Highlands

 

 

Did anyone say volcanos?

 

The Highlands of Costa Rica is where 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.

 

 

 

 

Locos por el Bosque

 

Pat led 15 members to Monserrat Coronado, about an hour NE of San José, where they saw Crimson-fronted Parakeets perched atop the spires of the town’s colossal Gothic church on the way to their destination, the Locos por el Bosque Biological Reserve.

The road out of town was unpaved, rocky, and wild, but the habitat was bird-perfect. As they approached the reserve, they saw the expanses of Braulio Carrillo National Park off to their left.While climbing, they heard Sooty-capped Chlorospingus, Gray-breasted Wood Wren, Nightingale-Thrush, & Black-faced Solitaire. 

When they reached the end of the road, they were at the entrance to Locos por el Bosque (literally, "Crazies for the Forest"), a private reserve at 1,700 meters altitude where they hooked up with their local guide, Pablo, and took off on foot. They saw Yellow-thighed Finch, Black-and-Yellow Silky Flycatcher, Common Chlorospingus, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Western Wood-Peewee, Dark Peewee, Yellow-bellied Siskin and Spangled-Cheek Tanagers before stopping for a hearty tipico breakfast served by the reserve staff.

Then they climbed a dirt road where they spotted Blackburnian, Black-cheeked, Flame-throated, Wilson’s and Three-striped Warblers. Pat informed them that the Three-striped will soon be split off as a unique species and re-named Costa Rica Warbler. They saw an Ornate-Hawk Eagle circling overhead and admired a Black-thighed Grosbeak. Going down a recently-cleared path, they spotted Red-faced Spinetail, Streak-breasted Treehunter, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Hairy Woodpecker and Brown-billed Scythebill. They had good looks at Collared Trogon, male and female, and a glimpse of a female Resplendent Quetzal.

A few lucky birders also saw Back-and-White Becard. Pat coaxed in a Slivery-fronted Tapaculo and topped off their list with excellent looks at a Buffy Tuftedcheek. The group thanked Johan for discovering Locos por el Bosque and Xavier for organizing one of the most pleasant and productive day-outings ever.

 

 

 

The final tally was 

50 seen and 12 heard for a

total of 62 species.

 

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