NYC Audubon


Brooklyn Bird Club


     Long Pond Greenbelt
Location: Costa Rica, 2020

Reported by: Joe Giunta

The Happy Warbler Birding group had its ninth annual trip to Costa Rica. The trip was highly successful with a total of 279 species of birds being seen by most members of the group. Members of our flock were: Joe, Chee, Jeff, Kate, Laura, Bobbie, Joe M, Debbie, Bobby, Colleen, Alison and Judanna. 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 and western parts of Costa Rica visiting La Paz, Cano Negro, Celeste Mountain Lodge, Cerro Lodge and Punta Morales. A photo history of our trip was made by Chee and can be found at:!AoyYqvh0v7-PgchHFrG9lYTsDCZk7w

Feb. 1: 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 Bougainvillea, which was fairly close to the airport.

Feb. 2: We were up early and did some birding on the hotel grounds. First bird seen on our trip was the Philadelphia Vireo. It is a hard bird to see in New York but somewhat easy here in the city of San Jose Costa Rica. Other bird North American migrants over wintering in Costa Rica that we saw were: Baltimore Oriole, Summer Tanager, Tennessee Warbler and a Yellow Warbler. Our first real spectacular topical bird was the Lesson's Motmot. After breakfast we packed our stuff and headed towards Cano Negro, 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. Before leaving we saw a Chestnut-capped Brushfinch, the only one on the entire trip. Another stop was at Cinchona-Mirador La Cascada. They also had feeders and at their feeders we saw: Red-headed Barbet, Prong-billed Barbet, Black Guan, and a few Emerald-Toucanets among the 20 or so species feeding there. It was raining but we were protected underneath their canopy. Tennessee Warbler was well represented. The road to Cano Negro goes through a marsh and on this road we saw many species. The highlights were: Bare-throated Tiger Herons, nesting Jabirus, both Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers. We finally made it to Cano Negro, had dinner, did the list and prepared for the next day. Well almost. A quick drive down the road at dark produced a Striped Owl.

Feb. 3: The day was all about the boat rides. We had two rides, one in the morning and another after lunch. One ride went up the river and the other went down the river. For the day we saw all the possible kingfishers. That includes: Ringed, Belted, Amazon, Green, Green-and-Rufous and Pygmy. We saw almost all possible egrets and herons. We had great looks at the Jabiru. In the mangroves we saw numerous Prothonotary Warblers. I came up with a total of 12. Yellow and Chestnut-sided Warblers were also well represented with totals of 17 and 9 respectively. Towards the end of our second boat ride we had many Lesser Nighthawks fly over. We went back to the lodge, had dinner and prepared for a spectacular nighttime birding experience.

We drove down the road to a spot Noel knew very well. He called in a Great Potoo. The bird stayed with us for a good amount of time. We could see the bird's song vibrating in its throat. For many of us it was the highlight of the entire Costa Rican trip. And for more birding excitement we had Pacific Screech-Owls and Black-and-white Owls also seen very well. It was an amazing night.

Feb. 4: Today was mostly a travel day. We did get up early and bird the grounds of the Cano Negro Lodge. One nice bird we saw was the Summer Tanager. It is a North American migrant that spends its winter in the tropics. For our whole trip we would see 12 of them. We did see some other birds on the grounds of the lodge including a number of flycatchers. The birds were: Yellow Tyranulet, Palty Tyranulet and Yellow-bellied Elaenia. We arrived at the Celeste Mountain Lodge, had a great French-Costa Rican fusion dinner and prepared for our next day.

Feb. 5: The conditions were rainy and foggy at Celeste Mountain Lodge. So Noel put us in the van and took us to the other side of the mountain were it was sunny and very hot. One of the highlights of this area was the White-throated Magpie Jay. It is a large bird with an unusual set of feathers on its head. It is very noisy and a real crowd pleaser. We also saw two honeycreepers, the Red-legged and the Green. The food at Celeste is the best. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner at their dining room each day we were there. Most of the meals were served on banana leaves and the meal were explained to us in detail before we ate.

Feb. 6: Celeste Mountain has many trails. Today we explored two of them. On one of the trails there were many antbirds. They are always a favorite of mine and we got excellent looks at the following antbirds: Spotted , Bicolored , Ocellated, Zeledon's (previously called Immaculate) and the Dull-mantled. Woodpeckers and woodcreepers were also well represented on the grounds of Celeste. We saw: Northern Barred and Wedged-billed woodcreepers plus 6 woodpecker species including Golden-olive and Cinnamon. A favorite of the group was the male and female Barred Antshrikes. We had excellent views. At night Noel took us out for some nighttime birding. We all saw a Mottled Owl.

Feb. 7: It was a travel day plus many stops along the way. Birding consisted of a morning walk down the road at Celeste, then a ride to the Sandillal Dam, a stop at the Salt Ponds and finally to Cerro Lodge.

The early morning walk at Celeste produced a beautiful Umbrella Bird. A lifer for everyone except Noel. We all had great looks. A Black-headed Trogon plus a White-whiskered Puffbird were also present. We packed up and drove to the Sandillal Dam where 20,000 Blue-winged Teals over winter. They all were there and it was an amazing slight. Within the large group was one Cinnamon Teal. It was hard to pick out because the bird keep hiding among all the other Blue-winged teals. In the nearby shrubbery were some more Magpie Jays. After the dam we drove to the Salt Ponds. We picked up a good number of shorebirds. We recorded: Long-billed Curlew, Short-billed Dowitcher, Willet, Lesser Yellowlegs and Whimbrel. Royal terns were also present. We checked in at the Cerro Lodge and prepared for our next day.

Feb. 8: Breakfast was in the Cerro Lodge restaurant and we looked at their feeders. We spent most of the day at Caraca National Park with an evening stop at Guacalillo to catch the sunset and a special bird. Caraca has excellent trails. They are well defined and mostly handicapped accessible, not that we needed it but it made for easy birding for the group. The weather was hot but dry and the trails were mostly in the shade which made it even better. We saw many birds at Caraca including: Plain Xenops, Eye-ringed Flatbill, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Green Shrike-Vireo. Our evening stop at Guacalillo was to catch the sunset and one special bird. Noel knew exactly where and when we would see the Lesser Ground Cuckoo. Right on schedule the bird appeared. The sunset was great too!

Feb. 9: It our last complete day of birding. We took a boat ride on the Tarcoles River. We saw 5 of the possible 6 kingfishers (Pygmy, Belted, Ringed, Green, Amazon) just missing the Green-and-rufous. We saw many warblers including: American Redstart, Chestnut-sided, Golden-winged and Prohtonotary . Warbler totals for our trip were: Black-and-white- 10, Tennessee- 8, Yellow- 17, Chestnut-sided-9 and Prothonotary - 12. It is always nice to see our North American migrants enjoying the warm weather of Costa Rica. Summer Tanagers totaled 12 but the real winner was Spotted Sandpiper with 40. We finally left Cerro Lodge and headed back to San Jose. At the Bougainvillea Hotel, just before dinner we did some more birding. We were missing the White-eared Ground Sparrow and Noel wanted to give it one more chance. We dipped on the bird but did see two Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls. A very nice ending. In all we totaled 279 bird species. Feb. 10: It was our last day. We had a boxed breakfast from the Hotel Bougainvillea. 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.


Brown Pelican
Neotropic Cormorant
Magnificent Frigatebird
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
Fasciated Tiger-Heron
Wood Stork
Green Ibis
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Lesser Scaup
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
King Vulture
Swallow-tailed Kite
White-tailed Kite
Snail Kite
Plumbeous Kite
Crane Hawk
White Hawk
Common Black-Hawk
Black-collared Hawk
Gray Hawk
Roadside Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Short-tailed Hawk
Crested Caracara
Yellow-headed Caracara
Laughing Falcon
Bat Falcon
Crested Guan
Black Guan
Limpkinv White-throated Crake
Gray-breasted Crake
Russet-naped Wood-Rail
Purple Gallinule
Northern Jacana
Black-necked Stilt
Double-striped Thick-knee
Southern Lapwing
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Curlew
Lesser Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Ruddy Turnstone
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Laughing Gull
Royal Tern
Black Skimmer
Rock Pigeon
Pale-vented Pigeon
Red-billed Pigeon
White-winged Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Ruddy Ground-Dove
Inca Dove
White-tipped Dove
Gray-headed Dove
Purplish-backed Quail-Dove
Buff-fronted Quail-Dove
Scarlet Macaw
Olive-throated Parakeet
Orange-fronted Parakeet
Orange-chinned Parakeet
Brown-hooded Parrot
White-crowned Parrot
White-fronted Parrot
Red-lored Parrot
Yellow-naped Parrot
Mealy Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo
Groove-billed Ani
Lesser Ground-Cuckoo
Pacific Screech-Owl
Mottled Owl
Black-and-white Owl
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
Striped Owl
Great Potoo
Lesser Nighthawk
White-collared Swift
Vaux's Swift
Green Hermit
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird
Violet Sabrewing
White-necked Jacobin
Brown Violet-ear
Black-crested Coquette
Green Thorntail
Coppery-headed Emerald
Black-bellied Hummingbird
Violet-crowned Woodnymph
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Cinnamon Hummingbird
Steely-vented Hummingbird
White-bellied Mountain-gem
Purple-throated Mountain-gem
Green-crowned Brilliant
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Black-headed Trogon
Collared Trogon
Black-throated Trogon
Slaty-tailed Trogon
Belted Kingfisher
Ringed Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher
Green-and-rufous Kingfisher
American Pygmy Kingfisher
Tody Motmot
Lesson's Motmot
Rufous Motmot
Keel-billed Motmot
Broad-billed Motmot
Turquoise-browed Motmot
White-whiskered Puffbird
Red-headed Barbet
Prong-billed Barbet
Emerald Toucanet
Collared Aracari
Yellow-eared Toucanet
Keel-billed Toucan
Black-mandibled Toucan
Olivaceous Piculet
Black-cheeked Woodpecker
Hoffmann's Woodpecker
Smoky-brown Woodpecker
Rufous-winged Woodpecker
Golden-olive Woodpecker
Cinnamon Woodpecker
Lineated Woodpecker
Pale-billed Woodpecker
Plain Xenops
Long-tailed Woodcreeper
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper
Northern Barred-Woodcreeper
Black-banded Woodcreeper
Cocoa Woodcreeper
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Barred Antshrike
Black-hooded Antshrike
Russet Antshrike
Slaty Antwren
Dot-winged Antwren
Chestnut-backed Antbird
Dull-mantled Antbird
Bicolored Antbird
Spotted Antbird
Ocellated Antbird
Bare-necked Umbrellabird
White-collared Manakin
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet
Yellow Tyrannulet
Greenish Elaenia
Lesser Elaenia
Slaty-capped Flycatcher
Paltry Tyrannulet
Northern Scrub-Flycatcher
Common Tody-Flycatcher
Eye-ringed Flatbill
Yellow-olive Flycatcher
Tropical Pewee
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Long-tailed Tyrant
Nutting's Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Brown-crested Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Cinnamon Becard
White-winged Becard
Rose-throated Becard
Gray-breasted Martin
Mangrove Swallow
Blue-and-white Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Rufous-naped Wren
Spot-breasted Wren
Rufous-breasted Wren
Bay Wren
Banded Wren
Rufous-and-white Wren
House Wren
Clay-colored Thrush
White-lored Gnatcatcher
Tropical Gnatcatcher
White-throated Magpie-Jay
Brown Jay
Yellow-throated Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Tawny-crowned Greenlet
Lesser Greenlet
Green Shrike-Vireo
Rufous-browed Peppershrike
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Tropical Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Prothonotary Warbler
Olive-crowned Yellowthroat
Gray-crowned Yellowthroat
Golden-crowned Warbler
Common Chlorospingus
White-shouldered Tanager
Summer Tanager
Crimson-collared Tanager
Scarlet-rumped Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Yellow-winged Tanager
Palm Tanager
Scrub Euphonia
Yellow-throated Euphonia
Spot-crowned Euphonia
Olive-backed Euphonia
Silver-throated Tanager
Golden-hooded Tanager
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis
Green Honeycreeper
Shining Honeycreeper
Red-legged Honeycreeper
Variable Seedeater
Morelet's Seedeater
Slaty Flowerpiercer
Sooty-faced Finch
Yellow-thighed Finch
Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch
Orange-billed Sparrow
Olive Sparrow
Black-striped Sparrow
Stripe-headed Sparrow
Rufous-collared Sparrow
Grayish Saltator
Buff-throated Saltator
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Painted Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Melodious Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Nicaraguan Grackle
Spot-breasted Oriole
Streak-backed Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Montezuma Oropendola
House Sparrow

Species seen - 279