|# Excl Vagrants:||475|
|# Near Endemics:||46|
|Habitat: Gardens, secondary subtropical forest, primary subtropical forest|
ABOUT THE BIRDING
Wilson Botanical Gardens and Las Cruces Biological Station are the former private estate of Robert and Catherine Wilson. The beautiful gardens are planted with a myriad of native tropical plants and attract many specialty birds of southern Costa Rica. The biological station adjacent to the gardens is operated by the Organization for Tropical Studies, which also operates La Selva and Palo Verde Biological Stations further north. As such, visiting researchers and students are generally present and conducting studies on the site. Because of its location, the area is less frequently visited by birders than areas farther north.
Wilson Botanical Gardens is one of the few places in Costa Rica where one can see Crested Oropendolas, which recently invaded from neighboring Panama. It's also a fairly reliable place for seeing Turquoise Cotinga, though these birds move around a lot and are sometimes not present. Several interesting hummingbirds are attracted to feeders around the field station, including Charming Hummingbird and Snowy-bellied Emerald.
The Jaba Trail beginning in Wilson Botanical Gardens wends it's way through secondary forest to the Rio Jaba. Across the river is primary rainforest in the Las Cruces Reserve, which can be accessed only when accompanied by a guide. This trail as well as shorter trails through the gardens offer truly exceptional birding opportunities.
Nearby San Joaquin Wetlands afford some productive birding as well. The most sought-after species is the near endemic Chiriqui Yellowthroat, but the marsh is also home to a variety of other interesting birds such as Masked Duck and White-throated Crake.
LOCATION OF SITE
Wilson Botanical Gardens and the adjacent Las Cruces Reserve are located about 5 miles from San Vito in extreme southern Costa Rica, not far from the Panamanian border.