Birding Club News
2016 Annual General Meeting
26 Members of the BCCR gathered at the Finca Caballo Loco ("Crazy Horse Farm") northwest of Ciudad Colón ("Columbus City") near the capitol of Costa Rica on Saturday, June 11, 2016, at 9:30 AM for the club's one actual business meeting of the year. Many arrived at 6 AM with Patrick for a little birding first and they saw 33 species and heard 9 for a total of 42 species, including a Fiery-billed Aracari and a Gartered Trogon. Our Treasurer reported at the meeting that we have 111 members currently. Our Facebook page manager noted that we have 700 followers in 37 countries. This website clocked an accumulated total of over 9,000 hits by the end of this fiscal year. Our chairman reported that we had 13 birding trips this year, organized by 14 different members. New requirements were set at the meeting to provide even more safety on our birding trips and a new backup webmaster was appointed. One of the club's founders was present at the meeting and he received a warm welcome.
Visit to Los Campesinos
Pat and 13 members arrived at the Los Campesinos Ecolodge, a tourism coop about 24 km inland from Quepos, around midday on Friday, May 20, 2016. After settling in, they saw the occupied nest of a Stripe-throated Hermit on a banana tree near one of the cabins. They had a hearty lunch and started birding at 2:30 PM. Pat pointed out swifts and a White Hawk overhead. And the hedges near the cabins yielded Violet-headed and Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds. Moving slowly up to the entrance gate, they spotted a Green Honeycreeper, a Blue Dacnis, a Striped Woodhaunter and the nest of a Common Tody-Flycatcher before the rain started and they took shelter in the local bus stop before making their way back to an early dinner. Saturday morning started at 5 AM with coffee and birding that turned up an Eye-ringed Flatbill and Rufous-breasted and Black-bellied Wrens before breakfast at 8. After breakfast, they split into two groups: one crossed the long footbridge to a waterfall while the other went down the trail below the cabinas and saw an Ochre-bellied Flycatcher. In the afternoon most of the group birded with Pat until the rain came while two drove down to the Savegre River and spotted a Green Kingfisher, and a Great Egret. On Sunday morning, they set off on the path into the woods towards the Mirador, where they saw a Scaly-throated Leaftosser. Back at the cabins later, they may have seen a Spot-fronted Swift and got a few brief looks at Lesser Swallow-tailed and Costa Rican Swifts among the more common White-collared Swifts flying very high. After breakfast at 8, they did the bird list and took off for home. The count for the trip was a respectible 87 seen and 23 heard for a total of 110 species.
Trip to Locos por el Bosque
Pat led 15 members to Monserrat Coronado, about an hour NE of San José, where they saw Crimson-fronted Parakeets perched atop the spires of the town’s colossal Gothic church on the way to their destination, the Locos por el Bosque Biological Reserve. The road out of town was unpaved, rocky, and wild, but the habitat was bird-perfect. As they approached the reserve, they saw the expanses of Braulio Carrillo National Park off to their left. While climbing, they heard Sooty-capped Chlorospingus, Gray-breasted Wood Wren, Nightingale-Thrush, & Black-faced Solitaire. When they reached the end of the road, they were at the entrance to Locos por el Bosque (literally, "Crazies for the Forest"), a private reserve at 1,700 meters altitude where they hooked up with their local guide, Pablo, and took off on foot. They saw Yellow-thighed Finch, Black-and-Yellow Silky Flycatcher, Common Chlorospingus, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Western Wood-Peewee, Dark Peewee, Yellow-bellied Siskin and Spangled-Cheek Tanagers before stopping for a hearty tipico breakfast served by the reserve staff. Then they climbed a dirt road where they spotted Blackburnian, Black-cheeked, Flame-throated, Wilson’s and Three-striped Warblers. Pat informed them that the Three-striped will soon be split off as a unique species and re-named Costa Rica Warbler. They saw an Ornate-Hawk Eagle circling overhead and admired a Black-thighed Grosbeak. Going down a recently-cleared path, they spotted Red-faced Spinetail, Streak-breasted Treehunter, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Hairy Woodpecker and Brown-billed Scythebill. They had good looks at Collared Trogon, male and female, and a glimpse of a female Resplendent Quetzal. A few lucky birders also saw Back-and-White Becard. Pat coaxed in a Slivery-fronted Tapaculo and topped off their list with excellent looks at a Buffy Tuftedcheek. The group thanked Johan for discovering Locos por el Bosque and Xavier for organizing one of the most pleasant and productive day-outings ever. The final tally was 50 seen and 12 heard for a total of 62 species.
Trip to Monteverde
18 members braved the dusty and windy road to Monteverde on 3/11/2016, arriving casually on Friday afternoon, where they ventured out to the forest for a night tour, exploring nearby habitat. The next morning they took off to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve where they met two local guides, David and Oscar. The group split in two and spent several hours in the clouds, mist, and sometimes light rain, enjoying the sights and sounds of this magical forest and, fortunately, seeing Quetzals, a covey of Black Breasted Wood Quail, a Red headed Barbet, a male Bellbird and a Green-fronted Lancebill. The morning ended with views of Violet Sabrewings, Green-crowned Brilliants, Purple-throated Mountain-gems, Coppery-headed Emeralds, and the Magenta-throated Woodstar. Lunch was at the Café Caburé, where they had raspberry and rum truffles for dessert. After lunch they went to the Curi-Cancha Reserve, where the the altitude was just different enough, to provide good views of a Bellbird again, but also Elegant Euphonia, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, and a host of other hummingbirds. That evening, they went to a member's house nearby, had appetizers and sangria outside by the fire and were joined by several other club members before turning in early. Sunday began at 6:30 with a morning walk on the paths around the hotel gardens with sightings of flycatchers, wrens, thrushes and Mot-mots, but the pace picked up along the road as the birds woke up allowing good looks at Rufous-capped Warbler, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Masked Tityra and a Northern Rough-winged Swallow, followed by breakfast, bird counts, and the return home. The trip garnered 109 species seen and 9 heard, for a total of 118 species.
Trip to Rio Gigantes
On 2/19/2016, 17 members and a good selection of 4-wheel drive vehicles loaded the ferry at Puntarenas and crossed into Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula. The expected Brown Pelicans, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Laughing Gulls, and plenty of Royal and Sandwich Terns joined them on the voyage. Hundreds of Black Terns, harassed by a passing Peregrine Falcon, and the odd Least Storm-Petrel joined them when they got out into deeper waters. On the peninsula, they made their way over dirt roads to Rio Gigantes, where they walked through the mangroves to the shore where wintering shorebirds, including Whimbrel, Black-bellied Plover, Willet, and Short-billed Dowitcher awaited them. They got good views of a Great Black-Hawk and Mangrove Cuckoo before settling in at the Hotel Bahia Gigante. They saw Howler Monkeys and heard Pacific Screech Owls after dinner. The next morning, they saw Nicoya specialties, like Elegant Trogon and Yellow-naped Parrot, among the raucous and abundant White-throated Magpie-Jays. The bird diversity was great, as they saw tiny Slate-headed Tody-Flycatchers through Long-tailed Manakins to a migrant Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Late afternoon birds included Thicket Tinamou, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl and Lesser Nighthawk at dusk. Before leaving on the 21st, most club members boarded two small boats and toured the 5+ small local islands in the morning, adding Osprey, Brown Booby, Neotropic Cormorant, and Black-crowned Night Heron to their list. In all, they saw 130 and heard 12 more, for a total of 142 species.
Trip to San Isidro de Grecia
22 birders and our guide, Pat, visited the property of a couple of our members near Grecia on 2/13/2016 for a morning of birds, good food, and good company. Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridges greeted the group, popping in and out of the shrubbery. After breakfast, the birders saw a Prevost's Ground-Sparrow. The morning produced 59 seen and 1 more heard, for a total of 60 species in just a few hours.
Trip to Laguna del Lagarto
This one on January 28 - 31, 2016 was the club's 3rd or 4th trip to this birdy lodge and, as with past visits, this one delivered many good birds. Fruit feeders at the lodge entertained with close looks at toucans, Brown-hooded Parrots, Plain-colored Tanagers, and other species. The feeders at the lodge manager's place were even better with looks at Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Blue Dacnis, more parrots, and a suite of hummingbirds. Away from the feeders, the group had great looks at multiple King Vultures, Great Green Macaws, and Short-tailed Nighthawks at dusk. The weather even cooperated with little rain for this humid region, and slightly cooler weather than expected. In the forest, they managed good looks at Bicolored Antbird, Checker-throated Antwren, Black-throated Trogon, and other species. Out in the garden, they had scope views of one of the stars of the trip, a White-fronted Nunbird. At night, they heard calls from Central American Pygmy-Owl, and Vermiculated Screech-Owls but they remained unseen. A drive on roads near the lodge turned up Nicaraguan Seed-Finch, migrating Swallow-tailed Kites, Pied Puffbird, and a pair of Scarlet Macaws. And a walk in scrubby habitat produced Hooded Warbler and Blue-winged Warbler. In all, the group saw 138 and heard 29, for a total of 167 apecies
Trip to Finca Hamadryas
On January 9th of 2016, members Gabi & Paul opened up their beautiful, remote property (or finca) at 6 AM in the hills above the University for Peace to 15 members in 4-wheel-drive vehicles, who were rewarded with coffee and sweet cakes before setting out on the well - groomed trails. Pat called in a pair of Barred Antshrikes (the bird in our logo above) and they got good looks at a Rufous-capped Warbler, Olive Sparrow, and a Summer Tanager; while off in the distance they heard a Little Tinamou. They also saw Fiery-billed Aricaries while being serenaded by Keel-billed and Black-mandibled Toucans. They heard a Gartered Trogon and saw a Lineated Woodpecker and many species of Flycatchers. After a two hour walk they were ready for Gabi’s “little Swiss breakfast” of homemade Muesli, homemade bread and cakes, homemade jams, organic eggs, fresh fruit, cheese, bacon and coffee. Everyone thanked their hosts for a wonderful morning. The group saw 31 species and heard 21 more.
Trip to El Rinconcito
On November 19th of 2015, the club went to El Rinconcito Lodge on a 4-day trip in Northern Costa Rica, where they met a family of Great Curassows who lounged around on deck chairs and posed for pictures. Pat led 15 members, including author Robert Dean, up a steep horse trail on Thursday afternoon where they saw a Turquoise-browed Motmot; Yellow-crowned, Yellow-throated, and Scrub Euphonias; along with Ruby-throated and Steely-vented hummingbirds; and a Canivet’s Emerald. They topped off the 1st day with a tree full of Keel-billed Toucans. The next day, they saw Crested Guan, Grey-crowned Yellowthroat, a Brown-crested Flycatcher, a White-lored Gnatcatcher, and a female Painted Bunting in the rain. Robert Dean and Andrew Russell spotted a Lesser Ground-Cuckoo and a rare Chuck-will’s-widow. On Saturday morning, the group saw a Black-and-White and a few Black-throated Green Warblers and a Long-Tailed Manakin before breakfast. Later, they set off on the lodge’s Ficus Trail, a stunningly beautiful forest trail along a boulder-strewn stream, with a very wobbly suspension-bridge crossing. This trail was a hit, with good looks at Sunbittern, Rufous-capped Warblers, and even a Kinkajou. That afternoon, they saw Montezuma Oropendola and a Blue-Crowned Motmot. Pat called in a Tody Motmot on Sunday morning to end on a high note. In all, they saw 89 species and heard 8 more, for a trip total of 97 species.
Trip to Manzanillo
The club's October birding trip this year was to Manzanillo, in the southeast corner of Costa Rica on the Caribbean coast near Panama. The group stayed at the Cabinas Manzanillo where they saw lots of migrating swallows, martins, Eastern Kingbirds, vultures and Mississippi Kites passing overhead on their arrival. Later that afternoon, they saw Common Black Hawk, Pale-vented Pigeons, Eastern Kingbirds and a Least Flycatcher. On Saturday morning, they saw Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeak, a few warblers, and Dickcissels. After lunch, they visited the Botanical Garden at Puerto Viejo, where they saw several flycatchers and pewees before they went into the second growth where they saw in one of the first trees a Collared Forest-Falcon. They didn't get far into the forest before they saw such beauties as White-whiskered Puffbird, Dot-winged Antwren, Checker-throated Antwren, and White-flanked Antwren. On Sunday they did some birding along the Recope road where Bicolored Antbird and a group of Purple-throated Fruitcrows stole the show. They also saw Chestnut-colored and Cinnamon Woodpeckers, woodcreepers, Black-crowned Antshrike, many Red-eyed Vireos, and some other lowland species. They finished the bird list before breakfast, where they logged 140 species seen and 23 more heard for a trip total of 163 species.
Trip to Dota & Cerro de la Muerte
On 9/25-27/15, Pat led 14 members in search of the Resplendent Quetzál in some of the highest areas in Costa Rica (almost 9,000'), about 50 miles south of San José, on a 3-day trip to the lodge Miriam's Quetzáls. The group traveled in cars through the area around Cerro de la Muerte and the valley of San Gerardo de Dota, stopping frequently to get out and put up the 'scope. Even the valleys in this area are around 5,000' above sea level. The group saw multiple female Quetzáls, but the lazy males were sleeping in, apparently. On Friday afternoon they saw Yellow-thighed Finch, Flame-colored Tanager, Slaty Flowerpiercer, and the beautiful little Volcano Hummingbird near the feeders at the restaurant. On Saturday morning they saw female Resplendent Quetzáls in the area near Trogon Lodge in the Dota valley along with Barred Becard and Emerald Toucanet. After a great breakfast back at the lodge, they headed up to the highest point in Costa Rica you can drive - Cerro de la Muerte. Rain cut the foray short, but not before they spotted a Timberline Wren. The rain lasted into the afternoon, but they saw White-throated Mountain Gem and Magnificent Hummingbird near the feeders and Peg-billed Finch and Green-fronted Lancebill near the cabinas. That night, they heard an Unspotted Saw-whet Owl. On Sunday morning they headed even lower down the road into the Dota Valley and walked on the Waterfall trail, where they saw Spangled-cheeked Tanager, Louisiana Waterthrush, Dark Peewee and the perfectly named Buffy Tuftedcheek. Then they ended with a great breakfast and the final tally of 69 seen and 8 heard, for a total of 77 species.
Trip to Yorkin
Pat and Robert led 16 members on a great 4-day trip, August 21-24, 2015 to BriBri country near the southeast corner of Costa Rica and on the border with Panama near the Talamanca mountains. They met up at the Pointe Restaurant in Puerto Viejo, about 60 km southeast of Limón, and drove together to the village of Bambu, where they boarded boats after seeing Lesser Nighthawks, Barred Antshrikes, Snowy Cotinga, and a few other species in the rainforest. The boats took them about an hour upriver to Yorkin. That night they saw a Mottled Owl. During the following days, they birded the cacao fields in the area (from which chocolate is made), the forest near the river, and watched the forested ridges from the local school. The school area was especially good and yielded sightings of Snowy Cotingas, hundreds of migrating kites, and other raptors including several King Vultures, one Black Hawk-Eagle, and two different sightings of Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle! Other forest species including sightings of Shining Honeycreeper, Chestnut-backed Antbird, wrens, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Checker-throated and Dot-winged Antwrens, and Black-crowned Antshrike. The group also learned about BriBri culture, and some participants learned how cacao is made into chocolate, how to weave with palm fronds, and even had the chance to try their hand at archery, BriBri style. After going back downriver and departing the boats, they were treated to one new species for the trip in the form of Pearl Kite before heading back home. In all, they counted 117 seen and 26 heard for a total of 143 species.
Trip to the Villa Blanca Cloud Forest
Pat led 14 members on what turned out to be a rather wet two-day trek, July 10-11, 2015 in the Villa Blanca area about an hour's drive northeast of San José and north of San Ramon. They started Friday morning on the trails around the hotel, where they saw Coppery-headed Emeralds, Green-crowned Brilliants, Violet Sabrewings, and Green Hermits on the hummingbird feeders. In the canopy, they saw Ochraceous Wren and a Spotted Barbtail. On the forest floor they called in a couple of Gray-Breasted Wood Wrens and heard a Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch. Back in the hotel parking lot, they had excellent looks at Red-faced Spinetails, Scaly-throated Forage-gleaners, Blue-and-gold Tanagers, Common Bush-tanagers, Silver-throated Tanagers and Bananaquits. Friday evening, they shared drinks and stories in the lounge, and then enjoyed a good dinner. Up early on Saturday morning, the group walked on a forest trail and saw the Black-faced Solitaire and the Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush who livened the forest with their songs. After a buffet breakfast, they sat around the fire and compiled the bird list. They saw 34 and heard 8, for a total of 42 species.
2015 Annual General Meeting
Members of the birding club gathered at the Parque de Aventura San Luis (about 21 km northwest of San Ramon) early on June 14th to get in a little birding before the Annual General Meeting (AGM) got under way in the La Arboleda Restaurant, next door to the park. The group counted 35 seen and 15 heard, for a total of 50 species. Johan led the meeting, beginning with old business (e.g., reviewing trips, recording data, reports of officers and committees, donations to the Bellbird Project, T-shirt sales, and new board members). Then the group handled new business (e.g., accomodating mobility-challenged members, participating in Global Big Day, making waiting lists as fair as possible, donating T-shirts to children and bird books to local guides and communities, and planning for the new year). Paul & Elizabeth volunteered to host the Christmas Party.
Trip to Medio Queso & Caño Negro
Pat guided 13 members on May 22-24, 2015 up close to Nicaragua to the area around Los Chiles, Medio Queso, and Caño Negro, where there was rain, boat trips, good company, and lots of birds despite high water conditions that hid the rare rails and crakes. The group started in Los Chiles, near the border, where they saw Scaled Pigeon, White-crowned Parrot, and more. Then they went southeast to the Medio Queso wetlands where they saw Plumbeous Kite, Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures, Pinnated Bitterns, Green Ibis, Nicaraguan Grackles and a distant flying Barn Owl. On Saturday, they went back to Medio Queso for a boat ride, where they saw Least Bittern, Black Terns, Nicaraguan Seed-Finches, Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures, Ruddy-breasted Seedeaters, Limpkin and many others. Later they started birding their way west to Caño Negro, near the wildlife preserve with the same name, where they saw a migrant Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Snail Kite, and Red-breasted Blackbird on their way to the Kingfisher Lodge. That afternoon, they saw Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Spot-breasted Wren, a nesting Greenish Elaena, Pied Puffbird, Gray-headed Dove, Olive-throated Parakeet, and Gray-headed Chachalacas among others. After dinner, they saw Pacific Screech-Owl and called in a Common Potoo at the lodge. Sunday morning, they heard a Bare-crowned Antbird and saw lots of birds on the river and lagoons enroute to their boat ride, including a soaring Black-collared Hawk and White-ringed Flycatchers. Afterwards, they had breakfast, with more looks at the Gray-headed Dove, counted up the birdlist (which included 135 seen and 22 heard, for a total of 157 species) and headed home.
Trip to Rincon & Golfo Dulce
Pat led 11 members down to the Osa Peninsula in southwest Costa Rica to the Cabinas El Chontal in Rincon, near the Golfo Dulce on Friday, April 10th, where Scarlet Macaws, a Mangrove Hummingbird, Ruddy Turnstones, a Northern Waterthrush, Gray-necked Wood-Rail, and Masked Tityra were waiting to greet them. After a great lunch, served by the owner and her daughter, accompanied by nesting House Wrens and Long-billed Hermits, the group drove across the Rincon River and watched White-tailed Kites, Red-breasted Blackbirds and other open-habitat species. They saw White Ibis, Ringed and Green Kingfishers, Roseate Spoonbill, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, White-necked Puffbird, and Spot-crowned Euphonia while hanging around the Rincon Bridge before heading back to the Cabinas for dinner and early to bed. Saturday morning they got up early, drank coffee, and set off across the Golfo Dulce by boat in a calm sea to the Esquinas River where they saw a large troupe of Howler Monkeys and a Mangrove Warbler, Sandwich Turns, Laughing Gulls, and Brown Pelicans. On the way back, they stopped in a shallow estuary where some saw a Yellow-billed Cotinga. After breakfast and lunch, they saw Pale-breasted Spinetail, Great Antshrike, Eastern Kingbird, Swainson's Thrushes and more. Early Sunday morning, the group went back to the bridge where another White-necked Puffbird and a male Yellow-billed Cotinga were waiting. Up the road, they saw Baird's Trogon, Black-hooded Antshrikes, Red-Rumped Woodpeckers, Fiery-billed Aracaris, Black-mandibled Toucans, and Charming Hummingbird before returning to the Cabinas for breakfast and the birdlist (which included 138 seen and 25 heard, for a total of 163 species).
Day Trip to Laguna Doña Ana & Lankester Gardens
Ten intrepid members showed up at 6 AM at Laguna Doña Anna, a lovely park in Paraiso, near Cartago, to guide themselves on day trip around the area. While winding their way around the lagoon, they were treated to an extended viewing of a pair of Green Ibis probing the muddy bottom of a low, damp grassy area. The center of the lagoon was covered with blooming water lilies where they saw Least Grebe, Northern Jacana, Common Gallinule, Green Heron, Little Blue Heron, and Great Egret. The great asset of the park is lots of trees and water habitat all in one place. Later, they went over to Lankester Botanical Garden, about 1 km away, where they enjoyed strolling through the various habitats in the gardens with their avian residents and took a look into the orchid display area there. About 11:30 they regrouped at Restaurant Casa Vieja for a leisurely lunch on the enclosed veranda of a lovely old building which has served travelers along the road for many years. There they compiled the birdlist, which included 48 seen and 1 heard, for a total of 49 species.
Trip to Diria National Park
Pat led 10 members to the Diria National Park in northwestern Costa Rica on February 20-22, 2015. One of the newest national parks in Costa Rica, it is located 9 km south of Santa Cruz in the province of Guanacaste in the central highlands of the Nicoya Peninsula. The 1st afternoon started off slowly, hearing Long-tailed Manakins (known locally as 'el Toledo') and later getting good looks at a Pale-billed Woodpecker. After dinner they saw a Mottled Owl very well. On Saturday morning the group drove to higher elevations and saw an Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, which was a lifer for many in the group. After breakfast the group set off on the lower trail and saw plenty of Long-tailed Manakins this time and several saw a Royal Flycatcher. Those who could manage in the undergrowth also saw a Stub-tailed Spadebill. In the afternoon they stayed closer to the road and some saw a Thicket Tinamou. A Ferruginous Pigmy-Owl came in when Pat was calling to attract some small birds, but he didn't stay long. On Sunday morning they went to the highest regions in the park and saw a Plain Chachalaca before returning to breakfast and compiling the bird list, which included 105 seen and 8 heard, for a total of 113 species.
Trip to Cedral/Palmichal
Pat led 19 members on a trip to Cedral's 7000' elevation in the Cerros de Escazu on January 17-18, 2015 to inaugurate a new year of BCCR birding. It was a first time for most of the group, including Pat, to bird in this area. The group arrived before dawn at Glenn & Glenna's warm fireplace and loaded up on coffee and muffins before braving the fierce winds. Pat called in Silvery-fronted Tapaculos, Prong-billed Barbets, and Gray-breasted Wood-Wrens before breakfast. Glenna provided hand-quilted pot holders filled with the essence of cloves for all to take home. After breakfast, the group went on a spectacular drive to the Naciente Lodge in Palmichal. After lunch, they divided into two groups. One group birded with Pat while the others billy-goated their way for a 2 hour hike up a steep, rocky road, fording a swift stream. The climbing group saw a Blue-crowned Mot-Mot. That evening, the group was quite tired out, but they heard a Mottled Owl outside the lodge. The next morning the group drank home-grown coffee and shared baked goods they had brought with them. They saw Chestnut-headed Oropendolas, which are uncommon on the Pacific slope, and a bird sitting on a nest that they eventually agreed was a Plain-capped Starthroat. As they were leaving for home, Sergio, the manager, told them that he's never hosted a birding club before and he was thrilled to learn that the group would send him their trip bird list, which included 65 seen and 4 heard, for a total of 69 species.
Gillian and her creative assistant Pablo hosted a rather large gathering of members and guests at her place for the club's annual End-of-the-year Party on December 7th where a good time was had by all. There was no organized birding at the party, but Johan gathered several good suggestions for great trips in 2015. And we watched Andrew's unbelievable photos of over 500 bird species projected to the TV while regaling each other with stories of bird sightings and, in some cases, football. Susan sold BCCR T-shirts designed by author Robert Dean and Johan distributed pre-ordered copies of the 2nd edition of The Birds of Costa Rica by Garrigues & Dean. This is the version with brighter colors. Everyone brought their favorite dish and we had all manner of things to drink, including several flavors of Gillian's tasty cocktails.
Day Trip to Virgen del Socorro
On November 22, 2014, Pat led 9 members on a day trip to Virgen del Socorro, near the La Paz Waterfall Gardens in northcentral Costa Rica, on the northeastern slope of Poas Volcano on the Caribbean side of the Continental Divide. They met around 6 AM at the waterfalls and saw a pair of American Dippers and a Torrent Tyrannulet right away. After a short breakfast at the Cinchona Restaurant, they saw Tropical Parula, Slate-throated Redstart and Golden-winged Warbler after a bit of a slow start due to the sunny weather. They heard Chestnut-capped Brush-Finches near the bottom of the valley and saw a White Hawk searching the valley. Moving toward Virgen del Socorro, they heard and then saw a Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush and later an acrobatic Rufous Mourner. The total count was 89 seen and 18 heard, for a total of 107 species.
2nd Trip to Rancho Naturalista
Pat led 16 members on a second 3-day trip to Rancho Naturalista on November 2-7, 2014. The first such trip was May 30th to June 1st, earlier in the year. The upper viewing deck provided arrival views of Black-crested Coquettes, White-necked Jacobins, Green-breasted Mangos, Violet-headed, Green-crowned Brilliant and Rufous-tailed hummingbirds. Coming down for a walk, the group saw Summer Tanagers, White-lined Tanagers, Baltimore Orioles, Bay Wrens, Gray-headed Chachalacas, Montezuma Oropendolas, and a targeted Bicolored Hawk. Saturday morning provided looks at White-breasted Wood-wrens, Red-throated Ant-tanagers, and a targeted Tawny-chested Flycatcher. After breakfast, the group sighted Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, Osprey, a reclusive Dusky Antbird, White-crowned Manakin, and later a Green Honeycreeper taking a bath in the hollow of a tree. After lunch, they saw two pairs of Sunbitterns mating. Sunday morning, Snowcaps flittered near the cabins and a Green Thorntail made brief appearances. Pat called in Black-throated Wren, Slaty-capped Flycatcher, and Buff-throated Foliage-Gleaner, among others. After breakfast, Pat spotted two Mississippi Kites flying overhead. Many in the group brought delicious baked goods and the Rancho meals were tasty, hearty and generous, with great service. Lodge managers Lisa and Mario were the epitome of friendly, helpful hosts, and promptly signed up as BCCR members. Thanks to Lyn for organizing the trip. The total count was 114 seen and 22 heard, for a total of 136 species.
Trip to Tortuguero
Pat led 10 members on a 3-day trip to Casa Marbella B&B on the coastal island of Tortuguero, near the far northeastern corner of Costa Rica (and accessible only by boat or plane), on October 10-12, 2014. The group met at Pavona dock and took a fast public boat to the home of Tortuguero National Park in the province of Limón. On the first day, the group saw Peregrine Falcons, Eastern Wood-Pewees, Red-eyed Vireos and an American Redstart. Saturday started with coffee at 5:15 AM with cakes & muffins and a look at Dickcissels and other migrants on the way to the park. They saw Green Ibis, Mississippi Kite, Mealy and Brown-hooded Parrots, and heard Chestnut-colored Woodpecker, Red-capped Manakin, and other species. Daryl, from the B&B, spotted a White-necked Puffbird and a nesting Rufescent Tiger-Heron, which is hardly ever seen there. On the way back to breakfast, the group saw Great Green Macaws, and a foraging Sungrebe. The stars of the afternoon were a Gray Kingbird and a Western Kingbird who are rare in Costa Rica during migration. After good birding in park in the afternoon as well, the group went to dinner at the Wild Ginger restaurant. On Sunday morning, after coffee and muffins, Roberto took the group out in the boat where they saw Swainson’s Thrushes, lots of Eastern Kingbirds, one Piratic Flycatcher, a Common Yellowthroat, a Golden-winged Warbler, several Red-eyed Vireos, and Chestnut-sided, Bay-breasted, Blackburnian, and Prothonotary Warblers. Breakfast followed, but unfortunately there was no time to do the birdlist together, as they had to catch the 11 AM boat back to Pavona. The total count was 124 seen and 21 heard, for a total of 145 species.
Trip to Arenal / La Fortuna
Pat led 17 members on a 3-day trip to the Vista del Cerro hotel in La Fortuna on the flanks of the Arenal Volcano on September 12-14, 2014. Shortly after their arrival, the group went to the Hard Rock Nature Park, known as “Geovani’s preserve” where Pat and local guide Geovani Bogarin helped them see many species, including Common Pauraque, Black-cowled Oriole, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird and Black-headed and Buff-throated Saltators. At 4:30 the next morning, the group went to the adjoining restaurant for breakfast, met local guide Reynaldo Elizondo, and went about 21 kilometers west to Sky Trek Arenal for a slow walk on the paths there, where they saw Great Currasow, White Hawk, Broad-billed Motmot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Plain Xenops, Black-throated Wren, tanager species, and an antswarm with very close looks at Dusky, Spotted, Bicolored, and Ocellated Antbirds. After leaving Sky Trek, Pat heard a Bare-crowned Antbird call from the side of the road and some members got to see it. On Sunday morning, Geovani helped the group find the only 24-hour soda in La Fortuna for a quick cup of coffee and the group went toward the La Fortuna Waterfall, where they observed Buff-rumped Warbler, six species of woodpeckers (Rufous-winged, Cinnamon, Smoky-brown, Hoffmann’s, Black-cheeked, and Pale-billed), Keel-billed and Black-mandibled Toucans, Collared Aracaris, several species of tanagers, including Golden-hooded, Palm, Passerini’s, and Hepatic, a Laughing Falcon, and Scarlet-thighed Dacnis. Back at Geovani’s preserve, White-throated Crakes and a Tropical Mockingbird were seen. Then the group returned to the hotel for breakfast and the species countdown. The total count was 144 seen and 18 heard, for a total of 162 species. A few went back later to Geovani's preserve and saw Uniform Crakes, Olive-throated Parakeet, Long-billed Gnatwren, and Barred Antshrike.
Trip to Luna Lodge
Pat led 19 members on a 4-day trip to the rainforests near Osa Peninsula's Luna Lodge on August 22-25, 2014. The lodge turned out to be a comfortable, excellent base with good trails, a birding platform and great habit around the bungalows that attracted vulnerable Turquoise Cotingas. A local guide, Gary, helped them see lots of birds right around the lodge. The next morning the group split up with part going to a nearby lagoon while the others stayed on the platform. The first group heard a Least Bittern and saw several other waterbirds. From the platform, Black-mandibled Toucans, Riverside Wrens, and White Hawk were the highlights. Saturday afternoon birding included an endangered Black-cheeked Ant-tanager, Black-striped and Tawny-winged Woodcreepers, and Blue-crowned Manakin among others. The group also visited "Shady Lane", a birding site on the coastal plain. On Sunday, more species were added to the list from birding in the primary forests of the ridge trail and the old secondary forests on the waterfall trail. After dinner, Lana Wedmore gave a presentation about the White Hawk project, followed by Robert entertaining the group with his voice and guitar. On Monday morning, the platform produced great looks at Slaty-tailed Trogon, Rufus-tailed Jacamar, and others. The total count was 136 seen and 17 heard, for a total of 153 species.
Trip to Rancho Mastatal
Pat led 14 members (including new member Jody) on a 3-day trip sponsored by Janis to the Rancho Mastatal Environmental Learning Center and Lodge about halfway between Santiago de Puriscal and the Pacific coast, alongside the La Congreja National Park, on July 11-14, 2014. The lodge is dedicated to the preservation of tropical rainforests in their area and committed to a truly sustainable and somewhat spartan living experience including delicious vegetarian meals . The site offered many birding opportunities, including 3 sightings of the Turquoise Cotinga (listed as "Vulnerable") and a good look at a Collared Forest-Falcon. Pat got good pictures of a Blue-crowned Manakin and a Golden-naped Woodpecker. Tom took lots of pictures and we wouldn't be surprised to see them soon on the club's Facebook page. The total count for the trip was 94 seen and 34 heard, for a trip total of 128 species.
2014 Annual Meeting in Heredia
The annual meeting was held in Hotel Bougainvillea, Santo Domingo de Heredia on Saturday, June 14, 2014. Lyn and Connie conducted the meeting and did a great job of keeping things moving. In all, 22 members and 3 guests attended. The road outside was blocked off and Pat missed because he had the wrong day, but everyone was in good spirits and we had a good time. There was no organized birdwatching this year without Pat, but we did get an unscheduled tour of Santo Domingo trying to find an alternate way into the hotel. The hotel was beautiful and breakfast was yummy. We lost a few dollars during the year, but that was because we counted the cost, but not the value of unsold T-shirts on hand. We expect to set the balance right and have T-shirt money left over to support the Monteverde Bell Bird project soon. We had 13 birding trips last year with an average of 21 participants each who identified an average of 87 species per trip. Connie and Xavier stepped down from the board and were replaced by Johan and Shelly, with Lyn moving to at-large status. Lots of good destinations were nominated for the coming year's trips, including a trip into Nicaragua (barely). Pam agreed to help Dick with the website. And Tom will help Connie and Lyn with our Facebook page. Gillian will host the year-end party on December 7th with help from Ineke.
Trip to Rancho Naturalista
Pat was busy, so Lyn led 17 members (including new members Shawn & Judy) on a 3-day trip to Rancho Naturalista, about 20 Km SE of Turrialba on May 30 - June 1, 2014. After a wonderful lunch, Susan, Lyn, and Tom led the group down forest paths to see Tawny-capped Euphonia, Striped-breasted Wren and, at the forest hummingbird feeders, White-necked Jacobins, Violet-crowned Woodnymph, Violet Sabrewing, and Violet-headed Hummingbird. Over snacks on the balcony back at the lodge, the group saw Green-breasted Mangos and Brown Violetear among the numerous Jacobins. Saturday morning, the group met their two local guides, Cali and Herman, who led them to see Red-throated Ant Tanagers, Orange-billed Sparrows, White-throated Wrens, Tawny-chested Flycatcher, Rufous Mourner, White-collared Manikins, and many other species. They saw an interesting nest of the Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift and heard the Bicolored Hawk. Saturday afternoon, in the rain, the group car-pooled to the Rio Mina to see two families of Sunbittern, as well as Ringed and Amazon Kingfishers, and a Fasciated Tiger-Heron. Sunday morning, the group went to sugar cane fields, where they saw White-throated Crake, White-throated Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Cacique, and others. Back at the ranch, they finally did see the elusive Snowcap. The trip count was 104 seen and 20 heard for a total of 124 species.
Las Bromelias, Rincon de la Vieja
Pat led 13 members (including new members Connie & Bart) on a 3-day trip to the Las Bromelias Lodge on the northern slope of the Rincon de la Vieja volcano on May 2 - 4, 2014. The group was surprised by great weather with little rain and nights cool enough for a light blanket. The secondary forest behind the lodge yielded a rare White-chinned Swift, Pale-billed Woodpecker, and long looks at a Keel-billed Motmot on the first afternoon. The Saturday-morning drive up toward the volcano revealed Bicolored, Spotted, & Ocellated Antbirds near a small ant swarm. Pat called in an elusive Tody Motmot and spotted a Tawny-chested Flycatcher on the way back for breakfast. After breakfast, the birding included the largest number of White-collared Manakins anyone had ever seen. That afternoon the group saw a Crested Guan, Black-headed Nightingale Thrush, and Tropical Parula long with a half a dozen species of hummingbirds. Following dinner, the lodge owner provided guaro with lime and salt for the more intrepid birders. Sunday morning, Brown Violetear, Mealy Parrots, Green Honey Creepers, and others were seen and some Canada Warblers migrated through. The total count for the trip was 140 seen and 30 heard, for a trip total of 170 species.
Day Trip to Finca Dos Lados
Pat led 14 members on a one-day trip to Sara's farm on the Continental Divide and NW slope of Poas Volcano on March 22, 2014. The Baltimore Oriole, Great-tailed Grackle, and Squirrel Cuckoo were added to the farm's list by the group. Also seen were Wilsons's, Tennessee, and Black-throated Green Warblers and close views of a pair of Prong-billed Barbets and a beautiful Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher. Sara's valiant helper, Coco, provided a hearty brunch and those who stayed for the afternoon went to a neighboring finca to see a nesting Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge. The trip total was 40 species seen, 4 heard, and 44 total.
Trip to Palo Verde
Pat led 10 members and two of Robert's guests on a 3-day trip to the Palo Verde National Park in northwestern Costa Rica on February 14 - 16, 2014. February is a great time to visit the park because the dry season is when waters subside and birds flock to the park and its river basin. Among the 105 species seen were Double-striped Thick-Knee, a Jabiru family, and Limpkins. 12 more species were heard, for a total of 117 species identified. On their way out, the group was surrounded by about 80 Swainson's Hawks who were feasting on insects escaping from rice fields that were being burned. And on the way home, the group saw thousands of Blue-winged Teal on a lake and at least two rare Cinnamon Teal.
Trip to La Gamba
Pat led 14 members on a 4-day trip to the La Gamba Tropical Field Station in southern Costa Rica on January 24 - 27, 2014. The weather was hot, but so was the birding and the total count was 161 species with 146 seen and 12 heard. Daniel, the tree expert of LA GAMBA, gave a lecture about tree growing projects and plans for a new corridor, which will be called Amistosa, to connect La Amistad and the Osa Peninsula. Some featured birds seen were: Green Ibis, Veraguan Mango (formerly endemic to Panama), and White-crested Coquette.
Johan and Ineke hosted a rather large gathering of members at their place for the club's annual End-of-the-year Party on December 8th. There was no organized birding at the party, but several suggestions for fun trips in 2014 were offered. Dreamy cookies, mouth-watering rum cake, and other sweet surprises were accompanied by sodas, wine, and beer. Johan later reported hearing a Great Jacamar during the Arenal Christmas Bird Count. This is a very rare species that requires extensive primary forest.
Trip to Sierpe and Cano Island
Pat and Robert led 18 members on a 4-day trip to Sierpe and Cano Island, in the Southwest part of Costa Rica, on November 14 - 17, 2013. The group enjoyed fantastic service at the Hotel Oleaje Sereno and watched Scarlet Macaws feed nearby. They took boat trips on Thursday through the mangroves along the river and Friday out to Cano Island. New regulations prevented them from landing on the island, but they got a good look at it and saw a Red-billed Tropicbird, roosting Common Potoo, nesting Brown and Red-footed Boobies, and a Wedge-rumped Storm Petrel on the way back. The total count for the trip was 149 species with 137 seen and 12 more heard.
Trip to El Zota Biological Station
Pat and Robert* led 17 members on a 3-day trip to El Zota, a rain forest biological field station located in the northeast part of Costa Rica, on 25 - 27 October. The group heard a rare Red-throated Caracara, but attempts to call it in were unsuccessful. 139 species were seen (including a Tawny-crested Tanager) and 19 heard. Johan, the trip's organizer, reported that the group enjoyed a barbecue party on Saturday evening.
* Robert is coauthor of The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide
Member Forum Opens
A new feature has been added to the Member Content section of this website. Members can now sign in to a bulletin board (w/ the same userid & password as the main site) and post bird sightings, pictures, etc. to share with the club. If you are a member and don't yet have a userid & password, send email to the webmaster.
Trip to the Lands-in-Love Lodge
Pat led 14 members on a 3-day trip to Lands-in-Love (32 km north of San Ramon) on 20 - 22 September that yielded a winning combination of good service, great food, and some very good birds. 73 species were seen (including the most elusive Lanceolated Monklet and a rare Sepia-capped Flycatcher) and 29 heard. Sara and Carol provided coffee and cakes on the 2nd day and the lodge served dinner on Friday, three meals on Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday. The Sunday morning sighting of the Lanceolated Monklet was its 1st time seen on a club trip.
Trip to the Turrialba Volcano Area
Pat led 16 of us on an overnight trip to the Turrialba Volcano Lodge northeast of Cartago at an altitude that provided cool days and chilly nights on 24 & 25 August. (As usual, some came early and spent two nights.) We saw 31 species and heard 4 more on the jaunt. The lodge provided Ben-Franklin-style woodstoves and blankets to keep us warm along with good food and great views to enjoy. Each cabin had a stove, refrigerator, microwave, and a small supply of dishes and silverware. We did have some rain, but there was plenty of time for birding. Ivy, Connie, Chris, and Dick hosted the group Saturday evening and everyone brought bocas. The legendary Unspotted Saw-Whet Owl eluded us, but we did see a Barn Owl and a Bare-shanked Screech-Owl (see photo). Probably our best species was a Resplendent Quetzal that perched in a large tree for great views through Susan's scope.
Trip to Manuel Antonio & Quepos
Pat was on vacation, so Wilbur & Berny (very competent local guides) led 13 of us on an overnight trip around the Quepos area on 13 & 14 July, 2013. We saw 79 species, including a pair of Double-striped Thick-Knees that had not previously been reported this far South. We spent the night in the Hotel Plaza Yara in Manuel Antonio, a very nice hotel with reasonable rates. (Some came early and spent two nights.) Connie organized a boat trip in the mangrove estuary of Isla Damas that was a big hit and produced a Tree Boa sunning itself next to the water, in addition to lots of aquatic birds. Phil & Danny hosted a pre-dinner wine party and organized a great restaurant, Ronny’s Place, for dinner afterwards. Lyn did a super job of organizing the trip.
Annual Meeting held
The club's annual meeting took place on 8 June 2013 at INBioparque, Santo Domingo de Heredia. The treasurer reported that we had about the same amount in our account as one year ago. We added a new member-at-large to the board.
Connie reported we had 13 birding activities this past year. We had an average of 18 participants per activity, identified an average of 118 birds on each outing, with lodging costs averaging $40/night per person. Members present generated a good list of trip ideas for the coming year.
Janis will conduct a survey of possible bird-related worthy causes to which we might offer our support. Connie opened a discussion about what could be done to help new birders become more comfortable with the hobby. Patrick offered to include information in the Tweeter to help new birders. Johan and Ineke offered to host the Christmas party this year.
The club decided to create a website and a Facebook page. Dick will be the webmaster and Connie was designated to the Facebook page. The meeting ended shortly after Patrick gave a list of birds observed during a walk on the INBioparque paths before the meeting.
Trip to Pocosol Biological Station
Patrick led a trip to the research station at Pocosol on 17 - 19 May, 2013 that saw this pair of Spectacled Owls perched in the open. 118 species were seen and another 20 were heard. Robert entertained the group after dinner with his guitar.