

We were spoiled by the economy plus upgrade because it is a long long flight and the additional leg room (and service) was a bonus.

So to the current situation BA/AA pros we are told the BA part of the journey has an economy plus upgrade available. In flight entertainment is on the back of the seat in front of you and finally reasonable meals. The downside is latish arrival in San Jose and Miami immigration.

For Iberian Air the pros are it avoids US airspace and arrives at a reasonable time in San Jose. Also CTS who were our group tour organiser for the first time we went to Costa Rica have apparently switched from BA/AA to Iberian. The downside is there is no upgrade unless go to business class (too expensive) very early departure from UK (LHR), and in flight entertainment restricted to screens at various points in the aircraft. Also, according to some reviews in flight food not too good.

So we still have a dilemma.

Dilemma no 2 is getting to see 480 species on one trip
Stevie babe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 31st March 2012, 20:58   #11
Black Wheatear
Bowed but not broken, yet!
 
Black Wheatear's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Southern Spain
Posts: 946
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie babe View Post
Hi Blackwheatear
Very interesting report. We so love CR we have been several times. Your report has a number of species we have not yet seen but i guess there are so many there that you have to be in the right place at the right time.

One thing not mentioned that I'd be interested to know about is your flight experience. I presume you went on Iberia direct to SJ.

I am trying to organise flights for our own trip out (now less than 11 months away) but torn between BA / AA and Iberia Air.

The pros of Iberia Air is that it doesn't go via the crazy international transfers that we've experienced in Miami and should also arrive mid afternoon unlike BA/AA which has been mid to late evening for us. The downside is the reviews on the internet are not favourable and apparetly there is little in flight entertainment.
I'd be interested to hear your views on this.
Hi Steve, It amazes me the number of folk who choose to go via the US to save a few pounds. The hassle of immigration on the transfer is horrendous and easily worth the costs of doing the Iberia flight via Madrid. The arrival time too is so much better and a night spent at our hotel in San Jose with its great birding/plant garden made a worthwhile addition at the beginning and end of our tour. I think you will appreciate the flight times for arrival and departure and trust me you will not regret missing immigration in the US.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Lister View Post
Excellent precis Peter - but Purple Swamphen in CR ??
Steve
Lol Steve it was my idea of a little dig at our having to change our name, it sounds as revolting as Boghen! If you look at the systematic checklist of species seen, you will see the correct version. See here http://spanishnature.blogspot.com.es...rt-part-3.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfbirder View Post
Hi Peter
great report.

I fear a lot of birders (like me!) are still fixated with seeing things like Rock Thrush or Snowfinch before we can dream of such exotic birding locations.

Maybe one day.

Actually i do wonder if there has been a natural decline in interest in this sub section, maybe its been a victim of its own success.
Best wishes mate.
Thanks Nick. I know what you mean. It seems Ecuador holds trumps in the vicinity, but for me CR is an easy country to bird and certainly the closeness of different habitats makes for ease of logistics.

Thanks one and all,
Peter
__________________
Peter
www.spanishnature.com
If you look without seeing, if you listen without hearing, if you speak without thinking - you must be a politician!
Please support Andalucia Bird Society www.andaluciabirdsociety.com also follow http://twitter.com/spanish_nature
Black Wheatear is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Please ID Costa Rica LazDivaz Bird Identification Q&A 4 Monday 14th February 2011 00:35
Costa Rica Robert L Jarvis Information Wanted 9 Sunday 12th December 2010 01:28
The Best of Costa Rica Glenn Bartley Photo Critique 3 Thursday 21st October 2010 13:14
What's this?! Costa Rica jamesevry Bird Identification Q&A 6 Monday 13th September 2010 03:45
ID help please--Costa Rica luv2dive Bird Identification Q&A 5 Friday 9th July 2010 19:04

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.17099905 seconds with 20 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 02:56.