Birding in Northern Costa Rica, Part 4


On the morning of Day 7 we left Arenal for La Ensenada, which is located on the upper eastern shore of the Gulf of Nicoya. On the way, we passed through the town of Tilaran.

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At gas station in Tilaran

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Huge spreading acacia and cabins at La Ensenada

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Crepe ginger

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Baby viper on graveled path

 

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Gulf of Nicoya, view to the south, with Nicoya Peninsula to the right

Our first outing was a boat ride a short distance to the north, into the mangrove estuary that fringed the shoreline

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Semipalmated plover

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Brown pelicans, by Tom Petersen

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Local folks out for a Sunday boat ride

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Magnificent frigatebird

 

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same as above

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same as above

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Juvenile frigatebird, by Tom Petersen

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Low tide in the mangroves, with crabs covering the muddy surface

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Crabs

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Little blue heron

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Resident yellow warbler (aka Mangrove warbler), by Tom Petersen

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Osprey, by Tom Petersen

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Crocodile, on the rocks close to the landing

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Royal terns, by Tom Petersen

We next visited the salt pans.

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Black-crowned night heron (juv.)

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Short-billed dowitcher

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Yellow-crowned night heron

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Black-necked stilt

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same as above

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same as above

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Snowy egret and white ibis

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Snowy and great egrets, wood storks, immature white ibis (rear) and roseate spoonbill

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Roseate spoonbill and wood stork

In the late afternoon, we were taken on a ride through the wetlands that surround the lodge, on a wagon pulled by a tractor.

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Egrets and laguna, by Tom Petersen

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Common black hawk (aka Mangrove hawk), by Tom Petersen

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Mangrove hummingbird

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Frog

The tractor tour finished, at sunset, with a climb to the top of a nearby hill. The local version of a sunset rum cruise, we were treated to cold beers and pop.

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Gulf of Nicoya, view to the west, by Tom Petersen

On the grounds of the lodge.

In the open air dining area, white-chested magpie-jays had discovered a new eco-niche. They would take, from either the tables or a glass container, packets of sugar. See such a packet in the photo below.

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White-chested magpie-jay, with packet of sugar

The jays were, of course, very habituated to people, and would allow a close approach or approach us closely. This was, for me, a great pleasure, since they are such handsome birds!

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White-chested magpie-jay

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White-chested magpie-jay on sugar container

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Spot-breasted oriole

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same as above

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In Costa Rican usage, “Rabo de zorro” translates to “Squirrel tail”. A hummingbird and insect favorite, it is in the verbena family, and known as “porterweed” in English.

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Bee, on porterweed

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Rufous-tailed hummingbird

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Green-breasted mango hummingbird, by Tom Petersen

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Cinnamon hummingbird, by Tom Petersen

 

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Rufous-naped wren

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Turquoise-browed motmot

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Ferruginous pygmy owl

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Pacific screech owl

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same as above

We left La Ensenada on the morning of Day 9, and would be returned to San Jose that afternoon. But birding was not over! We saw this Stripe-headed sparrow on the drive out to the coastal road, onto which we turned south.

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Stripe-headed sparrow, by Tom Petersen

Our destination was the Rio Tarcoles area, where we hoped to see scarlet macaws. This area was the first stop on our last year’s southern trip, at which we did see those birds. But not this time.

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Scarlet macaw, seen in 2018

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Native tree next to teak plantation, Rio Tarcoles

Our last sighting was this Black-bellied whistling duck, after which we had lunch and headed uphill to San Jose.

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Black-bellied whistling duck

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Our last lunch on the road, Day 9

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Beach view

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Flag of Costa Rica

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Contributing photographer Tom Petersen, by Laurie Petersen

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Appendix

Kathy and I stayed an additional day, during which we visited the Jade Museum. While this museum did indeed exhibit jade artifacts, most exhibits had to do with the aboriginal inhabitants of Costa Rica.

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Feathered headdresses incorporate quetzal plumes and curassow tail feathers

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Painted ceramic

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Male figure

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Female ceramic figures

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Painting of painted woman

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Executing a prisoner

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Tableau

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Stone penis

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Tableau

Then, on our flight north over Nicaragua, we were treated to the sight of Lakes Nicaragua and Managua, along with a number of active volcanoes.

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Ready to pushback. San Jose.

The first volcano we sighted was Masaya.

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Masaya volcano

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Apoeque volcano, adjacent to Lake Managua

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Momotombo volcano, on the other side of Lake Managua

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San Cristobal volcano (?)

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Housing development under construction, Houston

We’re back (sigh).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Evensteven

I am a photographer and author, and live in Embudo, New Mexico, alongside the Rio Grande. I have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: The Grand: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447 I have also published six additional iBooks: 1. The Salt River: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-salt-river/id12449222822. 2. Coyote Buttes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/coyote-buttes/id1271773201 3. Four Cornered, the Land: https://books.apple.com/us/book/four-cornered/id1384038899 4. Four Cornered, The Rivers: https://books.apple.com/us/book/four-cornered-book-two-the-rivers/id1402287568 5. Rio Marañon: https://books.apple.com/us/book/four-cornered-book-two-the-rivers/id1402287568 6. Rio Grande: https://books.apple.com/us/book/rio-grande-new-mexico/id1469126321
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6 Responses to Birding in Northern Costa Rica, Part 4

  1. Sara Sealander says:

    Steve, I just had the pleasure of looking at parts 3 & 4—thanks so much for these photos and narration. Thanks also to Tom Petersen. You two made a beautiful record of the trip and I am so grateful. I’m glad that you and Kathy made it to the Jade Museum in San Jose. That place really impressed me, both for the collection and for the zippy 21st Century installation.

    Like

  2. tom petersen says:

    Cool Steve, great job, thanks for the female Mangrove Hummingbird, just could not get my P900 to focus on her

    Like

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