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Costa Rica 2019

Part 1:  Hotel Bougainvillea

All photographs ©2019

Illustrated and Audio Bird List


Getting there...


This year's trip was a return to the routine of scouting out two new lodges for a week each, with the addition of a night's stay at each "end" at the famous Hotel Bougainvillea!  And it was also the smoothest trip ever:  there was no one going through security at McAllen (Texas) but me, so that was a breeze!  Rode the Skyway for the first time in Houston, had a nice breakfast, and made it to Costa Rica with no issues.  Saw some beautiful towers out the window that would have made my storm-chasing friends proud!  Then once on the ground, I couldn’t believe it: I found myself right up front in the immigration line, and going through customs was pretty painless, too!  Found Miguel, the driver sent from Hotel Bougainvillea, fine, and PTL it wasn’t raining!!  (Found out later that Bougainvillea no longer even has a shuttle, so they arrange pickups with independent taxi drivers…)  The first official Costa Rican bird was a grackle L followed shortly by White-winged Dove, but four presumed Crimson-fronted Parakeets were a welcome sight!


Got checked in, and found out they have muffins and fruit available first thing, so if you're going out REEELY early in the morning to bird, you'll at least have something to eat!  A nice young man helped me to my room, and once settled I immediately got my gear on and headed out!


The gardens are indeed beautiful, and right away I was greeted by a Red-billed Pigeon (I knew I wouldn’t have to schlep up to Salineño for that for the year J)!  Next were several cute little Rufous-collared Sparrows, followed by their national bird, the Clay-colored Thrush!  A Boat-billed Flycatcher posed on an exposed branch, and what sounded like a weird Grayish Saltator was singing; later I found the perp and shot him against the sky – he sure looked like a Grayish but was making a sound just like a Baltimore Oriole call!  (Later I would play the recording for my guide Vernon and he confirmed it was indeed a Grayish…)  A hummer I got a quick look at had a blackish tail, but every subsequent hummer was a Rufous-tailed, one just showing off beautifully for the camera!  A threesome of Rufous-naped Wrens came in to be videoed while a House Wren sang elsewhere.  Melodious Blackbirds were sounding off, but at first all I could find was a grackle!  (The blackbirds later showed up…)


They have a beautiful wooded trail around the perimeter, and lots of butter-friendly bushes, but it was just too overcast; the brave ones included two Monarchs, a Teleus Longtail, and a Crimson Patch.  Added White-tipped Dove on the wooded trail, and both Brown Jays and a Rufous-browed Peppershrike called unseen.  The icing on the cake, though, was a pair of Rufous-capped Warblers having a big time in one of the bird baths!  A Kiskadee was also taking a drink in a different bird bath, and it was hysterical to watch him following this bug hovering in front of him (and looking carefully at the video later, I believe he actually caught it)!  A Blue-gray Tanager posed against the sky, and lots of swallows were about, but I couldn’t tell what they were (probably Blue-and-white, according to Vernon).


Couldn’t sleep much, so ended up getting up at three and wandering the gardens after the morning routine; it was deathly quiet for the longest time, but as the sky lightened, things started tuning up:  first was the Pauraque, and new birds included the Lesson’s Motmot and the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl!  The Grayish Saltator started up again, which (as mentioned earlier) Vernon confirmed.

On the last day of the trip, Juan Carlos from Costa Rica Gateway made a return appearance as my driver J, and shuttled me from Talari Mountain Lodge back to Hotel Bougainvillea! Unfortunately it was raining, so I didn't get to do any last minute birding, but I did have a family of Cabanis’ Wrens out the window!  But the weird-sounding Grayish Saltator was still singing; I felt like I had come full circle!

Views of the general garden areas

Little pond

Perimeter trails

Views from my room the first night

View from my room the last night

  Part 2: Irazu and Ujarras

  Part 3: Savegre Lodge

  Part 4: Bosque del Tolomuco

  Part 5: Talari Mountain Lodge

  Part 6: Los Cusingos

 Illustrated and Audio Bird Lists


 Dragonflies and Damselflies

 Herps, Mammals, and Other Critters

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