A full day at the La Selva Biological Research Station produced some great birds and other interesting sightings.........
Weather: bright sunshine most of the day, cloud late afternoon, very warm and humid
This was a great day for birding in Costa Rica, bright and sunny for most of the day and no wind, perfect except for the heat and humidity. We all met at 6am on the veranda of the restaurant where we drank coffee and watched a number of species coming to the bird tables. A White-nosed Coati came first and devoured most of the bananas put out for the birds. However a few species turned up, Red-throated Ant-Tanagers came in small flocks, a couple of Orange-billed Sparrows dashed about on the ground, a single, male Summer Tanager was stunning, Clay-colored Thrushes and Montezuma Oropendula dropped in.
La Selva Biological Research Station.
What a wonderful place La Selva is, you always have a great days’ birding there and today was no exception it was superb. It has over 4,000 acres of lowland forest which lies adjacent to Braulio Carillo and forms a very important biological corridor between lowland and highland forest. There is an extensive trail system which passes through forest of all ages taking you through many diverse habitats.
We arrived at 8am and signed in for the day, the entrance fee includes a guide who gave us a talk before we set off for our first walk. The open area around the reception is usually good for seeing various species feeding in the shrubs and flowers but today was very quiet, we saw Passerini’s Tanager, Bananaquit, Yellow-bellied Elaenia and to our great delight we found a female Snowy Cotinga, wow what a great start.
The walk began in earnest we spent a great morning watching some superb species, Black–mandibled Toucan, Collared Aracari, Black-throated and Gartered Trogon, Rufous Motmot, Long-tailed Tyrant, Rufous Mourner, we saw our first Woodcreepers in the shape of Streak-headed and the large Northern Barred Woodcreeper. Piratic and Streaked Flycatchers were the first of a dozen or so flycatchers seen today, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher soon followed.
We tracked down a couple of White-collared Manakins at a ‘lek’ we could hear their distinctive ‘wing-clicking’ sound. A Black-throated Wren gave us its beautiful song before showing itself and we went on to seeing another 30 species in the course of the morning. It was not only forest birds on our list, we could often see patches of sky through the forest canopy where we noted several species which included Double-toothed Kite, Broad-winged Hawk, Chimney and Grey-rumped Swifts and best of all, King Vultures. A couple of Green Ibis were seen near a small forest pool and a few mammals were seen, Two-toed Sloth, Variegated Squirrel, Agouti, White-nosed Coati and a Mexican Dwarf Tree Porcupine. The two guides saw a Tayra dash across the track before any of us got onto it.
We ate lunch back at the visitor’s centre and enjoyed an hour’s rest before setting off for a second walk at 2pm. Flycatchers were the order of the day, they popped up everywhere, we soon added a few more to our list, Yellow-bellied, Yellow-margined, Yellow-olive Flycatchers, Paltry Tyrannulet, Common Tody Flycatcher and Bright-rumped Atilla. We crossed over a large suspended foot-bridge after watching Crested Guans feeding in the tree tops and then walked through the main research compound where a series of huts provided accommodation and work stations for the researchers and university students.
As we passed through we noted Olive-backed Euphonia, Pale-vented Thrush, Chestnut-side Warbler and a few other species. During the afternoon forest walk we found Purple-throated Fruitcrow, what a superb bird for our list, everyone had scoped views of it. We also saw both Broad-billed and Rufous Motmots, a Rufous-tailed Jacamar called but failed to show and a White-necked Puffbird was found high in the canopy. A couple of Short-billed Pigeons fed high up whilst a Grey-chested Dove walked on the forest floor.
One other highlight was the finding of a Vermiculated Screech-Owl, our local guide was superb in tracking it down. Towards the late afternoon bird activity increased and whilst back in the research compound we found several more goodies, Red-capped Manakin, Olive-backed Euphonias and Golden-winged Warbler were all seen feeding in the same tree whilst higher up we added the large Mealy Parrot. One last highlight was the finding of a Great Currasow some of the group really wanted this species and thought we were going home without it.
Apart from the 70+ species of birds, we listed many butterflies, we saw interesting insects, an Eyelash Palm Pit-Viper, some Honduran White Bats and some lovely flowering plants. We left this memorable place very happy after a wonderful day out with some excellent species on our list.