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SOUTHERN COSTA RICA BIRDING TOUR

Tour Description

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COSTA RICA
BIRDING TOUR
ANY TIME*

Duration:9 days, 8 nights
Group Size:2-8
Anytime Price:$2995
Group Price:$2695
Single Suppl:$200
Est #Species:273-325
Pace:Easy
Difficulty:Easy
* This tour is available for any dates of your choosing provided guide services and accommodations are available.

DAY 1 - ALAJUELA

International flights arrive in the afternoon or evening. Everyone gathers at the Hotel Aeropuerto, a 5-minute taxi ride from the international airport. Night in Alajuela.

DAY 2 - OROTINA & TARCOLES

Early departure for Orotina. Meet with local guide who has stakeouts for Lesser Ground-Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Spectacled Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, and Black-and-white Owl. Early in the season he may also have a site for the very difficult Rufous-necked Wood-Rail in the mangroves near Caldera. Also possible there is Mangrove Hummingbird. Look for White-throated Magpie-Jay, which is at the very southern end of its range around there. After arrival and check-in do some birding around the lodge. Likely species include Cinnamon Hummingbird, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Hoffmann's Woodpecker, Lesser Greenlet, Rufous-naped Wren, and Melodious Blackbird. Afternoon take a boat trip up the Tarcoles River. Likely species include Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Common Black-Hawk, Amazon Kingfisher, and Double-striped Thick-knee. Around the river mouth are Mangrove Hummingbird, Panama Flycatcher, Mangrove Vireo, and Mangrove Warbler, a color morph of the Yellow Warbler. Back at the lodge, Scarlet Macaws typically visit the gardens in late afternoon, offering close-up viewing. Night at Cerro Lodge.

DAY 3 - CARARA NATIONAL PARK & OSA PENINSULA

All morning bird Carara National Park. The park is in a transitional zone between northern and southern Pacific coastal areas and attracts a nice combination of northern and southern species. Bird the Laguna Meandrica trail through secondary forest paralleling the Tarcoles River. This trail is wide and fairly level, affording easy walking. Specialties typically seen along the trail include White-whiskered Puffbird, Baird's Trogon, Black-hooded Antshrike, Orange-collared Manakin, Rufous-naped Wren, Black-bellied Wren, Rufous-and-white Wren, Cherrie's Tanager, and Spot-crowned Euphonia. With luck one could also find Long-tailed Manakin and Rufous-breasted Wren. At the end of the trail are some ponds where roosting Boat-billed Herons are normally present in thick understory near the river. Also present sometimes are Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks. After lunch at the lodge, depart for Osa Peninsula. A stop near Quepos is a good place to find the very localized Spot-fronted Swift along with the more widely distributed Costa Rican Swift. Arrive at the lodge late afternoon. Check the feeders near the lodge for Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager, by far the best place in Costa Rica to view this normally quite secretive species. Night at Bosque del Rio Tigre.

DAY 4 - BOSQUE DEL RIO TIGRE

All day birding trails above the lodge. The trail goes up a ridgeline through good forest before reaching a jeep track used by locals and miners. Birds of note include Gray-chested Dove, Little Hermit, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Baird's Trogon, Gartered Trogon, Black-throated Trogon, White-whiskered Puffbird, Olivaceous Piculet, Golden-naped Woodpecker, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Pale-billed Woodpecker, Red-lored Parrot, Black-hooded Antshrike, Dot-winged Antbird, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Northern Royal-Flycatcher, Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher, Turquoise Cotinga, Orange-collared Manakin, Black-crowned Tityra, Masked Tityra, Flame-throated Warbler, and Black-striped Sparrow. Raptors such as Black Hawk-Eagle, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, and Tiny Hawk are possible. Back at the lodge, feeding stations outside the dining area typically attract Little Tinamou, Blue Ground-Dove, Cherrie's Tanager, and Orange-billed Sparrow in addition to Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager. Birds such as Band-tailed Barbthroat, Blue-throated Goldentail, Fiery-billed Aracari, Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet, Yellow Tyrannulet, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, and Green Shrike-Vireo can be seen around the lodge. Afternoon drive into the village of Tigre to look for Isthmian Wren. An optional uphill trail into Corcovado National Park outside town offers Ruddy Quail-Dove, Great Antshrike, Golden-crowned Spadebill, Rufous Piha, Red-capped Manakin, and White-throated Shrike-Tanager. At dusk, several Black-faced Antthrushes reliably come out to feed around the compost piles near the lodge.

DAY 5 - BOSQUE DEL RIO TIGRE

An optional early excursion a short distance up the trail above the lodge before dawn is likely to produce the quite elusive Gray-throated Leaftosser. After breakfast bird a different trail such as the one along the river near the lodge. Afternoon bird another trail into Corcovado National Park. This day offers a second chance for Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager in case they didn't appear at the feeders the previous day. It's also a day to look for species missed the prior day. Night at Bosque del Rio Tigre.

DAY 6 - RINCON & TALAMANCA HIGHLANDS

Depart early for the Rincon River, arriving by 6:30-7:00am. This site is the most reliable place to see Yellow-billed Cotingas, which perch in treetops and fly among the trees on either side of the bridge over the river in early morning. From there transfer to the Talamanca Highlands, stopping en route for birding and lunch. A visit to the antenna area atop Cerro de la Muerte should produce several high elevation specialties, notably Volcano Hummingbird, Timberline Wren, Peg-billed Finch, Sooty-capped Chlorospingus, Volcano Junco, and Large-footed Finch. After arrival and check-in, visit the lodge's new hummingbird gardens. Species likely there include Green-crowned Brilliant, Magnificent Hummingbird, Scintillant Hummingbird, and Gray-tailed Mountain-gem. Also likely is Slaty Flowerpiercer feeding among the flowers. Along the road, a stretch of flowers reliably attracts Stripe-tailed Hummingbird. Night at Savegre Mountain Lodge.

DAY 7 - SAN GERARDO DE DOTA

Morning drive high up the mountain behind the lodge and bird the trail going back down. Certainly the prime attraction is Resplendent Quetzal, often seen in the forest there. Other highland species of note include Spotted Wood-Quail, Ruddy Pigeon, Barred Parakeet, Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Streak-breasted Treehunter, Ruddy Treerunner, Mountain Elaenia, Yellow-winged Vireo, Black-faced Solitaire, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Black-cheeked Warbler, Wrenthrush, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Peg-billed Finch, and Flame-colored Tanager. The afternoon will be devoted to looking for Resplendent Quetzal along a section of the road where it is usually seen if it wasn't seen earlier. Alternatively, if it is still present along the River Trail, bird there instead. Night at Savegre Mountain Lodge.

DAY 8 - SAN GERARDO DE DOTA & SAN JOSE

Many of the same species are possible so the plan will depend on results from the previous day. Optionally, do a very early departure and excursion to Paraiso Quetzales, where they have a program for getting good views of quetzals on a local finca. Alternatively, bird the river trail if not done the previous day. At least stop at Paraiso Quetzales for a snack and to view hummingbirds coming in to feeders. This site is the best place to see Fiery-throated Hummingbird, a high elevation species not normally present in the valley. Transfer back to Alajuela, arriving by late afternoon. Night at Hotel Aeropuerto.

DAY 9 - END OF TOUR

Tour ends with breakfast at the hotel. International flights home.

ADDITIONAL INFO
(Not on Menu Above)

BIRDING LOCALES

 

Lesser Ground-Cuckoo - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager - © Laura L Fellows and Exotic Birding Tours Volcano Junco - © Laura L Fellows and Exotic Birding Tours Resplendent Quetzal - © Laura L Fellows and Exotic Birding Tours