Costa Rica Birding – Part 2 December 2014

Days 3 and 4 in Costa Rica were occupied by travelling to Rancho Naturalista in the Tuis-Turrialba region of the Talamanca Mountains.  The staff, headed by birder extra-ordinaire, Harry, welcomed us and we were quickly seeing many Hummingbirds attracted to the lodge by feeders and observable at very close range.

Hummingbirds seen included three new life birds for me, Green-breasted Mangoes, Snowcaps and Red-footed (the new name is Bronzy-tailed) Plumeleteers.  Others present, many in substantial numbers, included Green Hermits, Little Hermits, Violet Sabrewings, White-necked Jacobins, Green Thorntails, and Violet-crowned Woodnymphs.


Other hummingbirds found at Rancho Naturalist were Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds, Green-crowned Brilliants, and Purple-crowned Fairies (12 species in all).  Aren’t the names amusing?  And often very descriptive.  The hummingbirds were definitely the highlight at Rancho Naturalista.

My first sighting of a Snowcap (a hummingbird) occurred as dusk was descending soon after our arrival, and three of us followed Harry into the even darker woods where we looked down into a deep ravine with a number of small pools.  As we watched from above, both a male and a female Snowcap came to bathe in the pools, dipping in and out like dragonflies.  Another excellent sighting at the pools was a very cooperative Tawny-throated Leaftosser, which kept us entertained with its bathing forays into the shallow pools.  Darkness finally forced us to return to the lodge for a delicious dinner, (especially the dessert) served family style to the 8 or 9 guests.

The feeders outside the lodge attacted many lovely birds including both species of Tourcans and this Collared Aracari. 


Early in the morning of our departure day, we walked to a large canvas that was stretched between some trees and lit with bright lights during the pre-dawn hours, attracting hordes of moths and other insects, which, in turn brought in a good number of forest birds looking for an easy meal.  These included a couple of new birds for me:  Plain-brown Woodcreepers, and Tawny-chested Flycatchers.

Rancho Naturalista produced a total of 73 bird species, of which 10 were new to me.  On the way to our next Lodge on the morning of Day 5 of our trip, we stopped at Mirador Quetzales.  This was a stop both for lunch and to hike the mountains in the area for a couple of hours, primarily for the purpose of seeing a Resplendent Quetzal, just in case we were to miss them at our next lodge, La Selva, where sightings are generally more predictable. The hike was taxing and did not produce a Quetzal although we did see a good number of other birds.

We arrived in mid-afternoon at Savegre and we were pleased and surprised at the beauty of the gardens and general setting.  Part 3 of my Costa Rica report will describe our excellent experience at this lovely facility.




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