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COSTA RICA

18 March–4 April 2020

Costa Rica has a well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s great birding destinations. Our new and expanded tour includes a visit to the southwest for Charming Hummingbird, Black-cheeked Ant-tanager and many other localised species, three boat trips and visits to many of the best feeding stations. With comfortable lodging, delicious food, incredible scenery and 500+ bird species expected, this is a trip no birder will want to miss.

Day 1 Flight from London to San José followed by a 15-minute transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 2 We will make an early start this morning for a full day of birding in the dry Guanacaste. Our first stop will be in the mangroves and we should waste no time in securing our first endemic in Mangrove Hummingbird. Other mangrove specialities we will search for here include Northern Scrub-flycatcher, Panama Flycatcher and Mangrove Vireo. Dry forest species nearby include Ferruginous Pygmy-owl, the dazzling Turquoise-browed Motmot, Rufous-naped Wren, White-throated Magpie-jay, Stripe-headed Sparrow, Streak-backed Oriole and perhaps wintering Painted Bunting. Along the coast we will see Magnificent Frigatebird and Brown Pelican along with various terns, herons, egrets and waders. We will visit two wetland sites near to the coast today, giving us chances for Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, Black Skimmer, Marbled Godwit, Stilt Sandpiper and Wilson’s Plover amongst many others. Forest patches nearby may yield various raptors including Zone-tailed Hawk and Common Black Hawk as well as Orange-fronted Parakeet, Yellow-naped Parrot, Lesser Ground-cuckoo, Cinnamon Hummingbird, White-lored Gnatcatcher and a multitude of tyrant-flycatchers, with Scissor-tailed Flycatcher perhaps being the crowd favourite. Later we will find ourselves on a side road searching for Double-striped Thick-knee, Black-headed Trogon, Olive Sparrow and, with luck, a covey of Crested (Spot-bellied) Bobwhite. Our accommodation for the next two nights is a lovely hotel nestled in a rain-forested valley and located next to Carara National Park; it is the perfect base from which to explore this bird-rich zone of the Central Pacific lowlands.

Day 3 We will begin our birding today just outside our rooms. The raucous calls of Scarlet Macaw and the haunting growls of Mantled Howlers will no doubt add some excitement to our morning. Slaty-tailed and Gartered Trogons, Lesson’s Motmot and Yellow-throated Toucan are some of the larger fare we can find in the garden, while Riverside Wren and the various flycatchers, euphonias, tanagers and honeycreepers take a little more skill to identify. After breakfast we will make the short drive to Carara National Park – one of the most productive birding sites in all of Costa Rica. Many of the lowland Pacific rainforest specialities can be found here and we will make special effort to locate as many of these as possible, including the newly split Chiriqui Foliage-gleaner, Black-hooded Antshrike, Streak-chested Antpitta, Orange-collared Manakin and Black-bellied Wren, while also taking in more widespread species such as White-whiskered Puffbird, Black-faced Antthrush, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Dot-winged Antwren, Rufous Piha, Golden-crowned Spadebill, both Red-capped and Blue-crowned Manakins and Orange-billed Sparrow. Raptors possible here include King Vulture, Double-toothed Kite and the reclusive Collared Forest-falcon to name but a few. Over the past two decades, the spectacular Scarlet Macaws have done very well in the Carara area and are now a common and welcomed sight. Mammals possible here include three species of monkey: Mantled Howler, Central American Spider and White-throated Capuchin. White-nosed Coati and Central American Agouti are often seen in the forest undergrowth of the park. Reptiles are common, with Green and Spiny-tailed Iguanas and Central American Whiptail all being conspicuous. Tonight we will search for the stunning Striped Owl as well as the resident Spectacled Owls at the lodge.

Day 4 By 06.00 we will be boarding our boat for a ride along the Tarcoles River. Birdlife is prolific here and most of the wildlife is fairly tame, making for excellent photo opportunities. As we cruise along small, mangrove-lined channels we will no doubt see an impressive number of herons and egrets, with Boat-billed Heron often being the star, although Bare-throated Tiger-heron is a close second. Yellow-crowned Night-heron is also present along with White Ibis, Osprey, the mangrove subspecies of Common Black Hawk, Northern Jacana, Collared and Semipalmated Plovers, Yellow (Mangrove) Warbler and Rufous-browed Peppershrike. We also have another chance for the endemic Mangrove Hummingbird. No less than five species of kingfisher can be found here and we will make a concerted effort to locate the smallest of these in the New World: the precious American Pygmy Kingfisher. Other wildlife here includes huge Central American Crocodiles which can be found along the riverbanks, sunning themselves as if posing for photos, while Crab-eating Raccoon can sometimes be seen poking around along the banks as well. After this productive boat ride we will return for a late breakfast and then load up for our journey to the southwest. Road improvements over the past few years will allow us to reach this unique area in time for some afternoon birding. Agricultural areas near to our lodge come alive in the late afternoon with Blue-headed Parrot, Brown-throated Parakeet, Smooth-billed Ani, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Olivaceous Piculet, Pale-breasted Spinetail and of course a variety of flycatchers that will give any novice birder in the Neotropics pause for thought. Our base for the next two nights is a lodge tucked into a corner next to Piedras Blancas National Park. We have another chance for Spectacled and Striped Owls this evening and we will almost certainly have views of Common Pauraque during our search.

Day 5 An early morning walk in the gardens of our lodge will be time well spent. Crested Guan and Great Curassow are often present along with southwestern specialities such as Charming Hummingbird, Baird’s Trogon, Golden-naped Woodpecker and Spot-crowned Euphonia, to name just a few. Other notable species here include Grey-headed Kite, Band-tailed Barbthroat, the impressive Black-striped Woodcreeper and Royal Flycatcher. Our main target this morning, however, is the localised endemic Black-cheeked Ant-tanager, which is found commonly just inside the forest trails of our lodge. This understorey species is only found in the understorey rainforest surrounding Golfo Dulce and the adjacent Osa Peninsula in southwestern Costa Rica. After this productive morning, lunch and a short siesta, we will head off to take in the agricultural areas near Ciudad Neily to the south. A plethora of excellent birds awaits us here, including Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Grey-lined, Savanna and Roadside Hawks, the localised Veraguan Mango, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird (which was first found in Costa Rica by our local guide), Grey-cowled Wood-rail, the charismatic Fork-tailed Flycatcher, the newly-split Isthmian Wren and an impressive array of seedeaters, including Ruddy-breasted and Yellow-bellied to name but a couple. We will arrive back at the lodge after dark but hopefully with a long list of new birds.

Day 6 This morning includes another new area for our trips to Costa Rica: Rincon Bridge on the Osa Peninsula. We will depart before dawn with our luggage in order to arrive at the birding site at first light. A brace of cotingas will be our first focus, with Yellow-billed likely and Turquoise possible. The pure white of the Yellow-billed Cotinga as it flies over the forested backdrop is truly inspiring. Also present here are Mealy and Red-lored Parrots, Fiery-billed Aracari, White-necked Puffbird, various raptors, tityras, tanagers, euphonias…they just keep coming! We will also keep an eye on the river for Neotropical River Otter, with various herons, egrets, waders and kingfishers present nearby. As we backtrack to the main road, we will look out for Laughing Falcon. Once on the main road we will make the long transfer to San Isidro, located at the base of the Cordillera Talamanca. Should we still lack Turquoise Cotinga, we will make another effort close to town for this electric blue stunner. Ascending slightly up the southern spine of Costa Rica, we will soon pause for a visit to Tolomuco Lodge. Hummingbird feeders and flowers are present as well as banana feeders and these entice a multitude of birds to the garden. We will be on the lookout for Long-billed Starthroat, the bold and beautiful Violet Sabrewing, Green-crowned Brilliant and the localised White-tailed Emerald, while the bananas attract Scarlet-rumped (Cherrie’s race), Silver-throated and Speckled Tanagers, White-naped Brushfinch and gorgeous Baltimore Orioles and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks to name a few. Two wildly attractive birds that we will be looking for in the mistletoe berries are Elegant Euphonia and Golden-browed Chlorophonia along with the more subtle Mistletoe Tyrannulet. Leaving the feeders, we will continue by bus, climbing to the highest section of the Pan-American Highway in Costa Rica at an altitude of 3400 metres. Time permitting, we will take a side road to secure Volcano Junco and try and coax out the more timid Timberline Wren. It will be quite chilly here – a welcome relief from the hot and humid lowlands we left behind. Our destination for the next two nights is located down the Savegre Valley at an altitude of 2200 metres. A working apple and peach farm with trout ponds as well, the hotel is superbly situated to take in the unique species of the oak montane forests which surround us. Expect a cool evening as well as a delicious dinner, with fresh trout being the speciality.

Day 7 During our time in the highlands we will focus on searching out the many Chiriqui Highland near-endemics occurring here. These are species found only in the highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama. The cool early morning will find us huddled at the coffee-maker on the back porch, while a subsequent walk into the nearby forest should produce a nice selection of birds including Spotted Wood-quail, Ruddy-capped Nightingale-thrush and Chestnut-capped Brushfinch. Once the sun appears over the high mountain peaks, it warms up nicely and the birds become very active. We will watch for social groups of Acorn Woodpeckers, Tufted Flycatcher, Mountain Elaenia, Dark Pewee, Philadelphia, Yellow-winged and Brown-capped Vireos, glorious Long-tailed Silky-flycatchers, Sooty-capped Chlorospingus, Flame-coloured Tanager, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Yellow-thighed Finch and many others. Hummingbirds at this altitude include the tiny Scintillant and Volcano Hummingbirds, the recently split Talamanca Hummingbird and White-throated Mountain-gem. The attractive resident subspecies of Red-tailed Hawk can sometimes be seen soaring above the lodge while flocks of Sulphur-winged Parakeet zip past to their favourite fruiting trees. After breakfast we will take a 4x4 vehicle to the trailheads above. Now on foot, in the primary oak forests we will look for more near-endemics including Ruddy Treerunner, Streak-breasted Treehunter, Black-billed Nightingale-thrush, Black-faced Solitaire, Flame-throated and Black-cheeked Warblers, Collared Redstart and Large-footed Finch. Buffy Tuftedcheek and Spot-crowned Woodcreeper are also present, though more widespread overall. We hope to encounter a small flock of the very uncommon and somewhat nomadic Silvery-throated Jay while birding this impressive forest. As if that wasn’t enough, the Savegre Valley is also home to the amazing Resplendent Quetzal which can sometimes be found in the fruiting aguacatillo trees in the valley. After lunch and a siesta we will continue birding the valley, perhaps taking in a local feeding station for close-up views of many hummingbirds including the aptly named Fiery-throated Hummingbird, various colourful tanagers and Sooty and Mountain Thrushes. At dusk we will make an effort to find another near-endemic: the local Dusky Nightjar.

Day 8 After some final birding in the Savegre Valley we will load up and drive to Providencia Road, where a higher oak montane zone awaits. Among many other species, we hope to find Costa Rican Pygmy-owl, the very local Ochraceous Pewee, Black-capped Flycatcher, Barred Becard and Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher. Back on the Pan-American Highway, we will head north to Cartago – the old capital of Costa Rica – before diverting to the Orosi Valley. We will begin our birding in the coffee plantations, targeting the local and endemic Cabanis’s Ground-sparrow. Other species we may encounter include White-crowned Parrot, Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Chestnut-headed and Montezuma Oropendolas, Cabanis’s Wren and various wintering warblers and vireos. Our overnight accommodation is a lovely resort located next to a creek with hot springs. After dinner we will look for owls including Tropical Screech-owl and Mottled Owl.

Day 9 An early morning stroll in the gardens usually produces the gorgeous Sunbittern and we hope to get excellent views of this iconic species. We will then drive a short distance to bird a waterworks road through forest at a location known as Rio Macho. Here, in the lush middle-elevation forest, we will search out mixed-species flocks which often hold Red-headed Barbet, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Red-faced Spinetail, Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Golden-bellied Flycatcher, Blackburnian and Golden-winged Warblers, White-winged Tanager, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Tawny-capped Euphonia and many others. The skulking Zeledon’s Antbird occurs here and we will certainly try to coax one of these army ant followers into view. Raptors we will be on the lookout for include the common Broad-winged Hawk as well as the less common Bat Falcon. After backtracking through Cartago we will ascend the slopes of Irazu Volcano where our targets include Buffy-crowned Wood-partridge, Bare-shanked Screech-owl and maybe Wrenthrush (Zeledonia). Following our visit to Irazu we will enter the central valley from the south, bypassing San José to a degree, and then take the Braulio Carrillo road to the waiting Caribbean lowlands below. Our destination is a very comfortable hotel, which will be our base for the next three nights. Excellent food, great service, rooms with AC, fruit feeders for birds and lovely gardens will make our stay here a delight.

Day 10 La Selva OTS is widely considered to offer the best Caribbean lowland birding in Costa Rica and has one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. The habitat is mainly primary rainforest, with scattered patches of secondary growth, slow-moving rivers and muddy lazy creeks. Expect a list of over 100 species today, with many quality sightings. We will begin along the entrance road in the early morning and then move to the many forested trails within. Beware of whiplash, as the birds will be coming quickly and from every direction! Species we may expect today include Great Tinamou, Grey-headed Chachalaca, Short-billed Pigeon, Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Aracari, Black-throated Trogon, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Rufous and Broad-billed Motmots, Pale-billed and Lineated Woodpeckers, Northern Barred-woodcreeper, Wedge-billed and Cocoa Woodcreepers, Black-crowned Antshrike, White-ringed Flycatcher, the diminutive Black-capped Pygmy-tyrant, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, the immaculate Snowy Cotinga, Band-backed, Black-throated and Stripe-breasted Wrens, Red-throated Ant-tanager, Dusky-faced, Golden-hooded and Plain-coloured Tanagers, Green and Shining Honeycreepers and several species of euphonia, to give just a sample. After lunch and a short siesta at our hotel, we will make a concerted effort to locate the glorious Great Green Macaw – a species that has made a comeback in this area of late. Back in La Selva, we will continue our efforts, hoping for one or two of the difficult birds that sometimes magically appear here, including Semiplumbeous Hawk, Agami Heron, Olive-backed Quail-dove, Middle American Screech-owl and Spot-fronted Swift. Mammals occurring here include Collared Peccary, Mantled Howler, both Two-toed and Three-toed Sloths, Tayra and Long-nosed Bat. The large trees along the Sarapiqui River are home to a large population of Green Iguanas, some measuring well over a metre in length. Today will also give us a good opportunity to see Strawberry Poison Dart Frog, aka “Blue Jeans”. Though hot and humid at times, our day at La Selva always produces a dazzling array of birds and other wildlife.

Day 11 We will leave early this morning to bird a rocky rushing river where Fasciated Tiger-heron likes to hunt. In the gallery forest lining the river, we will watch for Cinnamon Woodpecker, Buff-rumped Warbler and Scarlet-rumped Cacique among others. Moving on, our next destination will be Braulio Carrillo National Park, one of the largest and most accessible Caribbean foothill forests. Although sometimes very quiet, an encounter with a mixed-species flock will make it all worthwhile. These flocks can contain Russet Antshrike, Streak-crowned Antvireo, Green Shrike-vireo, Emerald and Tawny-crested Tanagers, White-ruffed Manakin and Black-faced Grosbeak to name but a few. A host of difficult species occurs in the park and, with luck, we may find Yellow-eared Toucanet, Lattice-tailed Trogon and Blue-and-gold Tanager. Another site we will visit very close by contains flowering bushes where, with patience, we can usually find Violet-headed Hummingbird, the incomparable Snowcap and the dressed-to-impress Black-crested Coquette. After lunch we will visit Cope’s feeders. At first you might think, “Why are we stopping here?” but upon entering the hide it becomes obvious. White-necked Jacobin, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer and Stripe-throated and Long-billed Hermits all jostle for position at the nectar feeders while woodpeckers, honeycreepers, tanagers, oropendolas and euphonias fight over the bananas and papaya. Seemingly anything can show up in this garden with a pond, including Green Kingfisher, Russet-naped Wood-rail and even the occasional White-tipped Sicklebill! It doesn’t get much better than tasty coffee and cookies with birds at arm’s length! Pulling ourselves away from the feeders we will make a diversion into gallery forest nearby. Roosting Spectacled Owl is our focus and it rarely disappoints. Our chances are lower for finding a roosting Crested Owl but they do occur. One of the most precious mammals you could ever wish to see also occurs here. First we need to find a chewed rachis of a heliconia leaf, folded downwards forming a tent. If we look underneath, with luck there will be a roosting group of Honduran White Bats. This is one of several species of tent-making bat in the Neotropics, but by far the most adorable. By now it will be late in the afternoon and we will drive back to the hotel for our third and final night in the Sarapiqui area.

Day 12 This morning we will ascend into the Caribbean foothill and middle-elevation forests on the slopes of Poas Volcano, where the cooler climate will certainly be a nice change from the lowlands. Our first stop will be in the La Virgen del Socorro Valley. As we bird this steep, forested valley we will eventually find a mixed-species flock which may hold Collared Trogon, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Black-headed Tody-flycatcher, Slaty-capped Flycatcher, Pale-vented Thrush, Tropical Parula, numerous wintering warblers and a long list of colourful tanagers. On sunny days, raptors may steal the show, with Barred and White Hawks and both Black and Ornate Hawk-eagles present here. Swifts – from the small Vaux’s to the very large White-collared – are prevalent in the valley and are all amazing fliers. The rushing river below is home to Torrent Tyrannulet, American Dipper and wintering Louisiana Waterthrush, all with different techniques for catching their prey. Late this morning we will make our way up to La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Though a tourist destination with all that entails, it is very scenic and one can get outrageous views of some normally difficult hummingbirds. Expect no less than ten species at the feeders here, including Green Hermit, the endemic Coppery-headed Emerald, the local and unique Black-bellied Hummingbird, the local White-bellied Mountain-gem with its cousin Purple-throated Mountain-gem and the fancy Green Thorntail. A search around the trail edges typically produces the local Sooty-faced Finch as well as the rather shy Slaty-backed Nightingale-thrush. A mixed flock here often contains Spotted Barbtail, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Costa Rican Warbler, Slate-throated Redstart, Spangle-cheeked Tanager and many others. We will have a buffet lunch before walking it off on a scenic trail which takes us past several spectacular waterfalls. We will then load up and set off for the Arenal Volcano, stopping at a very productive feeding station for some late-afternoon birding. Like Cope’s, one might wonder why we are stopping at this reserve, literally on the very edge of La Fortuna. Again, within minutes it will become very clear. On the fruit feeders we can expect woodpeckers, tanagers, honeycreepers and saltators, while around the edges of the small, man-made pond we will watch for White-throated Crake. The forest trails usually produce Slaty Spinetail, Barred Antshrike, White-collared Manakin, Wood Thrush and Ovenbird. We will also make a special effort to locate the rare and local Uniform Crake, which is resident here in the dense undergrowth. Both species of sloth occur in the reserve as well as the always-impressive Green Basilisk lizard, which has to be seen to be believed. Our accommodation for the next two nights will be at a lovely lodge located in the shadows of the Arenal Volcano.

Day 13 Starting early, we will focus our attention on the shy forest species. The antbirds are well represented here and we may find several including Spotted, Bicoloured, Dull-mantled and Dusky. With luck, the spectacular Ocellated Antbird might also make an appearance. Other denizens of the dark forest here include Thicket Antpitta, Nightingale and Song Wrens and Black-headed Nightingale-thrush to name but a few. Mixed-species flocks may hold Orange-bellied Trogon, Spotted Woodcreeper, the amazing Brown-billed Scythebill, Striped Woodhaunter, Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner, Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher and Black-and-yellow and Carmiol’s Tanagers – all taking their cues from the sentinel White-throated Shrike-tanager. In the gardens of our lodge, amongst the flowering Vervain and fruiting trees, we hope to find Crowned Woodnymph, Brown Violetear, toucans, woodpeckers, parrots, tyrant flycatchers, wrens, tanagers, honeycreepers and many more. In the afternoon we will bird the edges of Lake Arenal and adjacent forests. Targets here, amongst many more common species, include Pied-billed Grebe, Keel-billed Motmot, Great Antshrike, Bare-crowned Antbird, White-fronted Nunbird and Yellow-billed Cacique. The entire Arenal Volcano area is excellent for raptors, so we will keep watch for Swallow-tailed Kite and Short-tailed and Grey Hawks among others. We will return to our lodge for dinner and our nightly listing before setting out on a night excursion where the rewards might be Black-and-white Owl and perhaps a nocturnal mammal or two.

Day 14 After an initial look around the gardens and fruit feeders at the lodge, we will go just down the road and visit a hanging bridge site known as Arenal Sky Walk. The trails here allow for great access to the forest, where we will look for any species we may have missed thus far. The two hanging bridges will give us access to the canopy, a real treat should we connect with a mixed-species flock. Further along the trail we will scan from a mirador that can be excellent for hawk watching. After our visit here we will have lunch in La Fortuna before making the transfer to the far central-north sector of Costa Rica. A slight detour typically produces Plain-breasted Ground-dove, Green-breasted Mango and the uncommon and local Nicaraguan Seed-finch among others. Now just a few kilometres from the Nicaraguan border near Los Chiles, we will visit a Caribbean lowland wetland known as Medio Queso. This site has been a real gold mine for species once considered very difficult to find in Costa Rica. We will explore this area from a boat, watching for the likes of Black-collared Hawk, various ducks, Pinnated and Least Bitterns, herons galore, Anhinga, Neotropic Cormorant, Purple Gallinule, the precious Yellow-breasted Crake, numerous kingfishers, the recently split Canebrake Wren, up to three species of yellowthroat, Red-breasted Meadowlark and occasionally even the gigantic Jabiru. One main target here is the highly localised, wetland-loving Nicaraguan Grackle. These unique grackles arrive from Lake Nicaragua by late January to breed in the thick vegetation along the waterways here and at nearby Cano Negro. By late July they have completed their breeding and return to Nicaragua. After this truly magical boat ride we will make our way to our hotel, spotlighting along the dirt entrance road. Nocturnal species are well represented here and possibilities include the huge Great Potoo, the smaller Common Potoo and Pacific Screech-owl. We will have an overnight stay at a lodge adjacent to the famous Cano Negro wetlands.

Day 15 We will begin in the forest patches near to the lodge, targeting the specialities of this area which include Grey-headed Dove and Spot-breasted Wren amongst other notables such as Mangrove Cuckoo, Pied Puffbird, Chestnut-coloured and Rufous-winged Woodpeckers, Northern Beardless-tyrannulet and White-winged Becard. Our boat ride on Rio Frio near Lake Cano Negro will certainly produce many close-up views of riverine species which should include many heron species, the odd-looking Green Ibis, various ducks and waders, the highly sought-after Sungrebe, Striped Cuckoo and Prothonotary Warbler; we will also have more chances for Nicaraguan Grackle. Green Iguanas are a common sight as they soak up the sun high in the trees, while menacing-looking Spectacled Caiman are abundant on the edges of the river. After this productive boat ride and lunch at the lodge, we will load up for the long transfer to a completely different eco-zone: the cloud forest of Monteverde. The cool and very comfortable lodge, which will be our base for the next two nights, will provide a fitting finale to our birding tour of Costa Rica.

Day 16 An early walk in the gardens usually produces some excellent birds including Black-breasted Wood-quail, Northern Emerald-toucanet, White-fronted Parrot, Orange-billed Nightingale-thrush, various warblers and vireos, the attractive White-eared Ground-sparrow and many others. After breakfast we will visit the nearby Curi Cancha Reserve. Our main target here is the amazing male Three-wattled Bellbird, which, at this time of year, is engaging in full breeding behaviour. Watching it call from a prominent perch certainly makes a birder ponder not only the three black, worm-like wattles hanging from the base of its beak but also the loud and peculiar sound it makes. Once we have secured excellent views of the bellbird, we will focus temporarily on the hummingbird feeders nearby. Here, one can watch the likes of the very local Magenta-throated Woodstar, Lesser Violetear and Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, all just a couple of metres away. A walk through the forested trails of this reserve may produce Black Guan, the elusive ground-dwelling Grey-throated Leaftosser, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Plain Antvireo, White-throated Thrush and Kentucky Warbler to name but a few. Our visit here will also give us another opportunity to enjoy the absolute beauty of the Resplendent Quetzals which reside here. Mammals of this area include Red Brocket Deer, both sloths, Mantled Howler, Central American Spider Monkey, White-throated Capuchin, White-nosed Coati and Central American Agouti. The afternoon will find us at the slightly drier Ecological Sanctuary. Targets here include the reclusive Chiriqui Quail-dove, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Rufous-and-white Wren and Red-crowned Ant-tanager. We also won’t want to miss the delicate Long-tailed Manakins which lek on the reserve. Should we still need Mottled Owl, we can make an attempt in the gardens of our hotel before our final dinner together in Costa Rica.

Day 17 Depending on our flight schedule and which birds we lack in the Monteverde area, we will make good use of this final early morning of the tour. Eventually, we will load up and make the descent to the Pacific lowlands before winding our way up the central valley to San José International Airport in time for our overnight flight to London, arriving on Day 18.

General Information The climate varies from hot and humid in the rainforests to very cool/cold in the highland zones. Some rain is possible, especially on the Caribbean side. The tour pace is moderate, although at altitude extra effort is needed. There are some health requirements which should be referred to your GP. Insects can be a minor problem at some localities and repellent is recommended. The tour is run in partnership with Costa Rica Gateway, the premier birdwatching tour company in Costa Rica.

Group size Minimum number for tour to go ahead: 6; maximum group size: 12 with main leaders and local guides.

Collared Aracari

Collared Aracari

Recommended books available from NHBS