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ULTIMATE COSTA RICA

Sunday 9th April - Tuesday 2nd May 2017

Pete Morris

Streak-chested Antpitta (Pete Morris)

Streak-chested Antpitta (Pete Morris)

Following a happy return to the avian rich Costa Rica last year, I was once again at the helm for the 2018 Ultimate Costa Rica tour, a tour I am rapidly growing to love! Costa Rica is now an affluent and modern country, but still impeccably clean and friendly, and with the added bonus of a ‘green edge’ which has led to the establishment of many nature reserves throughout the country, giving many options to find the country’s wonderful birds and mammals. In summary, this year’s Ultimate Costa Rica tour was, yet again, highly successful. As with all Birdquest tours, we focused on finding the specialities rather than building a big list, though we still ended up recording an impressive 590 species between us, including just a few that were heard only. This included a high percentage of the country’s specialities that were on offer on our itinerary. With its three endemic bird areas, regional endemism is a strong influence in the Costa Rican avifauna, and many of these charismatic species were among the tour highlights. Picking out the highlights from nearly 600 species is never easy, but it was the endearing Streak-chested Antpitta which stole our hearts and became our bird of the trip! Almost as popular was our superb series of sightings of flashy Sunbitterns, whilst the amazing Three-wattled Bellbird was once again popular, and Yellow-billed and Turquoise Cotingas also delighted. Nightbirds did us proud, with fantastic views of superb species such as Bare-shanked and Vermiculated Screech Owls, Crested Owl and Dusky Nightjar. Our 42 species of hummingbirds included fabulous studies of colourful gems such as Violet Sabrewing and Fiery-throated Hummingbird, antswarms were attended by such charismatic species as Ocellated, Bicoloured and Zeledon’s Antbirds. New World quails were particularly prominent, and we enjoyed great looks at Buffy-crowned Wood Partridge, Spotted, Marbled, Black-breasted and the rare Black-eared Wood Quails, and we also lucked in to a confiding Thicket Tinamou. Then who can forget the showy Sungrebes, the array of remarkable manakins, the colourful motmots, the amazing Snowcaps or the unique Zeledonia? Or the amazing quail-doves and variety of crakes and rails!! Oh, and then there was the Resplendent Quetzal… just dazzling! In fact there were far too many highlights, so I’d better get on with the report!!

Sunbittern (Pete Morris)

Sunbittern (Pete Morris)