Sunday, February 10, 2019

2019 Costa Rica Journal - Day 6 - Savegre Natural Reserve

For our first morning at Savegre we had a bird walk scheduled with Marino.  Amazingly, Marino was our guide during our 2008 visit! His father was one of the original settlers in the Savegre Valley and he built the original Savegre Mountain Lodge.

We left at 5:30 a.m. when it was just getting light.  Our first stop was a few miles up the road to see the Resplendent Quetzal, a type of Trogon.  By the time we arrived in the viewing area there were over a hundred people waiting.  In 2008 when we saw the Quetzals they were within walking distance of the lodge, and there were only a few people there to see them.  That area was cut down and is now a hotel.  This new viewing area seems to be the "go-to" Quetzal destination for all the local lodges.

In spite of the crowds, we saw a few of these beautiful birds.

Resplendent Quetzal

The Quetzals didn't linger, so we walked the road, looking for other species. We had fantastic views of Golden-browed Chlorophonias feeding in a fruiting tree next to the road. Since the road was above the trees, we were actually looking down on this birds.

Golden-browed Chlorophonia

We also enjoyed good views of Black Guans, a high-elevation endemic in this area. 

Black Guan

After about an hour of birding we headed back to the hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast we headed back out with Marino.  He took us and another couple up one of the trails.

We saw plenty of birds, but with many of them being way up in the canopy, we got of lot of these kinds of pictures:

Collared Redstart

And this:

Flame-throated Warbler

Both the Collared Redstart and Flame-throated Warbler are high-elevation endemics, but they are smallish and like to stay way up in the trees. We quickly got "warbler neck", the sore neck that comes from looking straight up!

Another endemic, the Spangle-cheeked Tanager was kind enough to come down low, and even hang upside down for a bit.

Spangle-cheeked Tanager

We got very good looks at Northern Emerald Toucanets, the smallest member of the Toucan family. 

Northern Emerald Toucanet

We got to see members of some families that are similar to woodpeckers but found only in the tropics.

Ruddy Treerunner

Spot-crowned Woodcreepers

Another Collared Redstart came down and gave us a better view. 

Collared Redstart

And our final bird of the walk was a Barred Becard, which is a fairly difficult bird to find, let alone photograph. 

Barred Becard female

After lunch we had the afternoon to ourselves.  We relaxed and walked around the gardens.

We enjoyed watching a Slaty Flowerpiercer in action. These birds are referred to as "Nectar Thieves". Unlike hummingbirds that enter the flower the "correct" way, collecting and distributing pollen, flowerpiercers use their oddly shaped bill to poke a hole in the flower base, drinking the nectar from the base.

Slaty Flowerpiercer

In addition to the gardens, the hotel maintains a small feeding station that attracts some birds.

Baltimore Oriole

Flame-colored Tanager

Next time: Parque Nacional Los Quetzales and the paramo.


  1. Excellent photos, as always. I'm inspired to -- once again -- try to organize and cull our photos. It'll involve plenty of deletions...

    1. Yes! Step one is "Get rid of everything that I don't want to mess with further...".

  2. Wow. Great pictures. Thanks for the blog post.