Costa Rica – 1st stop, Sarapiqui

The first stop on our two week tour of Costa Rica was three nights at the excellently located bed & breakfast, run by the very friendly and knowledgable Alex, of Posada Andrea Cristina, located on the outskirts of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, central to the protected area of La Selva and close to the Nicaragua border. This is a great place to become acquainted with many of the common birds of Costa Rica as well as catching up with some of the specialities of the area, including Great Green Macaw, which can be seen flying over the property.

Alex’s garden is a great place to start your Costa Rican birding experience, with several interesting species coming to his feeders. This one is the electric blue male Green Honeycreeper

Seen on feeders at a roadside cafe in a nearby valley, this subtly marked female Red-headed Barbet

Also seen in the area, one of a huge variety of colourful tanagers – this one is Crimson-collared 

Just across the road from our bed & breakfast was a farm track leading to the river – home to many different species including Laughing Falcon

this Black-thighed Grosbeak

our first woodpecker species of the trip, Rufous-winged

this exquisitely marked Keel-billed Toucan and superficially similar Collared Aracari

This is a good area for hummingbirds including Green-breasted Mango – this is the more easily identifiable female

and the relatively straight-forward Violet Sabrewing

Found whilst birding close to the Nicaraguan border – a troop of Mantled Howler Monkey

An unexpected bonus, whilst staking out the Great Green Macaws, was this King Vulture – a target species for much later in our trip

Our next stop was in Orosi, on the Caribbean side of the central highlands – strategically located close to the excellent Tapanti National Park.

Splendid Resplendent!

I couldn’t resist the temptation, whilst the WiFi lasts out, to post todays top bird – Resplendent Quetzal! A pair, located on farmland 10k from the lodge, with the aid of Michael, our local guide. Words cannot capture the sheer splendour of the male. An overdue Costa Rica ‘tick’, after Bob and I missed out on our 2011 visit.

 

 

 

Costa Rica Update

We’ve already reached the half-way point in our Costa Rica adventure but, unfortunately, the WiFi hasn’t been good enough to post any news until now. We’re currently staying at the excellent Paraiso Quetzal Lodge, along Route 2 mountain road, at kilometre 70. The birding has been fabulous so far and today we’re off in pursuit of the holy grail of Costa Rican birding –  Resplendent Quetzal!

We left Gatwick last Thursday, having stayed over-night at the very convenient Bloc Hotel, situated inside the Terminal Two building. We flew direct with British Airways and, having arrived at San Jose and collected our 4WD from Thrifty, made our way to our first stop at Posada Andrea Christina Bed & Breakfast in Sarapiqui, close to the Salverde National Park. This is an excellent location for a general introduction to birding in Costa Rica, as well as home to the threatened Great Green Macaw. Alex, the proprietor, is an excellent and knowledgable host – breakfast on the terrace, over-looking the bird-feeders, with Three-toed Sloth hanging in the trees above, a memorable experience. Chalet Orosi, in the town of the same name, was our next destination, with the fabulous Tapanti National Park on the doorstep. The chalet providing a very homely base – Silvia an attentive hostess, with plenty of bird-life in the gardens to keep you amused. On our first day around the park it rained non-stop but we still managed to see plenty of birds during a prolonged coffee/lunch-stop at Kiri Lodge. Next week we head further south to the Panama border and then back north along the Pacific coast.

Here’s just a taste of Costa Rican birding, but more photos will have to wait until we’re back in the UK.

Slaty-tailed Trogon 

 

Broadland Bounty

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Adult Iceland, accompanied by a couple of Mediterranean Gull – Mautby 

I took a short trip outside the Bird Club boundary yesterday afternoon, in an attempt to add a couple of Norfolk year ticks to my list. At Mautby the Hooded Crow was elusive (luckily I had seen it well a few weeks previous) but the adult Iceland Gull did show itself eventually, albeit rather briefly. At Filby Broad the Red-necked Grebe was just about as far away as it was possible to get. I got equally distant views of a two Cranes at Brograve Levels, but at least they’re a pretty big target to search for. Walcot produced the usual collection of winter gulls, including a couple of colour-ringed individuals.

Colour-ringed Herring Gull, Walcot

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Dusky Maiden

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Female Dusky Thrush, Derbyshire – first 2017 tick

The first winter female Dusky Thrush at Beeley, Derbyshire, was my first British ‘tick’ of 2017 today – a long over-due twitch at that. It’s been one of those birds that, when it arrived, I couldn’t spare the time to go for it, but then as the weeks have gone by and it was still being reported, I worried that it would do a flit moments before I got there! Anyway I did decide to go and it, obligingly, decided to hang around. Giving reasonable but rather distant views. A lovely bird all the same, as was the superb ‘bonus bird’, in the shape of an immature White-billed Diver, on the River Witham, Lincolnshire, on the way home!

Immature White-billed Diver, Lincolnshire

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