NYC Audubon


Brooklyn Bird Club


     Long Pond Greenbelt
Location: Costa Rica, 2019

Reported by: Joe Giunta

The Happy Warbler Birding group had its eighth annual trip to Costa Rica. The trip was highly successful with a total of 265 species of birds being seen by most members of the group. Members of our flock were: Joe, Nancy, Gerry, Eleanor, Sue, Ed, Susan, Gillian, Mariannick, Michele, Jean-Pierre and Isabel With us were our guide Noel and our driver Juan Carlos. Even though Costa Rica is a small country the diversity is tremendous. This year's trip concentrated on the northern part of Costa Rica visiting La Selva, Cano Negro and Arenal. A photo history of our trip was made by Gerry and can be found at

An ebird listing (35 files) of our trip was made by Gillian and can be found on the ebird website

Jan. 22: Our United/Continental Airways flight, out of Newark/Liberty Airport, took off right on schedule. We were greeted at the airport by our guide Noel and our driver Juan Carlos. They would remain with us for the next nine days. We stayed the first night at the Hotel Buena Vista, which was fairly close to the airport.

Jan. 23: We were up early and did some birding on the hotel grounds. First bird seen on our trip was the Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. We would see many of them throughout the trip. For North American migrants over wintering in Costa Rica we saw a Baltimore Oriole and a Yellow Warbler. After breakfast we packed our stuff and headed towards La Selva, our first venue. Before getting there we stopped at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. A beautiful place with many hummingbird feeders. We saw seven different hummingbird species at their feeders. The group's favorite was the Violet Sabrewing, because of its size and beautiful color. We had lunch at their restaurant and then moved on. Another stop was at Cinchona-Mirador La Cascada. They also had feeders and at their feeders we saw: Red-headed Barbet, Prong-billed Barbet and Black-cowled Oriole among the 20 or so species feeding there. Tennessee Warbler was well represented. We finally made it to La Selva, had dinner, did the list and prepared for the next day.

Jan. 24: We were up early, again, about 5:30, did some birding on the grounds and then breakfast at their cafeteria. Some special birds seen in the morning were: Long-tailed Tyrant, Slaty-tailed Trogon, and Cinnamon Becard. Toucans were well represented with good views of: Keel-billed, Yellow-throated and Collared Aracari. It was great to see so many large birds with great colors. We were out in the field for about three hours. We followed this walk with a boat ride on Rio Sarapiqui. Birders love boat rides as the ride gets us close to so many great species. We were on the boat for about two hours and saw Amazon Kingfishers, Green Kingfishers, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron and the spectacular Great Green Macaw. We totaled over 20 species for the ride. We had lunch and then a siesta.

We went out again about 3pm and did birding on the La Selva grounds. We saw more species highlighted by the Rufous-winged Woodpecker and the Dusky-capped Flycatcher. We had dinner in their cafeteria and went out for some owling. We had nice views of the Middle American Screech-owl. Time for bed and get ready for the next day.

Jan. 25: It was our usual routine, up early, some birding on the grounds of La Selva, then breakfast. Today we explored another part of the La Selva reserve and our total number of birds was amazing at over 60 species and most with excellent looks. Noel found a feeding tree and called in many species. We saw: Bananaquit, Golden-hooded Tanager, Summer Tanager, Squirrel Cuckoo, Golden-winged Warbler, Masked Tityra and Mistletoe Tyrannulet among other species. We took a walk down a farm road until we reached a large tree where Great Green Macaws were nesting/roosting. We saw five Macaws, maybe the most beautiful birds in all Central America.

We had lunch, a siesta and then out again for more birding. We visited an area known as El Tigre wet fields off of the Sarapiqui river. Some highlights were: White-throated Crake, Melodious Blackbird and as it started to get dark we saw Lesser Nighthawks and Common Pauraque.

Jan. 26: Same routine for the morning but birding another area in La Selva. Different area and we saw different birds. Flycatchers were high on our list as we saw: Black-headed Tody, Social, Piratic and White-ringed. We also had excellent looks at a Rufous-tailed Jacamar. We picked up our stuff and headed towards our next birding venue which was Cano Negro. Along the way we stopped for lunch at Tiajari and a look at their feeders. Not too much happening here as we only saw the usual Blue-gray and Scarlet-rumped Tanagers.

The entrance road to Cano Negro was much more interesting. We saw over 30 species. Some highlights were: Crested Caracara, Red-breasted Meadowlark, White-tailed Kite and Northern Jacanas. What we saw next might have been the best birding moment of the entire trip. At about 6pm we positioned ourselves at a small bridge next to a lamppost. At exactly 6:10 a Great Potoo flew in and posed for everyone. It was totally amazing. We checked into our lodge, the Natural Lodge Cano Negro, had dinner and prepared for our next day.

Jan. 27: Cano Negro has two major advantages, the River Frio and the great entrance road. This morning we took a boat ride on the Rio Frio. We were on the water a good two hours. We saw many water birds and good numbers of them. Highlights were: Sungrebe, Boat-billed Heron, White Ibis (50), Roseate Spoonbill and Russet-naped Wood-Rail. We saw almost all the herons including: Green, Black-crowned, Little Blue and Great Blue. Egrets were well represented with good numbers of Great, Snowy and Cattle. We had a breakfast break and then went back to the river. We got in the boat, went across the way, got out of the boat walked across a grassland/marsh and had spectacular views of Wood Storks, about 100, and at least six Jabirus. Mixed in were many Roseate Spoonbills. The color, number of the birds made for me the best of the entire Costa Rica Birding trip. On our way back across the grassland/marsh a rare Collared Plover flew in. We all had great looks.

After lunch and a siesta we went back to the river again. The boat went in a different direction and we saw different birds. This part of the river was highlighted by kingfishers. We saw: Ringed, Amazon, Green and Pygmy. For North American migrants we saw three Prothonotary Warblers. We totaled almost 40 species on the afternoon boat ride. Back to the lodge for dinner and then out for some owling. We were very lucky as we saw two Black-and-white Owls and a Pacific Screech-Owl.

Jan. 28: This was our last day in Cano Negro. We did some morning birding before breakfast, 25 species, and then breakfast, picked up our stuff and head towards our next venue, Arenal. We made a stop at a spot called Medio Queso wetland. It was the first time I've ever been here. We saw good birds. At least five Purple Gallinules, a few Snail Kites, and the highlight of the area, a Pinnated Bittern were all seen. The bittern was hard to see as it looks just like the reeds in which it hunts and feeds. Also interesting was a manual operated ferry that goes across a small creek. Leaving this spot we made our way to Arenal. Of course there was another stop along the way. At Rancho Cerro Azul we stopped and Noel exited the bus. Told us to get out and then he called in a family of White-throated magpie Jays. It was a very special birding treat. We finally got to Arenal Observatory Lodge, saw a few species at their feeder, including many Montezuma Oropendolas, had dinner and got ready for our next day.

Jan. 29: Breakfast was in their restaurant and we looked at their feeders. It was hard to miss the eight Great Curassows as they dominated the feeder. Another bird present was an Emerald Tanager. After breakfast we walked four hours on one of their many trails. We saw almost 50 species. Some of the highlights were: Orange-bellied Trogon, Pale-billed Woodpecker, Spotted Antbird (4), Dull-mantled Antbird (with a red eye) and Tawny-capped Euphonia. We spent a good amount of time with the Spotted Antbird because at first we were only seeing females. Finally we got a good look at a male.

We had lunch at their restaurant, took a siesta and then a ride to the Arenal Lake dam. Birding was very slow but we did pick up Black Phoebe and Broad-billed Motmot. Dinner, the list and get ready for another day.

Jan. 30: Up at our usual 6am, breakfast and some birding on the grounds. The feeders again had Great Curassow and Montezuma Oropendola. They were joined by a Collared Aracari. We left Arenal and headed back to San Jose and the Hotel Buena Vista. Noel wanted to get in some birding. We stopped at Virgin del Socorro. A great place with no people and no cars, just a bridge over a fast moving stream. We were looking for American Dipper but came up empty. We did see another Black Phoebe. In the forested area we did see a Zeledon's Antbird (poorly) and a Gray-breasted Wood-Wren. Chestnut-sided Warblers were also present. Of all the North American migrants overwintering in Costa Rica the Chestnut-sided Warbler was the most common and seen at almost every birding venue. We left this spot and arrived at our hotel and had dinner.

Jan. 31: It was our last day. We had a packed breakfast from the Hotel Buena Vista. At about 6am we gathered our stuff and left for the airport. Our United flight took off right on time and landed a few minutes early in a Newark airport. It was a great trip, we saw great birds, made new friends and are already looking forward to do it again next year.


Great Tinamou
Neotropic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Tricolored Heron
Little Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Boat-billed Heron
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron
Pinnated Bittern
Wood Stork
Green Ibis
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Muscovy Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Snail Kite
Harris's Hawk
Gray Hawk
Roadside Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Short-tailed Hawk
Black Hawk-Eagle
Crested Caracara
Bat Falcon
Gray-headed Chachalaca
Crested Guan
Great Curassow
White-throated Crake
Russet-naped Wood-Rail
Purple Gallinule
Northern Jacana
Black-necked Stilt
Southern Lapwing
Collared Plover
Lesser Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Rock Pigeon
Scaled Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Pale-vented Pigeon
Red-billed Pigeon
Short-billed Pigeon
White-winged Dove
Plain-breasted Ground-Dove
Ruddy Ground-Dove
White-tipped Dove
Gray-headed Dove
Gray-chested Dove
Great Green Macaw
Crimson-fronted Parakeet
Olive-throated Parakeet
Orange-chinned Parakeet
Brown-hooded Parrot
White-crowned Parrot
White-fronted Parrot
Red-lored Parrot
Mealy Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo
Groove-billed Ani
Pacific Screech-Owl
Middle American Screech-Owl
Black-and-white Owl
Great Potoo
Lesser Nighthawk
White-collared Swift
Gray-rumped Swift
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift
Green Hermit
Long-billed Hermit
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird
Violet Sabrewing
White-necked Jacobin
Green-breasted Mango
Violet-headed Hummingbird
Green Thorntail
Coppery-headed Emerald
Black-bellied Hummingbird
Crowned Woodnymph
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Blue-chested Hummingbird
White-bellied Mountain-gem
Purple-throated Mountain-gem
Green-crowned Brilliant
Purple-crowned Fairy
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Black-headed Trogon
Garterd Trogon
Orange-bellied Trogon
Black-throated Trogon
Slaty-tailed Trogon
Belted Kingfisher
Ringed Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher
American Pygmy Kingfisher
Rufous Motmot
Broad-billed Motmot
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
White-whiskered Puffbird
Red-headed Barbet
Prong-billed Barbet
Emerald Toucanet
Collared Aracari
Keel-billed Toucan
Black-mandibled Toucan
Black-cheeked Woodpecker
Hoffmann's Woodpecker
Rufous-winged Woodpecker
Golden-olive Woodpecker
Chestnut-colored Woodpecker
Lineated Woodpecker
Pale-billed Woodpecker
Slaty Spinetail
Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Cocoa Woodcreeper
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Fasciated Antshrike
Barred Antshrike
Black-crowned Antshrike
Dusky Antbird
Dull-mantled Antbird
Zeledon's Antbird
Spotted Antbird
Silvery-fronted Tapaculo
Snowy Cotinga
White-collared Manakin
Yellow Tyrannulet
Yellow-bellied Elaenia
Torrent Tyrannulet
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher
Olive-striped Flycatcher
Mistletoe Tyrannulet
Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher
Common Tody-Flycatcher
Yellow-olive Flycatcher
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher
Tufted Flycatcher
Tropical Pewee
Yellowish Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Long-tailed Tyrant
Bright-rumped Attila
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Gray-capped Flycatcher
White-ringed Flycatcher
Piratic Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Cinnamon Becard
Rose-throated Becard
Masked Tityra
Gray-breasted Martin
Mangrove Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
Band-backed Wren
Rufous-naped Wren
Black-throated Wren
Spot-breasted Wren
Stripe-breasted Wren
House Wren
Ochraceous Wren
White-breasted Wood-Wren
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren
Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush
Wood Thrush
Clay-colored Thrush
Tropical Gnatcatcher
White-throated Magpie-Jay
Brown Jay
Yellow-throated Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Lesser Greenlet
Green Shrike-Vireo
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Tropical Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Louisiana Waterthrush
Olive-crowned Yellowthroat
Gray-crowned Yellowthroat
Slate-throated Redstart
Golden-crowned Warbler
Costa Rican Warbler
Buff-rumped Warbler
Dusky-faced Tanager
Carmiol's Tanager
Red-throated Ant-Tanager
Hepatic Tanager
Scarlet Tanager
Summer Tanager
Scarlet-rumped Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Palm Tanager
Yellow-crowned Euphonia
Yellow-throated Euphonia
Olive-backed Euphonia
Tawny-capped Euphonia
Emerald Tanager
Silver-throated Tanager
Bay-headed Tanager
Rufous-winged Tanager
Golden-hooded Tanager
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis
Green Honeycreeper
Shining Honeycreeper
Red-legged Honeycreeper
Blue-black Grassquit
Variable Seedeater
Morelet's Seedeater
Nicaraguan Seed-Finch
Thick-billed Seed-Finch
Yellow-faced Grassquit
Sooty-faced Finch
Orange-billed Sparrow
Black-striped Sparrow
White-eared Ground-Sparrow
Rufous-collared Sparrow
Grayish Saltator
Buff-throated Saltator
Black-headed Saltator
Black-faced Grosbeak
Blue-black Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
Red-breasted Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Melodious Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
Orchard Oriole
Black-cowled Oriole
Chestnut-headed Oropendola
Montezuma Oropendola
House Sparrow

Species seen - 265