I led a trip to Costa Rica for New Jersey Audubon from February 2 - 13, 2019.  I've lost track of how many trips I've led to this delightful little Central American country, it must be 40 or more.  The trip started at Hotel Bougainvillea in the central valley, and then headed south into the Talamanca Mountains, staying at El Toucanet Lodge.  From there we traveled to La Cusinga on the central Pacific coast, then to Cerro Lodge, further north on the country's west coast and in the transition zone between Pacific rainforest and the tropical dry forest further north.  Our last destination was La Isla, a pleasant small lodge in the Caribbean lowlands.  As a group we tallied 384 species of birds, but the number of wonderful moments was much higher.  Here are just a few highlights.     


At Toucanet Lodge, the namesake Northern Emerald-Toucanet greeted us shortly after our arrival.

Gardens at the Hotel Bougainvillea are great for birding.  L to r, Red-billed Pigeon, Tropical Kingbird, Lesson's Motmot.

Spotted Wood-Quail (left) and Flame-colored Tanager are also common right around the lodge.

Collared Trogon

Resplendent Quetzals occur in these mountains, finding them is always a high priority.

We traveled high into the mountains.

Birds of the highlands, l to r: Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, White-winged Tanager

Heading south, we stopped for lunch and birds at Talari.  Among the tanagers here, l to r: Bay-headed, Scarlet-rumped, and Speckled.

At our next lodge, La Cusinga, a Yellow-throated Toucan watched sunset with us.

Turquoise Cotinga

La Cusinga is right on the Pacific coast.

White-throated Capuchins

Next we visited Cerro Lodge, near Carara National Park.  From here we could explore Pacific rainforest, tropical dry forest, riverside, and mangrove habitats.  Birds of the dry habitat, l to r: White-throated Magpie-Jay, Pacific Screech-Owl, Double-striped Thick-knee.

Secretive rainforest birds, l to r: Great Tinamou, Bicolored Antbird, Streak-chested Antpitta.

Birds of the river and mangroves: Amazon Kingfisher

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Large-footed Finch

Flame-throated Warbler

Golden-naped Woodpecker

Black-necked Stilt

American Pygmy Kingfisher

We crossed the mountains to reach our next destination, the Caribbean lowlands.

Broad-billed Motmot

Chestnut-colored Woodpecker

Black-cowled Oriole

Crimson-collared Tanager

Spectacled Owl

"Blue Jeans" Poison-dart Frog

Eyelash Viper

Mantled Howler Monkey

Fasciated Antshrike

Russet-naped Wood-Rail

Great Potoo

One more stop in the mountains,  (l to r): Green Honeycreeper, Buff-fronted Quail-Dove, Prong-billed Barbet, Northern Emerald-Toucanet

It was a very fun group!

Guided by Charlie and NiƱo

Happy birthday Bert!