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Costa Rica Caravan Tour Jan-Feb 11 (1 Viewer)

Jim Lundberg

Well-known member
My wife (not a birder) and I took a Caravan Tour of Costa Rica January 29 2011 – February 7 2011. We traveled a day early in case of airline delays. I spent the extra day birding the grounds at the Barcelo San Jose Palacio. I carried Garrigues’s The Birds of Costa Rica field guide. I checked many birding reports online before travel. The most helpful was Neil Whiting’s Caravan birding report from a month earlier.

http://www.surfbirds.com/Trip Reports/posts_by_user.php?id=1197

It was the only birding report I found that was based on a Caravan tour, so I will add another. A few things on the tour have changed, and of course, every trip is different, but otherwise I won’t repeat what I found in Neil’s report, unless it I feel it should be emphasized. I was lucky to find another avid birder on my tour, and so found more birds than I would have on my own. I wouldn’t expect to find many people on Caravan tours focused on birding.

At most destinations I found: Clay-colored Thrush, Inca Dove, Hoffman’s Woodpecker, Great-tailed Grackle, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Blue-grey Tanager, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Great Kiskadee, Tropical Kingbird, White-winged Dove, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird.

San Jose hotel grounds: Crimson-fronted parakeet, Baltimore Oriole, Yellow-tailed Oriole (out of normal range – perhaps released), Indigo Bunting, Greyish Salator, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Blue and White Sparrow, Blue-crowned Motmot, Brown Jay.

Poas Volcano: Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Sooty-capped Tanager, Yellow-thighed Finch, Mountain Robin. The best birding I found was in the picnic area in the lower parking lot.

Tortuguero : Northern Jacana, Ringed Kingfisher, Black-necked Stilt, Brown Pelican, Snowy Egret, White-ringed Flycatcher, Royal Tern, Great Green Macaw, Sumer Tanager, Kell-billed Toucan, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Variable Seedeater, Black-striped Sparrow, Montezuma Oropendula, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Golden-hooded Tanager, Red-lored Parrot, Mealy Parrot, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Common Tody Flycatcher, Bronzy Hermit, Great Egret, Semi-palmated Plover, Sanderling, Whimbrel, Spotted Sandpiper, Broad-winged Hawk, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Collared Aracari, Black-cowled Oriole, Magnificent Frigatebird, Sun Grebe, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Grey-necked Wood Rail, Osprey, Mangrove Swallow. I expect that the birding will be similar at both hotels that Caravan books here. I participated in both boat tours and picked up a few birds on the boat ride in and out also.

Enroute to La Fortuna including lunch stop: Red-breasted Blackbird, Stripe-throated Hermit, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Silver-throated Tanager, Common Ground Dove, Rufous Motmot, Olive-backed Euphonia.
La Fortuna: Ringed Kingfisher, Western Kingbird, Cattle Egret, Fasciated Tiger Heron, Northern Jacana, Passerini’s Tanager, House Wren, Variable Seedeater, White-collared Seedeater, Long-tailed Tyrant, Grey-capped Flycatcher, White-winged Becard, Yellow-faced Grassquit, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Collared Aracari, Barred Antshrike, Common Tody Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Tropical Pewee, Creested Guan, Groove-billed Ani, Pale-vented Dove,, Violaceous Trogon, Melodious Blackbird, Black-headed Salator, Chestnut-backed Antbird, White-tipped Dove, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Bananaquit, Squirrel Cuckoo, Laughing Falcon, Scrub Euphonia, Red-leeged Honeycreeper, Olive Tanager, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Paltry Tyrannulet, Yellow Tyrannulet, Green-breasted Mango. Here I skipped the bus ride to the boat tour at Cano Negro and the hot springs in town in order to bird around the hotel all day. Another birder took the Cano Negro trip, and found only Wood Storks in addition to what we had seen in Tortuguero. I’m not saying to do one or the other, but birding around the hotel worked out for me. Most of my birding here was just outside the hotel grounds – turn right out of the entrance gate onto a gravel road and explore the varied habitats in the dairy farm which is allowed for hotel guests. Also check the pond below the restaurant for the Tiger Heron in the early AM and bird the edges of the hotel property along the stream. Even with 4 periods of rain, this was the most productive birding day of the tour for me.

Arenal Hanging Bridges: Blue and Yellow Macaw (not native), Buff-rumped Warbler, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, White-tipped Dove.

Guanacaste: Orange-fronted Parakeet, Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Streak-backed Oriole, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, White-throated Magpie Jay, Yellow Warbler, Stripe-headed Sparrow, Brown-crested Flycatcher, White-lored Gnatcatcher, Blue-black Grassquit, White-necked Puffbird, Summer Tanager, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Western Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Royal Tern, Least Sandpiper, Semi-palmated Plover, Lesser Nighthawk, Squirrel Cuckoo, Roadside Hawk, Rufous-naped Wren, Groove-billed Ani, Blue Grosbeak, Painted Bunting, Crested Caracara, Yellow-headed Caracara, Black-headed trogon. I understand that the Caravan contract with the Marriott might not be renewed. If you do go to the Marriott ask where the plant nursery is (near the hotel) and bird the gravel roads in that area.

Tarcoles boat tour: Mangrove Swallow, Neotropical Cormorant, Osprey, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Amazon Kingfisher, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Yellow-headed Caracara, Rufous-naped Wren, Boat-billed Heron.
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