Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Costa Rica –The Tour Part 1

Pleasant climate, super food and wonderfully friendly people make visiting Costa Rica a real pleasure. However, as a tour leader working for Worldwide Birding Tours, high on the list of priorities for making tours a success is diversity of habitats, stunning scenery and of course a wide variety of wildlife, not to mention the birds! A good variety of birdlife is what keeps fellow travellers involved each day and certainly Costa Rica never fails to deliver. During my latest visit we managed to see over 430 bird species in our 2 weeks, so another successful visit and yet again a very happy group made the whole trip an extremely memorable one.

3 Toed Sloth (male)
Because of the length of this tour, 2 weeks, and because there is so much to tell you, I have broken this blog, or more correctly Trip Report, into 4 parts! The final part will be a bird species list with the centre pieces, parts 2 and 3, giving a day by day account of our fabulous journey. To start with I have decided to list our mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects. I hope you will forgive the drawn out nature of these information packed accounts of my tour.

Green Iguana (male)
Note. The extraordinary number of bird species recorded in Costa Rica is a result of the tremendous diversity of habitats in the country. Not only does Costa Rica have coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea (Atlantic Ocean), but forest types ranging from dry deciduous forests in the lowlands to lush evergreen cloudforests in the highlands. It also has rivers, marshes, swamps and subalpine paramo.

Highland Rubyspot
Worldwide Birding Tour – Costa Rica Comprehensive Tour – February 2015

Tour Leader: Peter Jones (Worldwide Birding Tours & Author)
                     Steven Easley (Birding Guide)

Black River Turtle
Preface: This comprehensive tour of Costa Rica by Worldwide Birding Tours undertook a 2 week journey across a wide range of habitats in this wonderful country, from the highland area of Savegre and the Cerro de la Muerte with its subalpine paramo habitat, to the Tropical Research Institute in La Selva and across to Arenal, where scenery is as much a reward as the birds found under the shadow of the Arenal Volcano. We then ventured northwards to Cano Negro for wetland species and 2 boat rides into the centre of this wetland complex before visiting the high elevations of Monteverde. Finally our tour took us to the lowland Pacific area around the Carara National Park, taking yet another boat ride into the mangroves and the open waters of the Rio Tarcoles.

Arenal Volcano
During the course of our tour we were fortunate to see many other species of Costa Rica’s fauna, other than birds. We manage 18 mammal species, 21 reptile and amphibian species, 24 dragonfly and damselfly species with 35 butterfly species adding to the colourful encounters we had with our visits to various habitats. Our lists are below.

Mammals

2 Toed Sloth
Northern Tamandua or Lesser anteater
Common ‘Tropical’ Opossum
Northern Tamandua
Brown-throated (Three-toed) Sloth
Hoffman’s (Two-toed) Sloth
Nine-banded Armadillo
Long-nosed ‘Proboscis’ Bat
Greater White-lined Bat
Greater Fishing Bat
White-throated Capuchin
Mantled Howler
Central American Spider Monkey
Red-tailed Squirrel
Variegated Squirrel
Central American Aguoti
White-nosed Coati
Long-tailed Weasel
Tayra
Collared Peccary
Red Brocket Deer
Greater Grison

Reptiles and Amphibians

Deppe's Whiptail
American Crocodile
American Crocodile
Green Spiny Lizard
Smooth-skinned Toad
Tropical House Gekko
Green Iguana
Central American Whiptail
Yellow-headed Gekko
Slender Anole
Green Basilisk
Tropical Night Lizard
Strawberry Poison Dart Frog
Spectacled Caiman
Black River Turtle
Valliant’s Frog
Red-eared Slider
Striped Basilisk
Marine Toad
Striped Palm Pit-Viper
Spiny-tailed Iguana
Deppe’s Whiptail
Pacific Basilisk
Litter Skink

Dragon and Damselflies

Tawny Pennant (female)
Red-faced Dragonlet
Chiriqui Meadowhawk
Blue-faced Darner
Highland Rubyspot
Wandering Glider
Grey-waisted Skimmer
Bromeliad Helicopter
Large Woodskimmer
Tawny Pennant
Red-mantled Dragonfly
Plain-tailed Pondhawk
Great Pondhawk
Hyacinth Glider
Spot-tailed Dasher
Amelia’s Threadtail
Plain Amberwing
Red-tailed Skimmer
Smokey Rubyspot
Mangrove Darner
Bluepoint Dancer
Caribbean Yellowface
Andagoya Dragonlet
Red-faced Dragonlet
Olmec Dancer
Redstripe Rubyspot

Butterflies

Menapsis Tigerwing
Temple Scintillant
Monarch
Painted Lady
Cloudless Sulphur
Rusty-tipped Page
Banded Peacock
Zebra Heliconian
Julia Heliconian
Juno Heliconian
Cabbage White
Lamplight Actinote
Mexican Silver Spot
Grining Heliconian
5 Spotted Heliconian
Common Blue Morpho
Blue Morpho
Sara Heliconian
Red Tail Pierella
Short-tailed Morpho
White Peacock
Banded Peacock
Menapsis Tigerwing
Brown Longtail
5 Lined Stripestreak
White Satyr
Orion Cecropian
Wedge Spotted Cattle-Heart
Banded Orange Heliconian
Erato Heliconian
Pale Sicklewing
Montane Heliconian
Tropical Buckeye
Black and Yellow Prestonian
Variable Prestonian
Cryptic Morpho
Isabella's Heliconian
Temple Scintillant
Orange-barred Sulphur
Crimson Patch

Monarch
Well that about sums up the 1st instalment and hope you might follow the blog and read about our remaining adventures on this spectacular tour. Why not consider joining me and Steven next year (2016) on another of our Costa Rican adventure tours? Details of the tour and itinerary can be found on this link

White-nosed Coati

To see other destinations we visit, please visit our main website. Thank you.

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5 comments:

waine said...

I am watching with interest and deciding where to go birding. somewhere different next year, Florida, Panama or Costa Rica? Tempted to join your goodself next January in Costa Rica, I'm sure it would be a laugh, not to mention awesome birding.
Will be giving it serious thought over the next month or so

Peter Jones said...

Hi Waine, I think you would both really enjoy this tour. The diversity and ease of reaching various areas gives it an advantage over other central American countries, plus there are so many more bird species than in Florida. Take a look at some point in the near future when I do the other parts to this blog for bird species and locations. Best wishes, Peter

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Peter I have had this post ready for reading for age but have resisted t as I was so disappointed at not being there. I didn't need to be convinced it was going to be good and I have loved reading your report so far (will read more later). I was wondering if any of the people on this trip this year where from the UK? and wondered how they travelled over to C R. At least I have nearly a year to try and work it out.

Peter Jones said...

Hi Margaret you certainly missed a great trip. Yes 2 couples came from the UK, 1 flew via Madrid and the other via Houston. The key to flying via Madrid would be to spend a night or two extra in San Jose before the main tour begins, the Hotel Bougainvillia makes this a real treat. Lots of folk choose this option and it works. Peter x

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Peter Thanks for getting back to me. Yes I know you said you flew from Madrid but I am travelling from Northern Ireland and that means I would also have to spend a night there as well. DO you know how these people from the UK travelled? If you thought they would be helpful to me, can you send them my email address and I can ask them if you do not know the answer.