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The beautiful birds and nature of Costa Rica


xyz99

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@@Alexander33

The barbet was on the property, at the feeder. I saw it only once, but that's the case with a lot of the birds we saw. I don't know if that means they are not regulars, or I wasn't there at the right moment when they came back, or what...

But at least I got to see them once, and I was happy :)

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More birds at the garden:   Clay-colored thrush   Scintillant hummingbird - this is the male, and I'll have much better pics later. Stay tuned.   Rufous-collared sparrow   A juvenile Fla

Any walk through the Savegre property is a joy: lots of flowers and birds, and these are just some of them:   Green Violetear   Purple-throated mountaingem (female)   Blue-gray tanager  

I was so happy to had seen the quetzal, even though it was from a poor view point, through lots of branches...but isn't he handsome?   After that, Marino took me to Batsu garden - a small garden wit

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michael-ibk

The cloud forest is incredibly beautiful, and I love your bird photos. Such stunning colours - who needs those dull mammals? ;-)

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Ohhh, monkeys or sloths would've been nice. Or even better, a tapir...or a tamandua....

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There is a lot more to the cloud forest that trees and birds. There is beauty in every corner, but you need to go low and slow, so not to disturb it. We hiked the same path, up the creek and hurray! it was warm, sunny with white puffy clouds.

 

The cloud forest butterflies are as beautiful and delicate as butterflies all over the world.

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We even saw a glass one...

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Yes, there is so much biodiversity in the nature of Costa Rica! While birds and mammals usually occupies our attention, frogs and lizzards and bugs of all sort are much more numerous. Which gave me an idea for next visit!

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It's surprising, with all that rain, we did not see any frogs. Looking for frogs will definitely be on the list for a future trip. And I can't ever forget the huge (on steroids) crickets and other bugs we saw at Bosque del Cabo. I was not prepared at the time for photographing them, but next time I will :)

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Wow !!

What a pretty little glass butterfly nicely posing for you. I chased and chased and did not manage to get a single shot, but seeing them flying with their half-invisible wings was one of the most striking memories.

 

Did you do the hike to the Savegre river waterfall ?

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Wow !!

What a pretty little glass butterfly nicely posing for you. I chased and chased and did not manage to get a single shot, but seeing them flying with their half-invisible wings was one of the most striking memories.

 

Did you do the hike to the Savegre river waterfall ?

 

No, we did not :(

We only had 1 sunny day and we hiked in the forest. Plus, other guests who hiked to the waterfall said that even though the hike was supposed to take 4 hrs, it took then 8 because if was so muddy and slippery. We were not prepared for such a hike...

Next time.

 

The glass butterfly was a treat. I tried to show it to my husband, but it was almost invisible. He wondered how I saw it...I saw it landing. It's always 'notice the motion'...otherwise, these things are so well camouflaged. You can be right next to them and no see them..

 

Talking about being right next to them...I was hiking by myself and hard a bird singing. It was loud, and I knew I was very close, but I did not know where to look..up? down? in the bush? It flew when I got 1 foot away, it was right there...but I missed it. Beautiful, loud wren...I managed to see him later, but only because I followed him in flight. The moral of the story: a guide is invaluable. If Marino was with me, he would've known the song, known where to look based on the bird's habits, know the common sounds... On my own, it was right there and I could not see it.

 

Who knows how many other things we missed?

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Dave Williams

On my one visit I must have been very lucky as I saw Racoon,Anteater,Crocodiles, Lizards,some pretty dangerous snakes and Monkeys. I remember my first morning going for a walk when all of a sudden the roar from the surrounding jungle terrified me and it sounded like a prehistoric monster. It was the totally vegetarian Howler Monkey but it's a fearful sound they make.

As an aside, we spent one night in the Arenal Observatory Lodge

https://www.arenalobservatorylodge.com

and I would highly recommend it as it was the most unique hotel stay I have had. Book a Smithsonian room and you can lie in bed at night and watch the red hot lava tumbling down the mountain side. Amazing and for anyone who has read this blog and is contemplating a tour worth considering. Hopefully it hasn't changed too much, for the worse at any rate, since I went 9 years ago.

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On my one visit I must have been very lucky as I saw Racoon,Anteater,Crocodiles, Lizards,some pretty dangerous snakes and Monkeys. I remember my first morning going for a walk when all of a sudden the roar from the surrounding jungle terrified me and it sounded like a prehistoric monster. It was the totally vegetarian Howler Monkey but it's a fearful sound they make.

As an aside, we spent one night in the Arenal Observatory Lodge

https://www.arenalobservatorylodge.com

and I would highly recommend it as it was the most unique hotel stay I have had. Book a Smithsonian room and you can lie in bed at night and watch the red hot lava tumbling down the mountain side. Amazing and for anyone who has read this blog and is contemplating a tour worth considering. Hopefully it hasn't changed too much, for the worse at any rate, since I went 9 years ago.

 

 

AOL is firmly on my (our) itinerary, 3 nights. But sadly, no more red hot lava rocks tumbling down the mountain side. We have seen the spectacle in 2014 but not in 2015, and as of now, Arenal volcano is very quiet. Not like Turrialba, however that one is pyroclastic type, ashes and fumes only. So standard rooms only, and if Arenal would become livelier, one can always step outside.

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Wow !!

What a pretty little glass butterfly nicely posing for you. I chased and chased and did not manage to get a single shot, but seeing them flying with their half-invisible wings was one of the most striking memories.

 

Did you do the hike to the Savegre river waterfall ?

 

No, we did not :(Don't worry. You did not miss very much !!

We only had 1 sunny day and we hiked in the forest. Plus, other guests who hiked to the waterfall said that even though the hike was supposed to take 4 hrs, it took then 8 because if was so muddy and slippery. We were not prepared for such a hike... Neither was I , even on a dry day !

Next time.: Better things to do

 

Who knows how many other things we missed? I think you missed one or two Fer-de-Lance snakes. But here you are telling your tale, so don't worry about things that you missed.

 

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On my one visit I must have been very lucky as I saw Racoon,Anteater,Crocodiles, Lizards,some pretty dangerous snakes and Monkeys. I remember my first morning going for a walk when all of a sudden the roar from the surrounding jungle terrified me and it sounded like a prehistoric monster. It was the totally vegetarian Howler Monkey but it's a fearful sound they make.

As an aside, we spent one night in the Arenal Observatory Lodge

https://www.arenalobservatorylodge.com

and I would highly recommend it as it was the most unique hotel stay I have had. Book a Smithsonian room and you can lie in bed at night and watch the red hot lava tumbling down the mountain side. Amazing and for anyone who has read this blog and is contemplating a tour worth considering. Hopefully it hasn't changed too much, for the worse at any rate, since I went 9 years ago.

 

We saw lots of animals, too in the Arenal area. We stayed at Lost Iguana, but that was back in 2009. I think it was the end of the Arenal eruption...we saw some hot boulders coming down the volcano slopes, but no real lava.

If we ever go back to that area, we'll stay at AOL.

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On that hike, we decided to go back to the wild avocado tree, and see if the quetzals were there. It was a long shot, because the trees are extremely tall, quetzals like to stay on top, and without Marino's eyes our chances of spotting them very small. We had met Mariono on the same trail earlier, with clients, and they had seen them...so we knew they were there.

 

We got there...we looked...and looked...nothing. Looked some more, and we see a flash of red, it looked like a red macaw in flight...but there are no macaws in that area... On a better observation, it turns out it is the quetzal!!!

 

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And we found it all by ourselves! There were a few in those trees, but we only saw one. It did not matter, we were thrilled.

 

The forest was again gorgeous

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We returned home through the Suenos del Bosque Lodge property

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Individual cabins, it looks really nice. They have a pond with tufted ducks, and lots of flowers that attract birds and hummingbirds. They are probably more children-friendly as Savegre, as they also have a swing.

 

When we got home, the Savegre property had a few more birds to enchant us: Acorn woodpecker

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Long-tailed silky-flycatcher

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Scintillant hummingbird

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Flame-colored tanager

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Green Violetear - who had stuck his head in some white flower pollen :-)

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Female Magnificent hummingbird - not so flashy as the male, but still beautiful

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In the evening, Marion took us on a different tour, in search of owls. We first stopped to see the moon rise and the sunset - everything was getting quiet, and the atmosphere is totally different than during the day.

 

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It was very windy, and the clouds were moving with lots of speed

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At night, the forest is quiet...but not completely. There are crickets, fire flies...and owls. Of course Marino found the owl...it was so close, we could hear it, but we would've never seen it without his eyes. A guide is truly priceless!

 

My camera had a very hard time focusing in the dark...this will be my next upgrade, camera with better ISO handling and hopefully better autofocus in low light. Most of the pictures I took were all shaken (and stirred), but I managed a decent one

 

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It was a mottled owl. And then Marino found another one...I did not manage any pictures, it flew away, but seeing it in flight is something that I will never forget. And not a sound...

 

We enjoyed some more time watching the moon and listening to the sounds of the night

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then returned home. Savegre's property is nicely lit at night

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It was out last day at Savegre, and we loved it there. We wanted to hike more, see the waterfalls and hike another trail that is down the road from the lodge, but the rain stopped us. Nevertheless, we had a great time, saw some amazing birds, met Marino, saw another side of Costa Rica...what more can you ask for?

 

The next day we'll be on our way to Rancho Naturalista.

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Atravelynn

Quetzal on your first full day, and such a magnificent, unobstructed view. Great array of hummingbirds too. I see the quetzal was a recurring theme of your trip, very fortunate. If the bit of rain you had did not produce a rainbow in the sky you certainly had a rainbow of colors in your birds, which were rivaled by the fabulous flora. Had you figured this would be a bird-centric rather than mammal-centric trip?

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Quetzal on your first full day, and such a magnificent, unobstructed view. Great array of hummingbirds too. I see the quetzal was a recurring theme of your trip, very fortunate. If the bit of rain you had did not produce a rainbow in the sky you certainly had a rainbow of colors in your birds, which were rivaled by the fabulous flora. Had you figured this would be a bird-centric rather than mammal-centric trip?

 

I knew there would be no monkeys, but I did not know there would be no other animals...It did not lessen the enjoyment though. Costa Rica is just beautiful. Snakes and frogs would've been a great thing to see, though :)

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Alexander33

@@xyz99

 

The night hike sounds like a great opportunity, and that landscape looks even more beautiful lit by the moon. I really want to explore that part of Costa Rica more.

 

The Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Scintillant Hummingbird, and Flame-colored Tanager are all birds I have not seen, and you got great shots of them. Finding quetzals on your own -- very cool!

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The drive from Savegre to Rancho Naturalista took maybe 3 1/2 - 4 hrs. We passed fields and hills, we traveled through sunshine, pouring rain, drizzle, heavy fog...pretty much everything except snow :)

 

When we got there, they were waiting for us with lunch, and it was delicious. The dining area faces a birds feeder and a small water pool, and we enjoyed the birds while eating.

 

Montezuma oropendola - the best views of this bird we ever had

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Black-cheeked woodpecker

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Baltimore Oriole (I think)

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Wilson's warbler taking a bath

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Chestnut-headed oropendola

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Passerini's tanager (male and female)

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Brown Jay

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Rancho is situated at much lower altitude than Savegre, and the birds in the area are different. Also, even on rainy days (which we had), the temperature stays higher, so we did not have to bundle up all the time.

 

They have hummingbird feeders around a large porch, and they are constantly cleaned up and refilled. This attracts lots of hummingbirds...and they are a joy to watch.

 

White-necked jacobin

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Violet-crowned Woodnymph (male)

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Violet-crowned Woodnymph (female)

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Dave Williams

@@xyz99 oh those Hummers, you definitely have me plotting to persuade Claire we need to go back to CR sooner than later. I have more chance than getting her to Equador anyway!

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@@xyz99

 

The night hike sounds like a great opportunity, and that landscape looks even more beautiful lit by the moon. I really want to explore that part of Costa Rica more.

 

The Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Scintillant Hummingbird, and Flame-colored Tanager are all birds I have not seen, and you got great shots of them. Finding quetzals on your own -- very cool!

 

If you go, stay at Savegre and book Marino as your birding guide. You will not regret it.

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@@xyz99 oh those Hummers, you definitely have me plotting to persuade Claire we need to go back to CR sooner than later. I have more chance than getting her to Equador anyway!

 

@@Dave Williams

We saw so many hummingbirds, it was really a joy! The ones at Rancho...we had seen some of them before, in Honduras. But the ones in Savegre, those were all new to me. Due to the higher altitude, you can expect different species in each place. At Rancho, you could just sit on the porch, sip coffee and enjoy the show. These are feisty, very territorial little birds and the flight maneuvering is astonishing.

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Atravelynn

 

Quetzal on your first full day, and such a magnificent, unobstructed view. Great array of hummingbirds too. I see the quetzal was a recurring theme of your trip, very fortunate. If the bit of rain you had did not produce a rainbow in the sky you certainly had a rainbow of colors in your birds, which were rivaled by the fabulous flora. Had you figured this would be a bird-centric rather than mammal-centric trip?

 

I knew there would be no monkeys, but I did not know there would be no other animals...It did not lessen the enjoyment though. Costa Rica is just beautiful. Snakes and frogs would've been a great thing to see, though :)

 

On the flip side, did you ever expect that many hummingbirds? Was this the best time of year for them?

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Wow, @@xyz99 more stunning photos. The diversity of birds you saw at Savegre was fantastic. I can't wait for the rest of the report.

 

If you get lonely for the sounds of Costa Rica (specifically the Osa Peninsula) check this out: http://www.osasounds.com/home-eng.php. The link to buy the CD doesn't seem to be working right now but we have it (since we donated pictures to their website) and it's fantastic.

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