Costa Rica Birding Trip Report
July 2-12, 2016
Day 3: Monday, July 4
Our second day in the Caribbean lowlands began early on the entrance road to La Selva Biological Station. Woodpeckers were active in the trees above us as dawn approached, including four species new for the trip: Rufous-winged, Chestnut-colored, Lineated and Pale-billed. Other birds encountered as we walked toward the station entrance included Bat Falcon, White-crowned Parrot, Bright-rumped Atilla, Masked Tityra, Olive-crowned Yellowthroat and Buff-rumped Warbler. A Little Tinamou was calling from somewhere in the surrounding forest.
Crested Guans, photo courtesy of David Schaffter
After breakfast at the station’s cafeteria, we were joined by one of the station’s local guides, who escorted us on a forest walk along one of the reserve’s paved trails. Near the footbridge at the trailhead, we discovered a family of Crested Guans. Other birds seen around the footbridge included White-collared and Gray-rumped Swift, Rufous-tailed Jacamar and Gray-capped Flycatcher. Central American Spider Monkeys were also seen near here, as was a Collared Peccary. Shortly after we began the walk, it began to rain and bird activity dropped precipitously. While we all huddled under a trail shelter, hoping for the rain to stop, sharp-eyed Bob spotted a bright yellow snake clinging to a tree trunk behind the shelter. It was a venomous Eyelash Pitviper! The snake never budged as many in the group snapped photos. Once the rains ended, we continued a bit farther down the trail; some in the group were lucky enough to see a pair of Great Curassow cross our path. Other birds spotted along the trail included Gray-cowled Wood-Rail (split from Gray-necked Wood-Rail), Rufous and Broad-billed Motmot, Mealy Parrot, Yellow Tyrannulet and Purple-throated Fruitcrow. Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher was a heard-only.
Eyelash Pitviper, photo courtesy of David Schaffter
Great Curassow, photo courtesy of Ted Center
After lunch at the station’s cafeteria, we explored another of the reserve’s paved trails, again accompanied by the local guide. Soon after we began our walk, we chanced upon a female Great Curassow prancing and preening beside the trail. The group enjoyed an extended performance, as the bird appeared unfazed by our presence. Among other species encountered on this very productive walk were Long-billed Hermit, Black-throated Trogon, Fasciated Antshrike, Dusky Antbird, Wedge-billed and Cocoa Woodcreeper, Plain Xenops, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Rufous Mourner, Cinnamon Becard, Black-throated and Stripe-breasted Wren, Dusky-faced Tanager, Orange-billed Sparrow, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Black-faced Grosbeak, Scarlet-rumped Cacique and Montezuma Oropendola. The local guide also took us slightly off-trail to view a group of tiny White Tent Bats snoozing under a leaf. We also saw White-throated Capuchin Monkeys along the trail.
Fasciated Antshrike, photo courtesy of Ted Center
Back at the lodge as the sun began to set, many in the group spent some down time on our balconies, relaxing as Neotropic Cormorants, egrets and herons (including two Boat-billed Herons) assembled at their evening roost in a pond adjacent to our rooms.
Boat-billed Heron, photo courtesy of Ted Center