ARENAL LODGE TRAILS – PENNINSULAR TRACK
WEATHER; cloudy with some sunshine and some rain.
Our day started as we met on the main deck outside the restaurant at Arenal Lodge, it was dull and overcast but all of the group turned out.
The large Terrace at Arenal Lodge
We watched the feeders for ½ hour before going in for breakfast. New sightings included Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, White-fronted Parrot, Tawny-capped Euphonia, Emerald Tanager and Red-legged Honeycreeper. A White-throated Shrike Tanager was seen at the main office, the bird was attacking its own reflection in one of the windows.
fancy having these as garden birds!! Wow! Collared Aracari
After breakfast we walked down through the extensive gardens and added a lot more species to the trip list. A Black-crested Coquette was on our most wanted list, we saw a couple them almost straight away. They were joined by Rufous-tailed and Scaly-breasted Hummingbirds as well as a Green Thorntail. A Black-faced Solitaire was a lovely find and two or three Gray-headed Chachalacas bustled through the bushes.
Along the main trail to the Waterfall, birds were few and far between but most of them were quality sightings. A Stripe-breasted Wren proved elusive, but it eventually gave itself up to our enquiring eyes. We added Rufous Mourner, Golden-crowned Warbler and Streak-crowned Antvireo and we searched for a Nightingale-Wren without seeing it. But what a beautiful song it had!
After a quick visit to view the waterfalls we continued along the track to a footbridge where one or two birders were watching an ant swarm! Several ‘ant’ birds were gathered around the swarming ants to pick up the insects that try to escape the ants: we saw Bicoloured and Spot-breasted Antbirds and after some searching we found a Ocellated Antbird. Other species around the swarm included Northern Barred Woodcreeper and a report of a Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo got us excited but we never saw it.
spotted Antshirke - Richard Pettett
Northern Barred Woodcreeper
see how the woodcreeper is beautifully marked
We missed the cuckoo but continued our circular walk back to the centre adding one or two species every few hundred meters. Jason spotted an Ornate Hawk-Eagle through the tree canopy but none us got onto it. However when a Black Hawk-Eagle flew over a little later we all saw that one.
Black Hawk-Eagle taken by Richard Pettett
a Tamandua - type of anteater - taken by Richard Pettett
Another exciting find was a Tamandua, an ant-eater, what a nice surprise and an exciting find, we searched for a Golden-Olive Woodpecker that called but did not show.
Back the Lodge we booked a lunch for 1pm and got served our food at 2pm, slow going, so our afternoon excursion was cut short somewhat. We drove down to a track that circumnavigates the Arenal Lake called Peninsula Road. It was very overcast and rain showers came down occasionally but we saw quite a few new species.
Rufous -tailed Jacamar
Olivaceous Piculet was a crowd pleaser, this diminutive woodpecker is smaller than the Lesser Spotted at home and often very hard to find. Jason proved his worth when he tracked down an elusive Rufous-tailed Jacamar how he spotted it we will never know!
Black-crested Coquette - Richard Pettett
The main target species along the track was the Keel-billed Motmot we saw it in very poor light and at the same time we added one more new bird for the day when Jason found an ‘empidonax flycatcher’ , they are notoriously difficult to separate from one another, he identified it as a Least Flycatcher after having a good look.
We ate dinner early and planned to go out on an owl prowl but it was raining hard so we abandoned it. Two of the group had cabins a short distance from the main centre and as they travelled back to mtheir rooms they saw a Black-and-White Owl sitting on the power lines!