Sunday, March 2, 2014

Costa Rica - La Fortuna

The Costa Rica post... now to be finally here. It seems like a long time ago already (actually almost 5 weeks ago now) that Holly and I went to Central America for a delayed 10th anniversary gift to each other. The delay was a pretty good reason - JoyAnna's arrival meant Holly was nursing when we would have gone and so the anticipation for the trip had to last a little longer.

The trip to Costa Rica brought us to two different parts of this beautiful country thanks to my wife's many hours our researching and time on the web finding options.  We finally settled on staying just outside of La Fortuna for the first three nights in a small, but more intimate location called Green Lagoon.  For reasons we still don't know (but aren't complaining about!), we were upgraded to their fanciest accommodations in a private suite up on a secluded hill.  It was quite the place including floor to ceiling glass for the entire perimeter of the two bedroom, dining and sitting area and small kitchen, and washrooms and showers allowing a view over the valley below.

We were located near Arenal Volcano and had the hike of our life up its older brother, an extinct volcano called Chero Chato, the trailhead of which started right from the Green Lagoon.  The 2150ft vertical elevation climb resulted in muddy feet and hands, both of which were needed to climb through the misty, lush jungle trail which was constructed up the steep slopes ending in a very short, steep climb down again to a lagoon at the top full of blue-green water.  Unfortunately the mist of the cloud we were in didn't allow us the view of the entire lagoon, but still worth the completely unique experience which took a good three and half hour slog.

We also enjoyed some amazing zip-lining, hot-spring soaking, wandering and dining in the small town of La Fortuna.  The weather was mostly cloudy and because of our location on the slopes part of Chero Chato and Arenal Volcano, often cloudy and misty with rain coming and going by the minute. Around our private suite on the hill were many flowering bushes and trees which were full of birds.  I often wandered around the building and shot pictures in the low light and misting rain - not optimal for picture taking but still enjoyable. In many of the pictures you can see rain in the background, and some of the shots aren't great as they are through the big windows of our "house".

In all, I saw 36 different birds in the La Fortuna area  (and our trip from the airport there).  Here is a selection of some of them in picture.  As I insert the pictures, I'm tempted to add little commentaries about some of them, but this is going to get way too long and actually never get posted.  Enjoy.

Dusky-capped Flycatcher in the rain.

Tropical Flycatcher


Black-striped Sparrow

Brown Jay

Buff-throated Saltator

male Cherrie's Tanager
(formerly called Scarlet-rumped Tanager)

female Cherrie's Tanager

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Clay-coloured Robin (Costa Rica's National bird)

Collared Arcaria

Common Paraque

Crested Guan

female Blue-black Grosbeak

Grey-headed Chachalaca and Black-headed Saltator (small bird)

Laughing Falcon

Lineated Woodpecker

(male) White-collared Seedeater (female)

Olive-throated Parakeet

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Tennessee Warbler

Thick-billed Seedfinch

White-crowned Parrot

Here is the list of the 36 birds I saw:

Gray-headed Chachalaca
Crested Guan
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Swallow-tailed Kite
White-winged Dove
Ruddy Ground-Dove
White-tipped Dove
Common Pauraque
White-collared Swift
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Collared Aracari
Keel-billed Toucan
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
Lineated Woodpecker
White-crowned Parrot
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Tropical Kingbird
Brown Jay
Mangrove Swallow
House Wren
Clay-colored Thrush
Tennessee Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Cherrie's Tanager
White-collared Seedeater
Thick-billed Seed-Finch
Buff-throated Saltator
Black-headed Saltator
Black-striped Sparrow
Rufous-collared Sparrow
Blue-black Grosbeak
Olive-backed Euphonia

House Sparrow

Next post I'll show pictures of the birds I saw in Pagagayo (northwest on the cost).  No promises on how long that post will take to finalize. ;)

Till then...
Keep enjoying HIS handiwork!


  1. Brian, congrats to you and your wife on your 10 year anniversary! Amazing birds seen during this trip. They are all so amazing. The Lineated Woodpecker might be one of my favorites. I think its always really great to mix travel with birding!

    1. Thanks Dwayne! We're actually at the 11 1/2 mark now :) I hadn't thought I'd get so excited about the birding there because I didn't know any of the birds, but once I got going, find so many new birds one after the other was a bit addicting.


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