Costa Rica (2013)

PURA VIDA!   Costa Rica:   Carara National Park and Playa Hermosa

Cochlearius cochlearius

Boat-billed Heron
Carara National Park, Costa Rica

We were very fortunate and blessed to have been able to secure four (4) excellent birding guides for various ports of call on our Panama Canal Cruise (Celebrity Century).  Some ports of call were half-days (Mexico) and others were full days of birding (Costa Rica and Panama).   The birding adventures made this Cruise very memorable and the birding were the highlights of our trip.  Not only we were able to get off the beaten path and see the Natural Beauty of our ports of call, but we learned more about the areas we visited and gained a greater appreciation for the diversity of this wonderful world, known as Gaia.

Costa Rica!  a land of incredible beauty and life!  One of the most beautiful destinations that I have been to and we only had ONE day to explore at this Port of Call.   We were very blessed to have Berny Sanchez as our Guide for the day.  His passion for his home land, the wildlife, the diversity there of was undeniable.  He is a very kind young man who understood we were  new at “Birding” and he was very patient explaining what we saw and if we had any questions along the way, he was very thoughtful and generous with information about the areas we visited.   He also speaks excellent English and has a great sense of humour!

Berny met us just outside the Puntarenas dock area and we began heading towards Carara National Park.  My target species was the endangered Scarlet Macaw which is known to nest in this area.   And guess what?  the FIRST bird we saw was the BEAUTIFUL Scarlet Macaw in all its glory!   This was a roadside sighting – just before the famous Tarcoles Bridge (which beneath are many crocodiles!).   We arrived at Carara to find a two-toed sloth high up in a tree before the entrance to the Meandrica Lagoon Trail.   This trail was very good to walk (dried out from the previous rain season) and there was so much beauty within.   I cannot even pick a favourite bird that we saw – there were so many!  but a highlight was most definitely the Boat-billed Heron.   I had hoped very much to see one and we ended up seeing FIVE of them – roosted in the trees above the lagoon (further into the trail).  We spent approximately five (5) hours along the Meandrica Trail which was really great as it gave us time to find a few species that eluded us at the beginning of the trail – the Orange-collared Manakin begin one of them!

Gampsonyx swainsoniiPlaya Hermosa, Costa Rica

Pearl Kite
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica

From Carara, Berny suggested we venture south to Playa Hermosa.  He said we still had plenty of time to get there, view more birds and make it back to the ship on time.  We trusted his suggestion and off we went.  Well?  Playa Hermosa was quite the treat!   From the Northern Jacana to the Pearl Kite – there was so much to see and we so much appreciated the time Berny took to take us there.  Both sites were excellent for Birding, but also for the beauty and wildlife other than just birds 🙂

We really did have a fantastic trip and our Guide, Berny really made it a special day.

Visit Berny’s web site at:  http://www.manuelantonioparktour.com/#!berny/ck1j

Photos from our day can be viewed here:  http://ponyshots.smugmug.com/Travel/Panama-Canal-Cruise-2013/Costa-Rica

and finally our complete bird list from the trip can be viewed on eBird here:  http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S16482374 

or view our Summary of Birds below (74 species):

Bare-throated Tiger-Heron
Tricolored Heron
Boat-billed Heron
White Ibis
Pearl Kite
White-tailed Kite
Gray Hawk
Black-necked Stilt
Southern Lapwing
Northern Jacana
Sandwich Tern
Pale-vented Pigeon
Ruddy Ground-Dove
White-tipped Dove
Smooth-billed Ani
Groove-billed Ani
Stripe-throated Hermit
Purple-crowned Fairy
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Blue-throated Goldentail
Baird’s Trogon
Ringed Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Red-crowned Woodpecker
Crested Caracara
Yellow-headed Caracara
Scarlet Macaw
Barred Antshrike
Black-hooded Antshrike
Dot-winged Antwren
Chestnut-backed Antbird
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet
Northern Bentbill
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Gray-capped Flycatcher
Streaked Flycatcher
Piratic Flycatcher
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Orange-collared Manakin
Lesser Greenlet
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Mangrove Swallow
Barn Swallow
Northern Waterthrush
Tennessee Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blue-gray Tanager
Blue-black Grassquit
White-collared Seedeater
Yellow-bellied Seedeater
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