Leaving the Playa Palo Seco on Friday the 17th we made a stop in Manuel Antonio for lunch. PIRATIC FLYCATCHERS posed outside of Sancho’s on the bluff at the top of the small town. VARIABLE SEEDEATER, RUDDY GROUND-DOVE, and CHERRIE’S TANAGER could all be heard while we ate.
We checked in a few minutes later and while they were getting everything ready I spotted a CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED TOUCAN in the tree above the main building. It ended up flying right over me and landing about 100 feet away in great light. At the same time I heard what I thought was an Aracari, and after scanning the trees across the resort where we drove in I spotted 2 FIERY-BILLED ARACARI in a tree that over the next 3 days would produce a number of life birds. All the while ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEETS were making a racket from the trees behind the main building, and a number of other birds I couldn’t ID by sound were calling and singing all around. Two SWALLOW-TAILED KITES circled overhead providing great looks before they disappeared.
BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW, YELLOW-BELLIED ELEANIA, GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER, THICK-BILLED, SPOT-CROWNED, and YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA, SHORT-BILLED PIGEON, and BUFF-THROATED SALTADOR were all added pretty quickly.
Black-striped Sparrow, Golden-hooded Tanager, & Yellow-bellied Eleania
Numerous flocks of WHITE-CROWNED PARROTS flew over. During the following days, MEALY PARROTS and BROWN-HOODED PARROTS also made appearances overhead as well. Darkness came quickly and the birds went away with them
Saturday was supposed to be a major birding day around the southern part of the country, but because our first resort wasn’t quite as nice as the second, we decided to just enjoy the resort for the day instead of spending all day in the car. I started off the morning with a quick hike up the mountain along the main road. The birding was phenomenal! In a 150’ stretch of road I had 3 Trogon species with VIOLACEOUS, BAIRD’S, and SLATY-TAILED.
As I watched one trogon I spotted a BLUE-CROWNED MOTMOT, then a COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER. Several BLACK-STRIPED SPARROWS fed in the understory along the road, while a couple GREEN HONEYCREEPER worked in the trees overhead. The constant clicking of the CHERRIE’S TANAGERs let you know they were around, and the most abundant species present.
The rest of the morning was spent at the pool where I watched both the Aracari’s and the Toucans again. Flocks of ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEETs and WHITE-HEADED PARROTs made a constant racket coming and going from multiple directions. As it warmed up the vultures started to appear and after a while I finally spotted a couple KING VULTURE way up in the clouds. I snapped a couple shots that are identifiable, but far from great.
In early afternoon the clouds rolled in so we took a drive down the coast about 20 miles. There weren’t a lot of birds but we did come across a flock of GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACAs—the only of the trip. We headed back to the resort in a torrential downpour and after a couple wrong turn made it back to our resort surprisingly easy despite the terrible road conditions. The rest of the day was spent napping and enjoying the air conditioning in our villa.
Started off the morning in the same fashion as the day before, walking up the road. On this day I walked further up as there wasn’t a ton of activity. On my way out of the resort I ran in to two hummingbirds that were new for the trip—PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY and a LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT.
The lower portion of the road didn’t turn up anything, but as I got higher up I spotted a few things. A couple more SQUIRREL CUCKOO were around and while I was watching one I spotted a MASKED TITYRA in a tree about a 100 yards away. I decided to work my way closer but got side-tracked when a TAWNY-WINGED WOODCREEPER flew into a tree above me. After watching it I kept moving when I caught flashes of white above and saw several Tityra’s fly in. When I looked at the first one I noticed it had a black cap and was not a masked—but a BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA. However, when I found the second and third birds I saw they were MASKED TITYRAs. A second later I found another capped bird. The 4 were moving through the trees feeding together—made it easy to see both species in a quick period of time.
After the Tityra “flock” moved on I kept hiking up the road when another woodcreeper flew past me and landed about 25 feet away. After studying it for a minute I knew it wasn’t one I had seen before, but I wasn’t sure of the species. I took pictures, and after I got back to the resort I found it in the book as a STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER. I made my way up to a flat area where I was at eye level with a lot of the canopy hoping I could spot a few things. I spent about 15 minutes and never saw anything besides TROPICAL KINGBIRDS and HOUSE WRENS. As I was about to leave I heard the grunting of Toucans from the forest nearby. It got closer and all of the sudden two flew right over me about 10 feet overhead. I hoped they would land nearby, but they kept flying until they were out of sight into the jungle.
We literally spent the entire rest of the day at the pool as the storm clouds didn’t roll in till around 4pm.
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFTS and they come in at the size of a small nighthawk. Quite a sight to see a half dozen cruising around about 50 feet overhead. A little later came the coolest sighting of the afternoon—unfortunately I was in the pool and was unable to get any video or photos. A flock of 5 Aracari’s came through the forest and towards the pool. Pretty soon they were in a tree about 50 feet away, and one by one they flew right by the pool. It was pretty cool to see them fly by in the same path, and in a moment they were all gone.
We took a hike in the afternoon to a stream in the forest. We saw exactly ZERO species of birds. I recorded something that kept calling from the understory, but still haven’t figured out what it was. The jungle again showed how strange it was that despite such a lush forest it was dead, and yet a ¼ mile away in the front of our villa there was a constant stream of activity. The forest edges were always the most productive areas, and that was proved on several occasions during the trip. The rest of the day came and went with nothing else of note. In the evening a COMMON POTOO sang from the forest nearby, the first and only of the trip
On my second morning at Uvita as I walked up the road I saw a unique and cool looking animal coming towards me. It turned out to be a White-nosed Coati--the only of the trip.