A banner.full

Villa Florencia Garden walk - El Copal National Nature Reserve – Turrialba Reservoir

WEATHER; a beautiful day, sunshine throughout, cloudy later with light rain.

Our garden walk was quite productive this morning, a couple of the group had already seen Common Pauraque at dawn and we started listing species with the Montezuma Oropendola, at least 100 pairs are breeding outside the restaurant.

Giant Cowbird and Piratic Flycatcher were added as we walked down across the lawns and then another new species appeared round the back of our apartment block when Phil found an Olive-crowned Yellowthroat. Many other species were recorded, lots of Tanagers, Euphonia and a few American Warblers.

The hanging nests of the Montezuma's Oropendola

Most of the day was taken with our visit to the remote Nature Reserve called El Copel, what a place that is! It took us an hour to get there, we spotted a few species along the way. Roadside Hawk, Laughing Falcon, Great and Cattle Egrets. We stopped several times to scan stretches of rivers, mainly form bridges to look for Sunbittern, they are known to breed in the area, but we never found one.

a Roadside Hawk - sitting by the roadside, what else would it do? Photo by Chris Perry

The steep track to El Copel Reserve centre was too steep for the bus to climb, so we had to walk 500 meters uphill, but it was worth it. Within a few meters we found a Slaty Spinetail. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was next and then we heard the call of the White-throated Crake but it never showed.

the White-vented Euphonia, one of the first birds we saw from the balcony at El Copel. Chris Perry's picture

At the reserve centre the Snowcap Hummingbird was quickly located, what a superb little fellah, a dark brown coat with a bright whiter hat and it is tiny! The wrap-around balcony at the centre was ideal for birding, we could see birds at our eye-level even though they were feeding the in the canopy of the surrounding trees.

male Snowcap above and female below both taken by Chris Perry

White-vented and Tawny-capped Euphonias were feeding close by with Golden-hooded, Crimson-rumped, Silver-throated, Blue-gray and Crimson-collared Tanagers. We also noted Mistletoe Tyrannulet, House Wren and many common species. The hummers kept a lot of the group happy for a couple of hours, Green-thorntail, Snowcap, Rufous-tailed and Purple-throated Mountain-Gem were all on show.

 a pair of Tawny-capped Euphonia's - by Chris Perry

Red-throated Ant-Tanager

Before lunch most of the group went for a walk on the one of the forest trails. We heard Black-capped Nightingale-Thrush and watched Plain Brown Woodcreeper, then a small flock of tanagers held Tawny-capped Tanagers and a possible White-lined Tanager.

Tawny-capped Tanager - Chris Perry

A Russet Antshrike was spotted by Jason and he got most of the group onto it and then he found a Dull-mantled Antbird. Jason then saw a Plain Antvireo but no-one else got to see it. A feeding flock held Blue-and-Gold Tanagers what a bird that one is.

Rufous-winged Woodpecker taken by Chris Perry

Later along the track Jason heard a Cocoa Woodcreeper calling but we could not find it. A Northern Schiffornis was well found and showed well, the wing-clicking of the White-collared Manakin could also be heard, but once again we did not see it.

the beautiful Speckled Tanager appeared in the afternoon - photo by Chris Perry

We had lunch back at the reserve restaurant and then spent another couple of hours watching the garden trees and shrubs from the balcony. At one point a large influx of Tanagers came into the garden, we added Bay-headed and Black-and-Yellow Tanagers (what a beauty) and then the most beautiful of all (in my opinion), the SPECKLED TANAGER appeared, oh my god what a stunner.

Speckled Tanager again - by Chris Perry

Black-and-Yellow Tanager, another beauty taken by Chris Perry

Other birds kept appearing too, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Blackburnian Warbler, Rufous-winged Woodpecker, Cinnamon Becard and others.

It was around 3pm when we left El Copel, we had to walk back down the track to the road where the bus was waiting for us. The rest of the afternoon was spent visiting the large wetlands and reservoir at Turrialba.

Fasciated Tiger Heron, seen along the river taken by Chris Perry

The water was bird-packed with Herons, Egrets, Storks and wildfowl. We found our first Limpkin of the trip and our first Snail Kites. There were dozens of Blue-winged Teal and Lesser Scaup and Jason pulled out a male Northern Pintail (a good bird for Costa Rica).

Northern Pintail with Blue-winged Teal 

Snail Kite - just look at the hook on that bill, poor snails. Taken by Chris Perry

Walking around to the other side of the water we added a few more species. Both Common and Purple Gallinules, Northern Jacana, American Coot, Southern Lapwing, Spotted Sandpiper and our first Wilson’s Snipe.

record shot of a Limpkin

The marsh and lake at Turrialba

In the trees around the water we saw many common species and our last bird seen there was a Brown Woodpecker. We left the area around 5:30pm and made the short trip back to the hotel, we were well pleased with our day’s birding, we added nearly 30 species to the trip total.