From March 6 to 13, 2010, I was in Costa Rica. Over the next week or so, I will be posting about my adventures.
Day 1: March 2, 2010
Upon landing in Costa Rica, the crew (which consisted of several ESU grad students, several PhD's, a few of their kids) headed through immigration and customs. At immigration, screens flashed photos of beautiful cloud forests and toucans. A few of the birders in the group, myself included, scanned through the airport windows for the first bird of the trip, which did not come until much later, when were were all in the van headed to the Caribbean side of the country.
That first bird was a Black Vulture, a very common bird in Costa Rica. Soon, we started seeing more birds along the road, including Turkey Vulture, Great-tailed Grackle, Tropical Kingbird, and egrets.
Along the way, we stopped at a restaurant called La Casa Doña Lela. The food was good, as was the birding. In a lot next to the building, we found several Rufous-collared Sparrows, a Red-billed Pigeon, and a "Southern" House Wren.
Our next stop was Parque Nacional Brauilo Carrillo. This huge national park consists of many great habitats, including the one we stopped at. Our stop was at about 500m up in the Caribbean foothills. This section of Braulio is usually cloudy and rainy, and this day was no exception. It poured the entire time we were there, limiting the number of birds we saw. Fortunately, the rain does allow some amazing things to grow in the forest. Several species of plants with leaves larger than me bordered the roads. The dense forest was filled with flowers, vines, and huge trees.
Despite the rain, two birds did make themselves visible. The first, a female Green Honeycreeper, foraged way up in a tree. The second bird, a Bay-headed Tanager, was feeding relatively low in a Cecropia tree. It stayed for a long time, allowing everyone in the group to get great views.
After leaving Braulio, we headed to our destination, Estación Biológica El Zota. The roads to El Zota are not the greatest, and a few times we wondered if the bridge was wide enough for the van, but we made it. We were dropped off at the intersection of two muddy roads, where the owner of El Zota met us. He took a small group of people with him in his SUV, while the rest of us walked part way. Along the walk, we saw several Common Pauraques in the road and heard lots of frogs along the muddy edges.
When we finally made it to El Zota, we ate dinner and before too long, headed off to bed.
March 6, 2010 list:
Rhinella marinus - Cane Toad
Hyla phlebodes - treefrog
Leptodactylus melanonotus - Black-backed Frog