Highlands

 

 

Did anyone say volcanos?

 

"The Highlands of Costa Rica is here you will find some of the highest ones. This area includes the tallest peaks and mountains along the Cordilleras that divide Costa Rica from north to south, as well as, forming a barrier around the central valley from east to west."

 

 

Dota and Cerro de la Muerte

 

On another trip, Pat led 14 members on a trip to Dota and Cerro de la Muerte in search of the Resplendent Quetzál  in some of the highest areas in Costa Rica (almost 9,000'), about 50 miles south of San José, on a 3-day trip to the lodge Miriam's Quetzáls. The group traveled in cars through the area around Cerro de la Muerte and the valley of San Gerardo de Dota, stopping frequently to get out and put up the 'scope. Even the valleys in this area are around 5,000' above sea level. The group saw multiple female Quetzáls, but the lazy males were sleeping in, apparently.On Friday afternoon, they saw Yellow-thighed FinchFlame-colored Tanager, Slaty Flowerpiercer, and the beautiful little Volcano Hummingbird near the feeders at the restaurant.

On Saturday morning, they saw female Resplendent Quetzáls in the area near Trogon Lodge in the Dota valley along with Barred Becard and Emerald Toucanet.After a great breakfast back at the lodge, they headed up to the highest point in Costa Rica you can drive - Cerro de la Muerte. Rain cut the foray short, but not before they spotted a Timberline Wren. The rain lasted into the afternoon, but they saw White-throated Mountain Gem and Magnificent Hummingbird near the feeders and Peg-billed Finch and Green-fronted Lancebill near the cabinas. That night, they heard an Unspotted Saw-whet Owl.

On Sunday morning, they headed even lower down the road into the Dota Valley and walked on the Waterfall trail, where they saw Spangled-cheeked Tanager, Louisiana Waterthrush, Dark Peewee and the perfectly named Buffy Tuftedcheek. Then they ended with a great breakfast, the bird count, and on their way home.

 

 

 Bird List for Dota & Cerro de la Muerte 69 seen, 8 heard, for a total of 77 species.

 

 

Volcan Turrialba Lodge

 

Participants on the recent BCCR trip to Turrialba Lodge enjoyed close views of such highland hummingbird species as the stunning Fiery-throated and tiny Volcano Hummingbird, many Sooty-capped Bush Tanagers, and other high elevation birds in addition to great company and delicious bocas.
The weather also treated us very well and on the first day, we took advantage of that fact to walk the entrance road to the hotel. Our walk turned up nice views of Ruddy Treerunner, Yellow-thighed Finch, a distant perched Red-tailed Hawk, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, and other birds. Our best species, though, was seen right after making it back to the lodge when a wonderful male Resplendent Quetzal flew into a large tree for subsequent views through Susan’s scope.
That evening, after being entertained by the calls of Dusky Nightjars, we enjoyed a round of bocas, some people ate dinner at the lodge, and then we ventured into the dark night to look for the very rare Unspotted Saw-whet Owl. To make a long story short, we heard neither a peep nor had a glimpse of the Unspotted saw-whet, but did get fantastic, prolonged looks at a Bare-shanked Screech-Owl.
The next morning included birding on a trail near the lodge with very nice looks at Yellow-thighed and Large-footed Finches, as well as a host of small birds that came to a pygmy-owl call. One of those species was Lesser Goldfinch, a striking black and yellow bird that has become very rare in the mountains above the central valley. --Pat O’Donnell

 

 

 

 Bird list for Volcan Turrialba Lodge - 

31 seen, 4 heard, for a total of 35 species.

 

 

 

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