Friday, 18 May 2012

Carara NP, Pacific coast, Costa Rica

Last one!

Where the Tarcorles River meets the Pacific is Carara NP and the hotel Villa Lapas appears to be the only accommodation of note in the area but the lack of competition reflected the standard of service and food. Despite this many companies use it.  This area does however offers easy access to Carara NP, an area of forest on the Pacific slope and river access to the network of mangroves near the river mouth.   Four metre Crocodiles lay on the banks.  The wind came off the Pacific like heat from a furnace and even the under-storey plants were wilting.  A walk into the park began along the Torrent Walk by the river.  Here a group of Muscovy Duck, Spotted Sandpiper and Northern Waterthrush were on the river.  In the woodland we finally saw Great Tinamou and Black-hooded Antshrike.  There were also quite a few Black and Green Poison Dart Frog Dendrobates auratus on the forest floor and Greater-white-lined Bat in a tree crevice.  Another trail produced Thick-billed Euphonia, Orange-collared Manakin and Baird’s Trogon.

A boat trip on the river produced Crested and Yellow-headed Caracara, Cattle, Snowy and Great Egrets, Little, Great-blue, Tri-coloured, Green and Boat-billed Herons, Least Sandpiper, Hudsonian Whimbrel, Black-bellied Plover, Turnstone, Spotted Sandpiper, White Ibis, Yellow-crowned Night Heron.  Whilst in the mangroves there was American Pygmy Kingfisher, Mangrove Warbler (resident race of yellow warbler), Mangrove Hummingbird, and Panamanian Flycatcher were all good birds.  That night an odd call competing with the cane toads got me out of my chair and shining a torch up into a tree to see a Spectacled Owl looking back down, only my second owl species of the trip!  Alas the following morning was our last and we headed back to San Jose for our flight to Newark and short stop in Manhattan (see report below). 

 Black-hooded Antshrike and wild Muscovy's

 Forest Ghost Bat Diclidirus virgo
 Orange-collared Manakin and Mag Frig below

 Tarcorles Pacific coast
 Yellow-headed Caracara

 Spotted Sandpiper. It was odd that I saw quite a few in Caribbean foothill area but none as far advanced as this one.
 Panamanian Flycatcher and on the river Tarcoles looking north towards Nicoya Peninsular 

 Baird's Trogon!  Guide ID'd as a Slaty-tailed but I'd seen one of those so was hungry for another tick and checked it out.
 Dot-winged Antwren male above, brighter female below

 Yellow-crowned Night Heron juv and Orange-collared Manakins at lek

 Green Kingfisher and odd moth for the 'mothers'
any further info please get in touch


  1. I Had a great time in Costa Rica a few years back, but the trip was cut short as our optics were stolen at Carara/Tarcoles! You didn't haapen see some local with three pairs of Leicas did you Rob?! Brings back some nice memories though.

  2. also the moth is some sort of Swift, look very similar to Map-winged Swift


  3. Superb stuff as usual Rob. That camera of yours has certainly been a good investment. Might have to get those holdiay brochures out.

  4. Hi Steve, our guide on the river was Luis and his bins were shocking; Nikons but think they'd been dropped several times. He could do with the Leicas but I didnt see any on anyone.
    I'll be on Enlli June 3rd so hopefully see you then.