Birding Club News
Gillian 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 unbelievable photos of birds projected to the TV while regaling each other with stories of bird sightings and, in some cases, football. 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.