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ULTIMATE COSTA RICA

Saturday 22nd March - Sunday 13th April 2014

Dani López-Velasco

The amazing Three-wattled Bellbird (Dani López-Velasco)

The amazing Three-wattled Bellbird (Dani López-Velasco)

As good as it gets. This year´s Ultimate Costa Rica tour was our most successful ever to this wonderful country. As with any Birdquest tour, we focused only on targets and not in building a big list, although, nevertheless, we ended up recording an impressive, and unprecedented, 594 species, and managed to see almost all of the country’s specialities that were on offer in our itinerary. Birdquest has been operating birding tours in Costa Rica for 27 years now, and throughout this time we have adapted our itinerary to offer the very best that this superb destination has to offer. 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. Black Guan, Purplish-backed, Buff-fronted and Chiriqui Quail-Doves, 48 species of hummingbirds (all but one of all hummers that occur in Costa Rica!) including Mangrove Hummingbird, White-crested Coquette and Snowcap, Dusky Nightjar, Barred Parakeet, Lattice-tailed Trogon, incredible views of several Resplendent Quetzals, Golden-naped Woodpecker, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Streak-breasted Treehunter, Ochraceous and Dark Pewees, brilliant views of male Turquoise, Snowy, Yellow-billed and Lovely Cotingas, an amazing 5 different Tody Motmots, Three-wattled Bellbird, Bare-necked Umbrellabird, 7 species of manakins including Long-tailed Manakin, Wrenthrush (Zeledonia), Blue-and-gold Tanager, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Tawny-chested and Golden-bellied Flycatchers, Chiriqui Yellowthroat, Costa Rican Brush Finch, Black-cheeked Ant Tanager, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, the scarce Cabanis´s Ground Sparrow (now a CR endemic after the splitting of Prevost´s Ground Sparrow), Peg-billed Finch and Nicaraguan Grackle were but a few of these. We always make a special effort with nightbirds, and this time we recorded a record 10 species of owls, including such a mega as Unspotted Saw-whet Owl (first time a BQ tour gets it in Costa Rica), as well as Bare-shanked and Vermiculated Screech Owls! Among the 20 species of wren observed some of the favourite performers were Northern and Southern Nightingale-Wrens and Song Wren. Additional highlights included mega views of Highland Tinamou, Marbled, Spotted and Black-breasted Wood Quails, double figures of Great Curassows, Spot-bellied Bobwhite, Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge, five Jabirus, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Semiplumbeous Hawk, walk-away views of a pair of Ornate Hawk Eagles, Barred and Collared Forest Falcons, White-throated Crake, two Rufous-necked Wood Rails, Sungrebe, Sunbittern, Mangrove Cuckoo, Lesser Ground-Cuckoo, a pair of stunning Great Green Macaws, Spot-fronted Swift, Veraguas Mango, Brown-billed Scythebill, Keel-billed Motmot, Rufous-winged, Cinnamon and Chestnut-colored Woodpeckers, Zeledon´s and Dull-mantled Antbirds, Grey-throated and Tawny-throated Leaftossers, Black-headed, Rufous-breasted and Black-faced Antthrushes, Thicket, Streak-chested and Ochre-breasted Antpittas, Black-capped Pygmy Tyrant, Black-and-yellow Phainoptila, exquisite Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher, all five nightingale-thrushes, Rufous-browed Tyrannulet and Nicaraguan Seed Finch.

The rarely seen Unspotted Saw-whet Owl (Dani López-Velasco)

The rarely seen Unspotted Saw-whet Owl (Dani López-Velasco)