Northern Pacific Lowlands

 

 

 

 

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There are many beautiful beach areas along the Northern Pacific Lowlands and varied habitats more inland and on the Peninsula de Nicoya. 

Guanacaste is one of the most popular areas for tourists from Costa Rica and other countries. It is quickly being highly developed with new resorts and shopping areas. Here the beautiful half-moon beaches attract the many visitors.

The airport in Liberia brings tourists to the beach much more quickly than landing in San Jose.

Our birding club, however, doesn't look for the big resorts, but rather for areas that may be a bit more remote and where birding is the most abundant. 

 

 

Rio Gigantes

 

On one such adventure, seventeen members and a good selection of 4-wheel drive  vehicles loaded the ferry at Puntarenas and crossed into Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula on a trip to Rio Gigantes.

The expected Brown PelicansMagnificent FrigatebirdsLaughing Gulls, and plenty of Royal and Sandwich Terns joined them on the voyage. Hundreds of Black Terns, harassed by a passing Peregrine Falcon, and the odd Least Storm-Petrel joined them when they got out into deeper waters.

On the peninsula, they made their way over dirt roads to Rio Gigantes, where they walked through the mangroves to the shore where wintering shorebirds, including WhimbrelBlack-bellied PloverWillet, and Short-billed Dowitcherawaited them. They got good views of a Great Black-Hawk and Mangrove Cuckoo before settling in at the Hotel Bahia Gigante. They saw Howler Monkeys and heard Pacific Screech Owls after dinner.                                                                                                                  

The next morning, they saw Nicoya specialties, like Elegant Trogon and Yellow-naped Parrot, among the raucous and abundant White-throated Magpie-Jays. The bird diversity was great, as they saw tiny Slate-headed Tody-Flycatchers through Long-tailed Manakins to a migrant Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Late afternoon birds included Thicket TinamouFerruginous Pygmy-Owl and Lesser Nighthawk at dusk.

Before leaving on the 21st, most club members boarded two small boats and toured the 5+ small local islands in the morning, adding OspreyBrown BoobyNeotropic Cormorant, and Black-crowned Night Heron to their list.

 

 

 

In all, they saw 130 and heard 12 more, for a total of 142 species.

 

 

 

Palo Verde

 

Pat led 10 members and two of Robert's guests on a 3-day trip to the Palo Verde National Park in northwestern Costa Rica. February is a great time to visit the park because the dry season is when waters subside and birds flock to the park and its river basin.

Among the 105 species seen were Double-striped Thick-Knee, a Jabirufamily, and Limpkins. 12 more species were heard, for a total of 117 species identified. On their way out, the group was surrounded by about 80 Swainson's Hawks who were feasting on insects escaping from rice fields that were being burned.

And on the way home, the group saw thousands of Blue-winged Teal on a lake and at least two rare Cinnamon Teal.

 

 

 

105 Seen, 12 Heard for a Total of 117 Total Species

 



 

 

Diria National Park

 

Pat led 10 members to the Diria National Park in northwestern Costa Rica. One of the newest national parks in Costa Rica, it is located 9 km south of Santa Cruz in the province of Guanacaste in the central highlands of the Nicoya Peninsula. The 1st afternoon started off slowly, hearing Long-tailed Manakins (known locally as 'el Toledo') and later getting good looks at a Pale-billed Woodpecker. After dinner they saw a Mottled Owl very well.

On Saturday morning the group drove to higher elevations and saw an Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, which was a lifer for many in the group. After breakfast the group set off on the lower trail and saw plenty of Long-tailed Manakins this time and several saw a Royal Flycatcher. Those who could manage in the undergrowth also saw a Stub-tailed Spadebill. In the afternoon they stayed closer to the road and some saw a Thicket Tinamou. A Ferruginous Pigmy-Owl came in when Pat was calling to attract some small birds, but he didn't stay long.

On Sunday morning they went to the highest regions in the park and saw a Plain Chachalaca before returning to breakfast and compiling the bird list. 

 

 

 

Bird Count included105 seen and 8 heard, for a total of 113 species.

 


 

 

 

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