Saturday, June 7, 2008

Costa Rica - WOW!

I (along with 2 friends) just got back from Costa Rica last night and the entire trip could easily be summed up to one word… WOW! Our trip wasn’t all that long, 4 days actually, 2 of which were dedicated entirely to birding. These two days produced 84 new life birds, along with a few others that are common here in Indiana. Some of these new birds left me almost breathless! The most frustrating part of the entire trip is that you don’t always get to focus on and appreciate each bird because just as you begin to look at one bird, here comes another! However, to a birder, this would be good problem to have.

We hired Carlos Jimenez ( to lead our birding adventure to both the Palo Verde Wetlands and the Rainforest in Bijagua at Heliconias Lodge ( - two completely different eco-systems that provided two distinctly different types of Birds. Carlos proved his value at the sighting of the first bird. He was 100% accurate with every sighting and with all of the birds we saw, there is no way we could have done it with out him! If you plan to go to the Guanacaste Region, I would recommend you request his services!

Some, but not nearly all of the highlight of our trip included a great sighting of a group of approx. 6 Scarlet Macaws, Boat-billed Heron, Laughing Falcon, Bi-colored Antbird, Ocellated Antbird, Spotted Antbird, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan and White-fronted Nunbird. A huge highlight for me (since I LOVE Hummingbirds) was sightings of Steely-vented Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Black-crested Coquette, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Green-breasted Mango, and White-necked Jacobin.

Along the trail in the Rainforest, we also encountered two venomous snakes (both on the trail) a Jumping Pitviper and an Eyelash Pitviper. My friend John jumped about 6 feet in the air when he realized he had a large Tarantula next to his feet! Crocodiles, Howler Monkey’s, White-faced Monkey’s, Bats, Frogs, Toads, a Sea Snake, Orchids, etc. were also all welcome additions to the trip! No doubt I plan to go back! You can look at some of my pictures by going to:

Although the trip went way to fast, I was still happy to get back home. As a welcome home present as my family and I were walking a local park I spotted about 19 species in about an hour including two more lifers – a Great-crested Flycatcher and a flock of Cedar Waxwings. The excitement never stops!

In summary… my life list had a great week – a nice jump to 203!

Indiana State Bird

Indiana State Bird
Northern Cardinal