Welcome to Birdquest
Saturday 21st March - Sunday 12th April 2015
Daniel Lopez Velasco
What a trip! This year´s Ultimate Costa Rica tour was, yet again, a highly successful tour to this wonderful country. As with any Birdquest tour, we focused on targets and not in building a big list, although, nevertheless, we ended up recording an impressive, and yet again unprecedented, 599 species (as far as we know, an all time record for a tour to this country), and managed to see a high percentage of the country’s specialities that were on offer in our itinerary. Birdquest has been operating birding tours in Costa Rica for 28 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, 44 species of hummingbirds including the endemic Mangrove Hummingbird, the stunning White-crested Coquette and the delightful Snowcap, Dusky Nightjar, perched Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Baird´s Trogon, incredible views of several Resplendent Quetzals, Golden-naped Woodpecker, Yellow-naped Amazon, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Streak-breasted Treehunter, Ochraceous and Dark Pewees, brilliant views of male Turquoise, Snowy, Yellow-billed and Lovely Cotingas, a pair of Tody Motmots, singing Three-wattled Bellbirds, 7 species of manakins including Long-tailed Manakin, prolongued views of Wrenthrush (Zeledonia), Streak-crowned Antvireo, Stub-tailed Spadebill, Blue-and-gold Tanager, White-throated Shrike-Tanager, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Yellow-winged Vireo, Tawny-chested and Golden-bellied Flycatchers, Chiriqui Yellowthroat, Costa Rican Brush Finch, Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager, Spot-crowned Euphonia, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, the scarce Cabanis´s Ground Sparrow (now a CR endemic after the splitting of Prevost´s Ground Sparrow), Flame-throated Warbler, Peg-billed Finch, Nicaraguan Seed 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 12 species of owls, including Costa Rican and Central American Pygmy Owls, Bare-shanked and Vermiculated Screech Owls and Black-and-white, Crested and Striped Owls. Among the 20 species of wren recorded some of the favourite performers were Timberline and and Song Wrens. Additional highlights included 4 species of tinamous seen, including Highland, Thicket as well as mega views of Slaty-breasted Tinamou, excellent views of Marbled and Spotted Wood Quails, plenty of Great Curassows, Spot-bellied Bobwhite, Jabiru, a pair of rare Masked Ducks out in the open, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Semiplumbeous and Zone-tailed Hawks, Ornate and Black Hawk-Eagles, Barred Forest Falcon, the rare Yellow-breasted Crake, Sungrebe, Sunbittern, Mangrove Cuckoo, Lesser Ground Cuckoo, a pair of stunning Great Green Macaws, Great and Common Potoos, Spot-fronted Swift, Brown-billed Scythebill, Keel-billed Motmot, Rufous-winged and Chestnut-colored Woodpeckers, Zeledon´s, Ocellated and Dull-mantled Antbirds, Black-headed and Black-faced Antthrushes, Thicket, Streak-chested as well as a non cooperative Black-crowned Antpittas, a tiny Black-capped Pygmy Tyrant building a nest, Black-and-yellow Phainoptila, exquisite Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher, Panamanian Flycatcher, all five nightingale-thrushes , Rufous-browed Tyrannulet and Black-thighed Grosbeak.