Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Day 5 - 2017 Costa Rica Journal

We arranged for a private guide (Armando) to take us to the Carara National Park.  Armando is a delightful young man that knows his forest birds!

Carara National Park is a 4700 hectare protected area.  The elevations range from 328 to 1640 feet.  It is regenerating tropical lowland rainforest and tropical dry forest.  Carara is the Huetar Indian word for crocodile.

As soon as we get out of the car Armando is spotting birds!
Rufous-naped Wren
We enjoyed seeing a Turquoise-browed Motmot perched on a wire in the parking area.  This is a species of Motmot that we've not seen previously in our Central American Trips.
Turquoise-browed Motmot
Also spotted in the parking area was this Ctenosaur (aka Black Iguana) that had taken up residence in the drain pipe of an old building slab. We didn't think it was real at first!
The trails are well maintained which makes it easy to look for birds and walk at the same time!
Trail intersections were marked by these cute carvings.

We saw plenty of birds on our 6 hour trip but the Scarlet Macaw was our favorite.
Scarlet Macaw
In addition to some flying birds, Armando showed us this mated pair at a nest site.
Scarlet Macaw mated pair
We saw many different birds tucked away in the deepest, darkest parts of the forest. They were tough to see, but Mark did a great job getting bird pictures in the dark undergrowth! This little Streak-chested Antpitta is no bigger than a can of soda, and stayed on the forest floor. But his constant singing gave him away!
Streak-chested Antpitta
Another species in the antbird family was this Chestnut-backed Antbird. It was a little more cooperative.
Chestnut-backed Antbird
One group of tropical rainforest birds that we look forward to seeing are the trogans. On this walk we got great looks at both a male and female Black-throated Trogan. As is always the case with trogans, the male is more colorful than the female.
Black-throated Trogan male
Black-throated Trogan female
Other rainforest species on our walk were woodcreepers and puffbirds.
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
White-whiskered Puffbird
Armando mentioned that he has some other birding places and even some “secret” hotspots that only he knows about.  We make arrangements for him to take us out again the next morning.

We head in for lunch and relax the rest of the day.

Next time:  Day 6:  Mangroves and more great birding!

Birds seen at Carara National Park:

Great Tinamou
Bare-throated Tiger Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Short-billed Pigeon
Ruddy Ground-Dove
White-tipped Dove
Gray-chested Dove
Squirrel Cuckoo
Band-tailed Barbthroat
Long-billed Hermit
Stripe-throated Hermit
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird
Crowned Woodnymph
Steely-vented Hummingbird
Blue-throated Goldentail
Gartered Trogon
Black-throated Trogon
Lesson’s Motmot
Turquoise-browed Motmot
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Yellow-throated Toucan
Pale-billed Woodpecker
Brown-hooded Parrot (heard)
Scarlet Macaw
Black-hooded Antshrike
Slaty Antwren
Dot-winged Antwren
Chestnut-backed Antbird
Streak-chested Antpitta
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Cocoa Woodcreeper
Plain Xenops
Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet
Greenish Elaenia
Northern Bentbill (heard)
Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher
Eye-ringed Flatbill
Yellow-olive Flycatcher
Stub-tailed Spadebill
Golden-crowned Spadebill
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Streaked Flycatcher
Rufous piha
Blue-crowned Manakin
Red-capped Manakin
Rose-throated Becard
Tawny-crowned Greenlet
Lesser Greenlet
Rufous-napped Wren
Riverside Wren
Tropical Gnatcatcher
Black and White Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Buff-rumped Warbler
White-shouldered Tanager
Red-legged Honeycreeper
Orange-billed Sparrow
Summer Tanager
Baltimore Oriole
Mantled Howler Monkey
Central American Aguoti
Black Iguana


  1. That is quite a list. People are excited about Trogans here too.

  2. This is fun, touring through blog.