Sunday, November 15, 2015

Continuing Costa Rica Coverage: Lifering on the South Pacific Slope

Ahem. Cough. Well, as I promised last February, there is still more blogging to do...about Costa Rica! No, I was not in Costa Rica earlier this year...or last year...but I was the year before! So since I am a committed blogger and the local rarity train has drastically slowed, I think its time to catch up a little bit. After all, it is getting colder, and I haven't left the country in almost two years now...being migratory by nature, I'm getting restless. Its time to think about going down south again. In fact, I am going down south...not as far as Costa Rica, but to a place I've never been that is sure to be rich with lifers. Lifers! Don't you love those things? Seems they are hard to come by these days...but come January, that is all going to change. My U.S. #7 status will suddenly becoming meaningless, and I will be free to misidentify strange and foreign birds at will. I will be reckless.

But I digress. Here is some more coverage from the San Vito area, which is on the Pacific Slope down near the Panamanian border. Good birds are there, I wish we just had a little more time to slay more new shit.

Life birds are great no matter what they are, but life raptors? That is a thing of beauty. This Double-toothed Kite was indeed a life raptor, and I was glad to meet it. Luckily it was visible overhead in a small gap in the forest canopy, if it sat anywhere else we would have never seen it. Photographed at Las Cruces OTS/Wilson Botanical Garden.

This Tawny-winged Woodcreeper was also a sweet sweet lifer, although not one that I had previously been yearning for very strongly. New woodcreepers are great, but you don't exactly drool over them in field guides the way you do with hawk-eagles and the like. This was the only one of the trip. Photographed at Las Cruces OTS/Wilson Botanical Garden.

Crested Oropendola! This bird was definitely a major target while we were birding the area. I don't actually have a strong memory of seeing this bird, probably because it was so bloody hot out. This is a highly range-restricted bird in Costa Rica, just coming over the border from Panama, definitely an area specialty. Lifer. Obvi. Photographed near San Vito.

Anis are not hard to come by in Central America, it is known. This roadside Smooth-billed Ani was very cooperative, allowing for a solid crushing. Weird birds. Highly likable. But they are not groovy. That is a different species. Photographed near San Vito.

I find it odd that there has been such a decline of these birds in's not like there aren't a lot of them or that they can't handle human disturbance. Did they used to only occupy a very specific habitat type in Florida, anybody know? At any rate, if you want to see a bunch of these birds, expect to run across them in southern Costa Rica.

Bananaquit, another occasional visitor to Florida. I believe this was photographed at Finca Cantaros, where you can pay a small fee and bird the property. Here they feed tanagers and you can actually see a Masked Duck. In fact, a certain someone guaranteed we would see a Masked Duck there...which of course did not happen, but apparently they hang out at the pond there on the regular. I don't think I will ever see a Masked is pain.

Bananaquits are common in Costa Rica, if you go expect to see hella. They're charming little bastards. Finca Cantaros is right on the way to San Vito, on the way to Wilson Botanical Garden. If you're looking for another area to bird near Wilson, this is a good place to start.

This Golden-olive Woodpecker was the highlight of a medium-sized but relatively raging mixed flock. I would like to look at more of them. Photographed at Finca Cantaros.

I haven't included an absolute crippler yet in this post, so I will rectify that now with a Speckled Tanager. Easily one of the most mesmerizing bird species I have ever seen. Photographed at Finca Cantaros.

One morning Dipper Dan and I headed east out of San Vito to Las Alturas...I've never met anyone who has birded there but the bird list in the birdfinding guide was nothing to be scoffed at. And how was the birding? was fucking sick. Go there. Take a look at the site list in eBird. If and when I find myself in that part of the world again, I will not pass up another shot to bird here. We hit some good mixed flocks, which included Masked Tityras...not a rare bird by any means but a bizarre one that is incredibly distracting when you are trying to suss out less common species. I expect to be reacquainting myself with these birds in a couple months.

I like Crested Guans. I don't think of them as majestic by any means, but this bird certainly goes for that descriptor in this photo.

Looks more like an arboreal dinosaur here. I'm into it.

Chestnut-mandibled (or Black-mandibled...or it what you think is best) Toucans are, thankfully, very easy to find in the country. Look at it. Does your face feel weird...maybe like it is melting? For someone who does not get to look at toucans every day, it's one of those birds that makes you wonder "how is this a real thing?".

Well, someday I will finish my Costa Rica coverage, and now we are one post closer to actually getting there. I still don't know what is up with blogger refusing to format my photos correctly (any other bloggers experiencing this?), so I'll continue to roll with these smaller ones for the time being. They are clickable though! Make them big! Don't be scurred!


  1. Perhaps I just have a weird furnariid fetish, but I do drool over some of them when I look at field guides. The Long-billed Woodcreeper is worth drooling over. All the scythebills are as well. And I haven't been in the range of the Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper, but I've drooled over its image in a field guide or two. But don't get me wrong - I drool over hawk-eagles as well...

    1. Strong-billed Woodcreeper is actually one of the tropical birds I want to see the most...I was gripped off a few years back, and it still stings.

    2. Understandable - those Xiphocolaptes woodcreepers are beasts. On my most recent trip south of the US, Great Rufous Woodcreeper was among my most-wanted birds, and I was not disappointed.