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Field Guides Tour Report
Holiday Costa Rica: Rancho Naturalista II 2013
Dec 28, 2013 to Jan 5, 2014
Megan Edwards Crewe with Ernesto Carman

We saw 20 species of hummingbirds -- including dozens of these White-necked Jacobins jousting around the feeders on the balcony at Rancho. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

When winter drops, cold and gray, on North America, it's nice to get away to a warm, sunny place where it's "summer" year-round -- where flowers are blooming in garden and forest, fruits hang heavy on the trees and colorful birds abound. And if you can also spend a whole week relaxing at the same comfortable lodge (rather than living out of a suitcase), blow your diet on some fine food and start your "year list" with some real gems -- well, what more could you ask for?!

Though we stayed a week in the Caribbean foothills, we didn't restrict ourselves to them, venturing down into the lowlands and up to the high slopes of Volcan Irazu on day trips. And boy, did we find some nice birds! Often, they came in groups. A fruiting tree on the EARTH campus kept us busy for more than an hour, as wave after wave of wrens, euphonias, tanagers, woodpeckers, flycatchers and more (including the half dozen Mantled Howler Monkeys that first caught our attention) came to nibble. A rainy walk along the Rancho Naturalista driveway yielded a treetop full of wet birds, including eye-level Golden-hooded, Bay-headed, White-shouldered and Silver-throated tanagers, Green Honeycreepers, a male Golden-winged Warbler, Yellow-throated and Olive-backed euphonias and more. A morning at the Rancho moth sheet brought many normally shy forest species, including the range-restricted Tawny-chested Flycatcher, almost within arm's reach as they gobbled up insects attracted to the light. Swarms of hummingbirds jousted around Rancho's feeders. Dozens of birds, including several tiny Snowcaps, many Violet-crowned Woodnymphs, a gang of Carmiol's Tanagers, a White-ruffed Manakin and a Slaty-capped Flycatcher, dipped themselves in the hummingbird pools.

Of course, we enjoyed some less "social" birds too. In the lovely gardens of Hotel Bougainvillea, a Gray-necked Wood-rail pirouetted along the flower borders. A male Resplendent Quetzal flashed in to land over our picnic lunch spot on the volcano (interrupting the proceedings rather effectively). A Sunbittern crept along a boulder-strewn stream, twice flashing those spectacular wings as it flew short back and forth across the water. A Scaled Antpitta sauntered along the roadside (!!!) at Tapanti. Montezuma Oropendolas flipped themselves upside down in somersaulting courtship displays. A trio of Green Ibis probed in a wet field. A family of Collared Aracaris raided the banana feeders at Rancho. And we certainly know where every Chestnut-sided Warbler from North America spends the winter!

Thanks so much for joining me for a New Year's adventure in the land of "Pura Vida". It was great fun birding with you! I hope to see you all in the field again someday, somewhere. -- Megan

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

Gray-headed Chachalacas were surprising "no shows" the first day, but returned to raid the feeders on several days later in the tour. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors) – A single male floated on the back side of Angostura Lake, looking tiny compared to the nearby Lesser Scaup.
LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis) – More than a hundred -- mostly females or young males, with a few adult males mixed in -- floated and dove on Angostura Lake. This is a widespread winter visitor to Costa Rica.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis cinereiceps) – A trio descended on the feeders at Rancho Naturalista one morning, looking vaguely prehistoric.
CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens) – One made quite a racket as it flew in to a huge tree over the moth sheet. It stood for a while peering around, which gave us plenty of time to admire its streaky plumage and red throat wattle.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
BLACK-BREASTED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus leucolaemus) – We heard the far-off, raucous calls of several pairs echoing from the hillsides as we started our walk up the hill at Tapanti. [*]
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) – One circled over the far end of the lake at Casa Turire, dropping quickly behind the big island. It made several more brief appearances, flying low over the marshes -- first left, then right.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – One sat atop a leaning stick protruding from a patch of water hyacinth in the middle of the lake at Casa Turire.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – A female preened in a tree among a swarm of Cattle Egrets at Catie one afternoon.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
FASCIATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma fasciatum) – Superb views of one hunting in the swift little stream running beside the road up to Tuis. With all those stripes, it's certainly easy to see why they call them tiger-herons!
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) – One stood hunched in the middle of a river we crossed on our way to E.A.R.T.H., seen as we zipped past over the bridge, and we had another hunting along the edge of the pond at Catie.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – A few around Casa Turire, including one perched in a tree beyond some dry fields.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Only one, hunched along the back side of Lake Angostura, conveniently close to a Great Egret for easy comparison.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – An adult hunted along the edge of the mat of water hyacinth that ringed the lake at Casa Turire.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Seen daily, often in good numbers, including 25 or so perched in a tree (and then in a stand of papyrus) at Catie and a double handful investigating a field high on a hillside above the Silent Mountain road.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – One stalked along the banks of a little ditch at EARTH, occasionally sneaking into the middle of the water to check something out.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – An adult snoozed in a dark hole under the palms on the far side of the pond at Catie, and a youngster did the same among the papyrus there.
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea) – An adult rested in the papyrus edging the pond at Catie, its white cheek patch gleaming in the afternoon light.
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius) – Unfortunately, the only one we found at Catie was sound asleep -- with its distinctively huge beak buried firmly under its wing.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis) – A trio of these dark ibis rummaged in the grass along the edge of the pond at Catie, their iridescent neck feathers gleaming.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

The E.A.R.T.H. campus seemed a particular favorite of Roadside Hawks. Maybe it was all those convenient roadside wires! Photo by Megan Edwards Crewe.

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Common throughout, often in sizeable numbers -- like the group of 40 or so huddled in a tree down the hill from Lisa and Mario's place.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Also daily, though typically in smaller numbers than the previous species.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus) – Our best views came at Casa Turire, where we spotted on sitting atop a dead stick near the entrance. Some of us saw another fly past while we birded the grounds of the Hotel Bougainvillea our first morning; it later hovered briefly over a nearby field.
GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis) – One swooped in and landed in a big tree at Catie, totally interrupting our search for the calling pygmy-owl.
ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus) – Two circled high above a ridge at Tapanti. Though they were far away (and small even in the scopes), those long rounded wings and long tail were clearly visible.
BICOLORED HAWK (Accipiter bicolor) – One perched atop a tree beyond the cabins at Rancho on couple of mornings, looking dark against the early morning sky.
BARRED HAWK (Morphnarchus princeps) – Rather distant views of a couple of birds along the Silent Mountain road -- one perched in a tree along the ridgeline, and a second circling with some Black Vultures, looking very broad winged and short tailed.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – Super studies of many sitting on wires along the road through E.A.R.T.H., with others seen well in eucalyptus trees along the Silent Mountain road. This species is grayer overall than the migrant Broad-winged Hawks are, and adults have yellow (rather than dark) eyes.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – One sat atop a broken snag along the highway between Rancho and the Silent Mountain road. This is a winter visitor to Costa Rica.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis) – One circled over a ridge along the Silent Mountain road. The resident subspecies in Costa Rica -- -- is quite rufous underneath.
Eurypygidae (Sunbittern)
SUNBITTERN (Eurypyga helias) – Superb extended views of one patrolling the edge of the stream at La Mina. It hopped from rock to rock, caught a sizeable fish in an eddy pool, and flapped across the water a few times, flashing those marvelously patterned wings.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
WHITE-THROATED CRAKE (Laterallus albigularis) – One crept back and forth across a little gap in the marsh at Catie -- occasionally standing for a few seconds in the open -- as two pairs interacted near the shared border of their territories; great spotting, Martha!
GRAY-NECKED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus) – One strode around the edge of a flower bed in the gardens at Hotel Bougainvillea our first morning, its cocked-up tail pumping.
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinicus) – Fairly common at Catie, where a half dozen or so foraged along the edge of the pond.
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana) – A dozen or so among floated on Angostura Lake, vastly outnumbered by the Lesser Scaup.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – A trio rested in a stubble field near Casa Turire, and another patrolled the back side of a pasture there.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa) – Spectacular views at Catie, where good numbers trotted along on lily pads (showing their distinctively long toes) and a male sat on a nest full of eggs near where we stood. [N]
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – One bobbed along a log in the lake at Casa Turire, looking rather small as it ducked behind the occasional water hyacinth leaf.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Quite common at EARTH, including several perched on wires near the entrance gate.
RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris) – Nice scope studies of two different pairs perched in the garden of the Hotel Bougainvillea, with dozens of others seen throughout the tour.

A Northern Jacana dad does incubation duty at Catie. There are four eggs under there somewhere! Photo by Megan Edwards Crewe.

BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata) – A trio perched in trees up the hill from the ranger station at Tapanti -- though the sheer mass of greenery they were sitting against made it tough for some folks to find them until they flew!
RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea) – One singing over the cabins on our rainy morning proved difficult to find -- until he and his mate flew in to some dead twigs at the top of a tree over the laundry room. Its "Hit the FOUL pole" song was distinctive.
SHORT-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas nigrirostris) – We heard one singing its "up cup a COOOO" song at Rancho early in the tour -- a nice counterpart to a nearby Ruddy Pigeon, which looks very similar but sounds quite different. [*]
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – Common on the grounds of the Hotel Bougainvillea, including a male displaying -- complete with fanned tail and quivering wings -- to a female near the hotel's front door, seen as we loaded up for our trip to Volcan Irazu.
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – One, showing well its distinctively scaled plumage, sat in a tree in the gardens at Hotel Bougainvillea our first morning.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – Especially nice views of little gang of a half dozen on a manicured lawn at EARTH, with another male seen on a phone wire near Catie.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – One sang its "blowing across the mouth of the bottle" song from thick brush in the gardens of the Hotel Bougainvillea our first morning. [*]
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris) – Especially nice views of a couple perched on a stick near the boat launch at Casa Turire; they were close enough that we could really see those distinctive grooves in their beaks, particularly in the scopes.
Strigidae (Owls)
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – It took some perseverance -- and some fine spotting by Vernon -- but we finally connected with a bird that called (and called and called and called) from a huge, bromeliad-laden tree at Catie.
MOTTLED OWL (Ciccaba virgata) – Most of the group heard one or two calling around the cabins on several nights -- including the pair that woke us up between bouts of fireworks on New Year's Eve. Dan was the lucky one who was still around when Vernon found one while walking back to his cabin after the checklist one night.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – One flushed off the road in front of the bus as we drove up the hill toward the lodge on our way back from La Mina, seen by a few folks.
Apodidae (Swifts)
SPOT-FRONTED SWIFT (Cypseloides cherriei) – Quite common in the skies above EARTH, distinguished from the other swifts by its blocky head and thick neck -- and the two white "headlights" visible on the front of its head.
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – We heard the loud, shrill screaming of a large group of them as they flew over the hummingbird pools, but the intervening trees (and there were a lot of them) kept us from seeing them. [*]
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris) – These were the most common of the swifts we saw at EARTH. Closely related to Chimney and Vaux's swifts (and so much the same shape -- small with a shortish squared tail) these have distinctively paler gray rumps.
LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis) – A couple of these longer-tailed swifts zoomed over the road at EARTH; their white bellies made them reasonably easy to pick out from the previous species.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

You've got to love a place where you can get lifer hummingbirds with coffee mug in hand! Photo by Megan Edwards Crewe.

WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – Dozens jousted at the feeders lining the balcony at Rancho Naturalista, and others made fleeting visits to the forest feeders there.
WHITE-TIPPED SICKLEBILL (Eutoxeres aquila) – A few of the group heard the loud chipping call of one (identified by Ernesto) as it flew past over the trail at La Mina. [*]
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy) – Regular in small numbers at Rancho's balcony feeders, with others briefly at the forest feeders. Females have longer white tail tips than males do.
STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis) – Singles on most days, including one along the road near Lisa and Mario's house, another on the Silent Mountain road and one for Ernesto and Dan along the Upper trail. This rusty-backed hummingbird is the smallest of the tour's hermits.
BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae) – One, looking decidedly drab, was a regular visitor to the corner feeder at the Rancho balcony -- when he wasn't singing incessantly from bare twigs in a tree out front, that is!
GREEN VIOLETEAR (Colibri thalassinus) – Several defended feeders along the front of the restaurant we stopped at on Volcan Irazu -- including a few that flared their violet ears at anything that dared to zip in for a sip of sugar water.
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti) – At least one seen bathing in the hummingbird pools, its long white outer tail feathers flashing as it splashed.
GREEN-BREASTED MANGO (Anthracothorax prevostii) – Regular at the Rancho balcony feeders, including a few stripe-fronted females that proved as pugnacious as the males.
GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii) – A male sipped nectar from the verbena hedge below Rancho's balcony one morning.
GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa jacula) – Singles visited the Rancho balcony feeders on a couple of mornings, looking long and lean.
MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens) – A female made multiple visits to a feeder outside the restaurant that we visited near the base of Volcan Irazu our first morning. The length of her bill was pretty impressive!
FIERY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Panterpe insignis) – We spotted a few of these high mountain specialists in the shady forests of Volcan Irazu, but never got that "wow-y" view of one in the sunshine.
WHITE-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis hemileucus) – Reasonably common at Tapanti NP, where they seemed particularly fond of the pink trumpet-shaped flowers on vines over the road.
PURPLE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis calolaemus) – A rusty-bellied female gathered spider webs from trees along the edge of the road at Volcan Irazu.
VOLCANO HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus flammula) – A few of these small mountain hummingbirds zipped around flowers (and feeders) on Volcan Irazu, including a male that perched again and again just above an arbor gate at the restaurant we visited early in the day.
VIOLET SABREWING (Campylopterus hemileucurus) – A handful at Rancho, including one that made regular visits to the balcony feeders, one that splashed a few times in one of the hummingbird pools and one that tried to get a sip at the forest feeders -- but was repeatedly chased off by the much smaller Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds and woodnymphs.
BRONZE-TAILED PLUMELETEER (Chalybura urochrysia) – One perched repeatedly above one of the hummingbird pools, always almost totally out of view. Fortunately, we could always see its distinctive red legs and feet -- and occasionally the rest of it as well.
VIOLET-CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica) – Judging from the amount of time these spent splashing in the hummingbird pools at Rancho, these must be the country's cleanest hummingbirds! They were also regular visitors to Rancho's feeders.
SNOWCAP (Microchera albocoronata) – A handful of these little hummers made quick, furtive visits to the hummingbird pools -- though the snowy white crowns of the males made them easy to spot when they did arrive.
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl) – Certainly among the tour's most common hummingbirds, seen daily -- including one that returned again and again to the same twig perch in the gardens of the Hotel Bougainvillea and a handful buzzing around the vervain hedges at Rancho Naturalista.
Trogonidae (Trogons)

One bold Blue-crowned Motmot was a regular visitor to the Rancho feeders. Photo by Megan Edwards Crewe.

RESPLENDENT QUETZAL (Pharomachrus mocinno) – Wow! A male over our picnic table at Volcan Irazu was a real crowd pleaser -- even though he was missing those extravagantly long tail feathers.
SLATY-TAILED TROGON (Trogon massena) – A male greeted us as we piled off the bus at the howler monkey tree at EARTH, and was later seen much higher among the big nearby bamboo stand.
GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus) – Best seen at EARTH, where a very cooperative female posed nicely for the paparazzi; we also saw (and heard) a male in one of the big Cecropia trees along Rancho's driveway early in the tour.
BLACK-THROATED TROGON (Trogon rufus) – A female sitting below eye level on a mossy vine, seen by Ernesto and Dan along Rancho's Upper trail.
COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) – A handsome pair along the road in Tapanti brought out the nature paparazzi again -- and meant Kay had quite a walk after he went back for another photo!!
Momotidae (Motmots)
BLUE-CROWNED MOTMOT (LESSON'S) (Momotus coeruliceps lessonii) – Our best views came at Rancho, where a gorgeous bird spent long minutes one morning gobbling fruit from the feeder.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – Barb spotted one from the bus as we drove across a bridge on our way back from EARTH.
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona) – A male hovered over the end of the boat launch at Lake Angostura, and a pair chased each other back and forth along the stream at La Mina, chattering loudly.
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus) – A pair sat high in a huge tree over the road at EARTH, with the male singing incessantly for long minutes.
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – Brief views of one which disappeared behind the bamboo thicket near Rancho's big pasture, seen by Ernesto and Dan as they started their walk up the Upper trail.
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
RED-HEADED BARBET (Eubucco bourcierii) – A crowd-pleasing male foraged above the road at Tapanti, part of a big mixed flock.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus) – We thought the family group at EARTH showed well -- until another little mob showed up at the Rancho feeders one rainy morning. What a view!
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – It took a while (initially we were only hearing them) but we eventually connected with several birds, including a pair atop a tree near the entrance to EARTH, and others near the main building at Rancho.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus) – A few pairs hung around the dead snags near the restaurant on Volcan Irazu.
BLACK-CHEEKED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pucherani) – Reasonably common throughout the tour, including a couple crawling along branches in the pasture at Rancho, another pair near the entrance to EARTH and one in the same tree as the Lineated Woodpeckers near Casa Turire.
HOFFMANN'S WOODPECKER (Melanerpes hoffmannii) – One in the garden at Hotel Bougainvillea showed well as it hitched its way up one of the bigger trees. We saw others at EARTH and Catie.
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Picoides fumigatus) – One of these small, all brown woodpeckers hitched its way slowly up a fat white branch in a nearby Cecropia tree, showing well for all, and we had good scope views of another clinging to a bamboo stalk near the entrance to EARTH.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Picoides villosus) – Two flashed in to land in a big tree right near the road at the first place we birded on Volcan Irazu. The subspecies found in Costa Rica is quite dusky compared to North American birds.
RUFOUS-WINGED WOODPECKER (Piculus simplex) – One at EARTH clung near the top of a dead, broken off bamboo stalk -- which made a wonderfully resonant drumming board.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – One worked its way through the big tree over the cabins near Rancho's parking lot, showing well its barred belly and pale cheek.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – Two worked on a nest hole along the road near Casa Turire, taking turns enlarging the entrance. [N]

These Crimson-fronted Parakeets seemed particularly fond of eating while hanging upside down. Photo by Megan Edwards Crewe.

PALE-BILLED WOODPECKER (Campephilus guatemalensis) – One hammered away on the gleaming trunk of a big tree near the pasture at Rancho, chiseling out a big square hole.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – One flew past shortly after we arrived at Catie, and another flew over the bus as we drove towards Tapanti.
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima) – An adult yelped from atop a conifer among the houses on the Silent Mountain road, while a streaky youngster looked on from a nearby tree, and we saw another perched adult beyond the marshy spot at Catie.
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – A big female perched on dead sticks near the top of a huge tree over the road at Catie -- between hunting forays that sent a mob of feeding Crimson-fronted Parakeets screaming for cover.
Psittacidae (Parrots)
CRIMSON-FRONTED PARAKEET (Aratinga finschi) – Great views of a gang feeding on fruits near the Rancho balcony; apparently, the fruit tasted particularly good when consumed while upside down! We saw dozens of others when they exploded out of a fruiting tree at EARTH as a hunting Bat Falcon went over.
OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEET (AZTEC) (Aratinga nana astec) – A couple of allopreening birds nuzzled each other at the top of a tree at EARTH, and another pair nibbled fruits while dangling upside down from some vines.
ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis) – A couple of birds rocketed past overhead while we birded along the road at EARTH. Their small size and short, squared tails help to distinguish them from the more common Crimson-fronted Parakeets.
BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis) – A few played hard to get in some fruiting trees near the entrance to EARTH -- until one chose to sit right out in the open atop a leafless branch. That's one handsome parrot!
WHITE-CROWNED PARROT (Pionus senilis) – A little gang of them foraged and preened in a fruiting tree in Rancho's orchard, seen in the scope from our vantage point far below them. Those gleaming white crowns were certainly easy to spot!
RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis) – Super scope studies of a couple perched atop a big tree near the entrance to EARTH.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (Thamnistes anabatinus) – Two high in the canopy with a mixed flock along Rancho's Upper trail, seen by Ernesto and Dan.
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis) – A male hunted low among the trees around the moth sheet, singing occasionally.
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor) – A few in the group (those towards the front of the line) spotted one briefly as it flicked through the trees along the trail beyond the pasture at Rancho Naturalista, seen shortly before we turned around to head for the forest feeders.
DOT-WINGED ANTWREN (Microrhopias quixensis) – A male foraged with a mixed flock along Rancho's Upper trail, seen by Ernesto and Dan on a misty morning.
DULL-MANTLED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza laemosticta) – A pair paid furtive visits to the hummingbird pools -- one splashing, nearly out of view, in a puddle tucked among the big downed tree, and the other stealing out onto some rocks for a quick splash downstream.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
SCALED ANTPITTA (Grallaria guatimalensis) – One bounding along the side of the road at Tapanti was certainly a surprise -- particularly when it didn't flee immediately as soon as the bus stopped! Though folks in the back had a great view out the back window, those in the front were blocked, and when they stepped out, the bird disappeared up the hill.
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
SILVERY-FRONTED TAPACULO (Scytalopus argentifrons) – We heard one calling from up the hill while we were watching a mixed flock along the road at Tapanti. [*]
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus) – One crawling up a trunk high in a tree along the Upper trail, part of a big mixed flock seen by Ernesto and Dan,
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus) – Brief views for some at one of these little woodcreepers at EARTH, where one chased a slightly larger Streak-headed Woodcreeper across the road and up a tree.
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans) – Nice comparisons between this species and the next at the Rancho moth sheet one morning.
SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius) – Great studies of one methodically searching the trees supporting the moth sheet at Rancho. This species is spotted rather than streaked.

The view from the Rancho balcony can be quite spectacular -- provided it's not foggy, that is! Photo by Megan Edwards Crewe.

STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – One flashed in to a tree near where we stood in Rancho's pasture, then proceeded to creep its way up the narrow trunk. We saw another at EARTH.
PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus) – Our first was one with a mixed flock at EARTH, not far from where we saw the giant mob of Crimson-fronted Parakeets. But our best views came at Rancho, where Dan and Ernesto saw one with a mixed flock on the Upper trail, and the rest of us spotted another with the small birds mobbing something near the parking lot.
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans) – One clung -- chickadee fashion -- to a series of twigs and branches, part of a big mixed flock at Tapanti. This is the high elevation replacement of the previous species.
SCALY-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia variegaticeps) – One with a mixed flock at Tapanti was a nice surprise; they're not seen very often. It bounced around from tree to tree, but we all eventually got a good look.
BUFF-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Automolus ochrolaemus) – Vernon and Pam spotted one gleaning near the Rancho moth sheet.
RUDDY TREERUNNER (Margarornis rubiginosus) – A gang of them crawled along the branches of a tree over the road at Tapanti, their white eyebrows gleaming.
RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops) – Several among the mixed flock at Tapanti, looking rather like rusty woodcreepers -- until you saw those long ragged tails, that is.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola) – We heard one calling along the road at EARTH (near where we stopped to look at our first aracaris), but couldn't entice it out for a closer view. [*]
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – One called from a little tree near Lisa and Mario's garage, showing the white spot in its divided crest very nicely as it swiveled on its perch.
MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii) – We saw a couple of these rather plain flycatchers on Volcan Irazu, including one hunting near our picnic spot.
TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea) – Two of these tiny flycatchers bounced around a little pasture along the Silent Mountain road, and another pair hunted from rocks in the stream at La Mina.
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus) – Barb and Ernesto saw one along Rancho's driveway on our first morning there, and most of the rest of the group caught up with one -- demonstrating well its distinctive habit of flicking one wing -- in a mixed flock near Rancho's driveway.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – One flicked through some branches over the hummingbird pools, its distinctive dark "ear muff" showing well in Ernesto's spotlight beam.
PALTRY TYRANNULET (Zimmerius vilissimus) – Super eye level views of one sitting for long minutes in the same shrub as our Black-headed Tody-flycatcher; those yellow-edged wing feathers were distinctive. We saw another in the big tree over the Rancho parking lot.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus) – One hunting in a tree fern along the road at Tapanti showed quite nicely -- though it was tough to get much of a look at its distinctive crest.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum) – Dan and I spotted one moving through a dense hedge below where the Lineated Woodpeckers were excavating their nest hole. Unfortunately, that was when most of the rest of the group was still enjoying our first Prothonotary Warbler!
BLACK-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum nigriceps) – One flicked in some roadside bushes -- conveniently right at eye level -- along one of the driveways en route to Lisa and Mario's. Since they're normally right at the top of tall trees, it was nice that those trees were downhill!
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens) – One in the big tree over the cabin by Rancho's parking lot cooperated nicely our first morning. Though they're not particularly distinctive, that pale eye can be a good ID feature.
WHITE-THROATED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus mystaceus) – One of these little flycatchers -- showing well its stumpy tail and huge eyering -- flicked through a stand of heliconias along the trail we walked at Tapanati.
YELLOW-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias assimilis) – One with a mixed flock along the roadside at EARTH, initially found by its call.
ROYAL FLYCATCHER (Onychorhynchus coronatus) – One of these hammerheaded flycatchers sat just below the fruiting tree full of howler monkeys at EARTH, its extraordinary crest folded neatly away, with just the orange tips showing.
RUDDY-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Terenotriccus erythrurus) – One on a branch, part of a mixed flock Dan and Ernesto nearly caught up with in the fog on the Upper trail.

Green Ibis can sometimes be shy and retiring -- but not this trio feeding on a ball field at Catie! Video by Megan Edwards Crewe.
TAWNY-CHESTED FLYCATCHER (Aphanotriccus capitalis) – One hunting around the Rancho moth sheet showed well -- though it was surprising how often it perched with its tawny chest turned away from us.
TUFTED FLYCATCHER (Mitrephanes phaeocercus) – Two of these peak-headed, cinnamon-colored flycatchers hunted from vines over the Tapanti road, part of a big mixed flock.
DARK PEWEE (Contopus lugubris) – Two hunted along the Tapanti road, returning again and again to the same perches.
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus) – One hunted from a slanted stick along a ridgeline above the Silent Mountain road, conveniently close to two Yellow-bellied Elaenias and two Tropical Kingbirds for size and shape comparison.
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris) – Two hunted along the driveway at Rancho, completely unconcerned with our nearby presence, and another gobbled up moths around the moth sheet. This is a winter visitor to Costa Rica.
BLACK-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax atriceps) – Several seen nicely on Volcan Irazu, including one hunting from a bit of rebar near the entrance to the restaurant where we made a pit stop and others in the brush around our picnic lunch spot.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans) – Small numbers around various waterways, including a couple near where we turned the bus around before visiting Casa Turire, a few along the stream beside the Silent Mountain road, and others at .
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus) – One hunted from the end of a leafless Cecropia branch at EARTH, sallying out repeatedly after insects.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) – The one hunting around the moth sheet certainly demonstrated why the species is called BRIGHT-RUMPED, as it regularly flashed us with that sulphury-yellow rump. We heard the maniacal laughing song of another near Lisa and Mario's one wet afternoon.
RUFOUS MOURNER (Rhytipterna holerythra) – One with a mixed flock, seen by Ernesto and Dan along Rancho's Upper trail.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – One flicked around the moth sheet, looking slim and dark. This is among the smallest of the Myiarchus flycatchers.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Particularly common in the open fields around Catie and Casa Turire, with another pair building a nest on the guard shack at the entrance to EARTH. [N]
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – One sitting in a tree with some aracaris at EARTH. The huge beak of this flycatcher helps to distinguish it from the similarly plumaged Great Kiskadee.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis) – Two shared a bush with a bevy of flycatchers and tanagers near Mario and Lisa's house, their bright yellow bellies contrasting sharply with the gray skies behind them. We saw others on the Silent Mountain road.
GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes granadensis) – One sat high in a tree at EARTH, and most of the group saw another in a huge tree down the hill from the driveway at Rancho. This species doesn't have as dark a head -- or as striped a face -- as do the three previous species.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – Abundant throughout, with pairs sprinkled on roadside wires virtually everywhere we went.
Pipridae (Manakins)
WHITE-RUFFED MANAKIN (Corapipo altera) – An olive-drab female bathed in one of the little hummingbird pools, perching repeatedly on some thin sticks above the pool to arrange her feathers between splashes.
WHITE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus candei) – A male near Rancho's parking lot sat still long enough for a few folks to see him in the scope, while a female nipped in for a few berries from a nearby bush; her bright orange legs help to distinguish her from other female manakins.
WHITE-CROWNED MANAKIN (Pipra pipra) – A male in the area of the traditional lek along Rancho's Upper trail; it wasn't performing, just sitting quietly on a branch.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

All of the Masked Tityras we found on the tour were already paired up for the season. Photo by Megan Edwards Crewe.

BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor) – A pair at EARTH checked out a woodpecker hole above the road -- while a Black-cheeked Woodpecker tapped away on the other side of the branch.
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata) – Fine views of a pair that came in close while we birded in Rancho's pasture one morning; their pig-like grunting calls cracked a bunch of people up.
BARRED BECARD (Pachyramphus versicolor) – A male with a big mixed flock at Tapanti showed pretty well, allowing most to see his barred yellow breast, black crown and big eyering as he flicked through nearby trees. Fortunately, he was singing regularly, which helped us to keep tabs on where he was.
CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus) – A couple of these small, rusty-colored flycatchers chased around the orchard at Rancho, with one posing nicely for the scopes.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus) – Some excellent spotting by Ernesto netted us fine views of a male perched in a bush right beside the driveway as we headed down the hill one morning.
Vireonidae (Vireos)
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) – One with the group mobbing the snake (or whatever it was) near the Rancho parking lot eventually moved quite close to us, giving us good views at its bright yellow throat and spectacles. Ernesto and Dan spotted another on the Upper trail.
YELLOW-WINGED VIREO (Vireo carmioli) – These proved uncharacteristically tough on Volcan Irazu, creeping higher and higher in the huge pines lining the road near our picnic spot and generally removing themselves from view.
PHILADELPHIA VIREO (Vireo philadelphicus) – These winter visitors, on the other hand, were very obliging, posing regularly in plain view throughout the tour.
LESSER GREENLET (Hylophilus decurtatus) – Scattered individuals seen well, including a pair examining nearly every branch tip in a fruiting tree at EARTH (looking for insects spooked by the howlers, no doubt) and others with the mixed flock near the Rancho parking lot.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
AZURE-HOODED JAY (Cyanolyca cucullata) – Dan, Ernesto and I got an all-too-brief glimpse of one as it flicked across a gap in the trees up the hill from the road through Tapanti NP.
BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio) – Regularly seen -- and heard -- around Rancho, including a few youngsters, still showing yellow on their beaks and yellow eye rings.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca) – Seen every day but one, including dozens and dozens swirling over houses and pastures along the Silent Mountain road, or gathered on wires and rooftops there.
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) – A few of these winter visitors mingled with other swallows over the pastures around Casa Turire.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – Especially nice views of one sitting on a wire near the entrance gate at EARTH, with others looping over pastures, fields and wetlands in a variety of places. This species can be separated from the previous by its peach colored throat and pale rump patch.

Brown Jays were regular visitors to the feeders at Rancho. Photo by Megan Edwards Crewe.

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea) – A handful of these big swallows hunted over fields and forest at EARTH.
MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea) – Common over the short grass lawns at EARTH, where their white rump patches were particularly noticeable on their low passes.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – One with the rough-winged swallows over the pastures at Casa Turire.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
SCALY-BREASTED WREN (WHISTLING) (Microcerculus marginatus luscinia) – We heard the slow, clear, descending whistle of this species echoing from the forest at Rancho -- particularly from the hillside across from the observation platform at the hummingbird pools. [*]
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – Heard far more frequently than seen, though we did spy one bouncing around on the flagstones just outside the kitchen at Rancho one morning.
OCHRACEOUS WREN (Troglodytes ochraceus) – A few folks got on one or more of these very small pale rusty wrens with the mixed flocks we watched at Tapanti. Their soft bubbling song was a regular part of the soundtrack there.
BAND-BACKED WREN (Campylorhynchus zonatus) – A noisy little gang of them swarmed through the fruiting tree at EARTH, and we heard others at Catie.
RUFOUS-NAPED WREN (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) – A quartet on the grounds of the Hotel Bougainvillea put on quite a show, rummaging through some nearby trees and singing their raucous, musical duets.
BLACK-THROATED WREN (Pheugopedius atrogularis) – One in the fruiting tree at EARTH hung upside down from some of the low branches, showing off its namesake throat.
STRIPE-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus thoracicus) – A territorial bird along the Silent Mountain road showed us its stripey belly nicely as it circled around us.
PLAIN WREN (Cantorchilus modestus) – We heard one singing from the flowering hedge on the wall around the garden at Hotel Bougainvillea our first morning, but it never came out where we could see it.
BAY WREN (Cantorchilus nigricapillus) – Two rooting through tall vegetation on a gravel bar in the stream at La Mina -- and then on the bank, practically at our feet -- were a treat. We saw another pair under the big fruiting tree at EARTH.
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta) – Best seen near the moth sheet, where one bounced deliberately through the undergrowth -- and hitched its way up the biggest tree trunk -- searching for tasty tidbits.
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys) – We heard five or six pairs dueting from the forest at Tapanti -- including one pair that approached to within feet of the road -- but never saw any. [*]
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) – Our first was a singing bird that twitched through vines, seen as we walked down to Lisa and Mario's house. We had another over the "banana cages" near the Rancho parking lot. "Long-billed" is certainly appropriate; it looks like it's carrying a toothpick!
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea) – Most of the group saw one with a mixed flock near the parakeet tree at EARTH.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

It took a while to find it, but once we did, we followed that Sunbittern up and down the stream while it hunted. Video by Megan Edwards Crewe.
BLACK-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus gracilirostris) – One bounced back and forth across a little path near the restaurant where we made a pit stop en route to Volcan Irazu. The olive-brown band across its gray chest is distinctive.
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus) – Great comparisons with the next species beside one of the hummingbird pools. This species is smaller, with less spotty underparts.
WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina) – One along the edge of a flower bed in the Hotel Bougainvillea's gardens, searching for tidbits, and others at Rancho Naturalista and EARTH. This is another winter visitor to Costa Rica.
SOOTY THRUSH (Turdus nigrescens) – A male near where we first disembarked on Volcan Irazu proved remarkably tame, continuing to forage under the hedge despite our noisy presence mere yards away.
MOUNTAIN THRUSH (Turdus plebejus) – We heard one calling along the road on Volcan Irazu, but never spotted it. [*]
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi) – Abundant and widespread, seen on every day of the tour. This is Costa Rica's national bird.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla) – The waterthrush we heard chipping near the hummingbird pools was probably this species. [*]
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera) – Regular in small numbers throughout, including a male with the big mob in a treetop near Lisa and Mario's place, a female along Silent Mountain road and another male bathing in the concrete birdbath under the Rancho balcony.
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – Especially nice views of a male -- and later a female -- bathing in the hummingbird pools at Rancho, with others along Silent Mountain road, and at Casa Turire and Tapanti.
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea) – A couple on the roads around Casa Turire, including one that descended to eye level to check out Ernesto's mob tape. This species has the wonderful folk name of "Swamp Candle" -- for obvious reasons!
FLAME-THROATED WARBLER (Oreothlypis gutturalis) – Wow -- this is certainly an aptly named species! We enjoyed a dazzling pair as they foraged in a little tree along the road at Volcan Irazu.
TENNESSEE WARBLER (Oreothlypis peregrina) – Regular throughout the tour, including a handful poking through the treetops in the garden at Hotel Bougainvillea. This is a common winter visitor to Costa Rica.
MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia) – One hopping along the ground between the main building and one of the cabins had us craning for a better view our first morning at Rancho Naturalista. Some of the group spotted it again from the balcony on a couple of our afternoon breaks.
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – A male fluttered in a Cecropia along the driveway when we could finally see more than 10 feet away on our foggy morning.
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – A pair gleaned insects from the leaves of the trees just off the porch at Rancho Naturalista, allowing extended study.
BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Setophaga castanea) – One in the busy fruiting tree at EARTH -- part of the mob that came in to investigate the vireo scold -- was a surprise; though common in migration, it's a rare winter visitor in Costa Rica.
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – One rather drab female flicked through the trees near the balcony at Rancho Naturalista, not far from our first Tropical Parulas.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – A female flitted through the tops of several trees on the grounds of Hotel Bougainvillea before breakfast our first morning, and we spotted other females at Casa Turire and Catie.
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica) – Well, we certainly know where a large percentage of North America's Chestnut-sided Warblers go for the winter!
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (Setophaga virens) – A couple of bright-faced males chased each other around in trees along the road up Volcan Irazu.

The Clay-colored Thrush is Costa Rica's national bird. Photo by Megan Edwards Crewe.

RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus rufifrons) – Best seen below the balcony at Rancho Naturalista, where the local pair regularly came to bathe during our afternoon breaks. We had nice views of another pair from the garage at Finca Cristina, the coffee farm owned by Ernesto's parents.
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus) – A twitchy pair around the moth sheet showed well as they searched for tidbits.
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) – Two flipped back and forth across a wet ditch near our picnic lunch spot at EARTH, their distinctively pale rumps flashing. This species typically hunts on the ground.
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) – A couple on Volcan Irazu, including one that twitched through bushes near our picnic lunch spot, looking for insects. We had others around the balcony at Rancho.
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – Some of the group spotted one along the Silent Mountain road, and Ernesto and Dan found others on Rancho's Upper trail. But our best view came at Tapanti, where a pair fluttered along the roadside, part of a big, active mixed-species flock.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus) – Our best views probably came at EARTH, where we found a couple in a mixed flock near the Crimson-fronted Parakeets. We saw others at Rancho.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – A male was a regular visitor under the hedges near the dining room at Rancho, occasionally flashing his white underwings.
CRIMSON-COLLARED TANAGER (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus) – One made a surprise visit to the banana feeders after lunch one day, delighting those who'd lingered.
PASSERINI'S TANAGER (Ramphocelus passerinii) – Common throughout -- and I don't think anybody tired of seeing those snazzy red-rumped males, regardless of how many we laid eyes on!
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus) – Pairs with many of the mixed flocks we encountered at Rancho, EARTH, Catie and Casa Turire. The albino we spotted at Rancho was pretty weird-looking.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)
GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Tangara larvata) – A handsome pair along the driveway were a highlight of our first walk at Rancho Naturalista, and we saw many other pairs during the week.
SPANGLE-CHEEKED TANAGER (Tangara dowii) – A few among a mixed flock along the road at Tapanti were a treat. These handsome tanagers are found at higher elevations.
PLAIN-COLORED TANAGER (Tangara inornata) – A group of a half dozen or so flicked through the fruiting tree at EARTH, looking decidedly plain. This was one of the smallest tanagers of the trip.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola) – A few with mixed flocks at Rancho, including a couple near the parking lot, and others in the "tanager tree" we watched on our rainy walk down the driveway.
EMERALD TANAGER (Tangara florida) – One high over the forest hummingbird feeders at Rancho proved challenging in the mist -- but Ernesto and Dan persevered and finally got a look.
SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala) – Small numbers at Rancho, including a little gang that swirled through the trees near the observation platform during our visit to the hummingbird pools and a youngster with a mixed flock over the parking lot.

A gang of Collared Aracaris made a raid on the banana feeders one wet morning. Photo by Megan Edwards Crewe.

SCARLET-THIGHED DACNIS (Dacnis venusta) – Seen on several days at Rancho, including a trio of technicolor males drying out on a treetop just down the hill from the driveway following a rainy morning.
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana) – One at EARTH shared a scruffy thornbush with several other mixed flock species, under the huge trees where the Crimson-fronted Parakeets squawked and clambered.
SHINING HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes lucidus) – And this was one of the flock mates of the previous species that was sharing the same thorny bush at EARTH. The bright yellow legs and feet on the male are unmistakable.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – Quite common throughout, including several pairs around the main building and parking lot at Rancho. The general consensus seemed to be that TURQUOISE Tanager would have been more appropriate for this one!
SLATY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa plumbea) – A male sang from a bush near the parking lot of the restaurant we stopped at on Volcan Irazu, showing well his distinctively hooked beak.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – Scope views of a male singing from a little shrub in a field near Casa Turire. This species has a display flight (more like a display jump) which gives it the endearing folk name of Johnny Jump Up.
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina) – Regular throughout, including several in the orchard pasture at Rancho. We saw the nominate corvina subspecies; unlike males of the other subspecies, male corvinas are all black with a small white patch in the primaries.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Best seen in the verbena hedge below the Rancho balcony, where they were regular visitors to the little purple flowers.
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus) – A few at Rancho (including some in the pasture and others at Lisa and Mario's) with a handful of others along Silent Mountain road and at Tapanti.
DUSKY-FACED TANAGER (Mitrospingus cassinii) – Super looks at a busy little gang checking out a fruiting tree at EARTH. Their pale eyes are striking against their dark faces.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – Two in a flowering tree on the grounds of the Hotel Bougainvillea were a nice find on our pre-breakfast walk.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus) – A couple bounced around under the verbena hedge at Rancho, occasionally darting out to grab a mouthful of rice. Eventually, one ventured in to the bird bath, giving us the chance to see that namesake throat.
BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR (Saltator atriceps) – Best seen atop a bush along the Silent Mountain road, a bonus at our Roadside Hawk stop. We saw others in a taller tree at EARTH.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
LARGE-FOOTED FINCH (Pezopetes capitalis) – One (or maybe two) skulked through the undergrowth along the road at Volcan Irazu, playing hard to get.
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSH-FINCH (Arremon brunneinucha) – One skulking along the edge of the Tapanti road proved exceedingly difficult to lay eyes on.
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris) – A black-billed youngster skulked under the hedge at Rancho, seen as we waited for the sprinkles to stop on our first afternoon there.
BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris) – One bounced along the edge of the lawn under the verbena hedge at Rancho after lunch one day, seen by a few of us who'd lingered to solve the problems of the world.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis) – If we had a penny for every one we saw...
COMMON BUSH-TANAGER (Chlorospingus ophthalmicus) – Very common at Tapanti, where busy flocks of them crawled up mossy branches, investigating every nook and cranny.
SOOTY-CAPPED BUSH-TANAGER (Chlorospingus pileatus) – A little gang along the roadside at Volcan Irazu moved by all too quickly -- but fortunately, one inquisitive bird returned for a brief look (and a bit of a chatter) at us.
ASHY-THROATED BUSH-TANAGER (Chlorospingus canigularis) – Ernesto and Dan heard one calling from one of the mixed flocks they encountered on the Upper trail, but never laid eyes on it. [*]
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

Montezuma Oropendolas entertained us throughout, particularly when they did their somersaulting courtship displays. Photo by Megan Edwards Crewe.

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – A half dozen or so on the grounds of the Hotel Bougainvillea, including a patchy young male with red feathers starting to appear among the yellow, with others on several days at Rancho.
RED-THROATED ANT-TANAGER (Habia fuscicauda) – Our best views came at the moth sheet, where a pair methodically hunted for resting insects. We saw others -- and heard their harsh chatter -- while we enjoyed the spectacle of the hummingbird pools.
CARMIOL'S TANAGER (Chlorothraupis carmioli) – After eluding us along the Silent Mountain road (where they remained frustratingly just out of sight), a flock showed nicely at the hummingbird pools, posing on sticks while they contemplated which puddle to bathe in.
BLACK-THIGHED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus tibialis) – One near the female Collared Trogon at Tapanti showed nicely, and its habit of squeaking like a tennis shoe on a wooden floor helped us to repeatedly track it down.
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus) – A bright male along the Rancho driveway, with subtler females/youngsters at Lisa and Mario's and EARTH.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-BREASTED BLACKBIRD (Sturnella militaris) – A pair bounced around a field at Casa Turire, the male occasionally popping up to sit with his striking red breast facing us. This "blackbird" is actually a meadowlark!
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna) – A pair sat preening in the shade at the far side of the field near the Casa Turire entrance. Conveniently, one was facing us and the other was facing away.
MELODIOUS BLACKBIRD (Dives dives) – One atop a tree in the Hotel Bougainvillea gardens was cooperative, waiting until we all had a look in the scope. This is a recent arrival to Costa Rica, first recorded in 1987.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – Common and widespread in open areas throughout the tour, including one that serenaded us (if you can call that bizarre collection of squeaks, gurgles, clicks and discordant whistles a serenade) from a light pole while we birded along the Silent Mountain road.
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus) – A big flock flying beside the bus as we drove toward EARTH on January 1 -- and one in a bamboo stand near the entrance there -- were the only ones we spotted on the tour.
BLACK-COWLED ORIOLE (Icterus prosthemelas) – Two of these boldly handsome orioles sat perched for long minutes at the top of a leafless tree at EARTH.
ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius) – A male made a brief appearance in a nearby treetop as we birded along the road near Casa Turire. Unfortunately, most folks didn't spot him until he flew.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula) – A brilliant orange male perched in a flowering tree just over the fence from the Hotel Bougainvillea gardens, glowing in the early morning sunshine. We also saw a drab youngster slipping in to gobble rice strewn on the lawn at Rancho.
SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus uropygialis) – Good views of two -- conveniently sitting so that we could see the front of one and the back of the other -- near the entrance to EARTH.
CHESTNUT-HEADED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius wagleri) – Reasonably common around Rancho, with especially nice views of two that came in to check out the feeders on a drippy morning at Rancho. We also saw a gang of them starting the construction of their extraordinary nests in a tree along the Silent Mountain road. [N]
MONTEZUMA OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius montezuma) – Certainly among the most common birds of the trip, with dozens seen daily -- including the mob that made regular visits to Rancho's banana feeders. Particularly entertaining were the males doing wing-wagging somersaults in an attempt to woo new mates. [N]
Fringillidae (Siskins, Crossbills, and Allies)

These little bats seem to arrange themselves in an appropriate manner, considering they were hanging in a chapel on the EARTH campus! Photo by Megan Edwards Crewe.

YELLOW-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia luteicapilla) – Several pairs seen nicely at EARTH, where the males showed off their large yellow crown patches while nibbling mistletoe berries along the road.
YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia hirundinacea) – Great views of several pairs with the huge mob of tanagers that came into a treetop -- conveniently at eye level since it was down the hill from the road -- while we huddled under our umbrellas and enjoyed the show en route to Lisa and Mario's.
OLIVE-BACKED EUPHONIA (Euphonia gouldi) – Particularly nice views of a busy pair in the fruiting tree at EARTH, with others at Rancho Naturalista.
WHITE-VENTED EUPHONIA (Euphonia minuta) – A pair clambered through one of the Cecropia trees near Rancho's balcony one morning, showing their distinctive white vents as they foraged. All of the other similarly plumaged euphonias have solidly yellow underparts.
TAWNY-CAPPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia anneae) – One near the hummingbird pools danced through a tree right at platform level, and we had great views of another with a mixed flock at Tapanti.

MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata) – A gang of these golden-backed monkeys picked fruits in a big tree near the road on the EARTH campus.
WHITE-THROATED CAPUCHIN (Cebus capucinus) – A big troop clambered through the trees over the road at EARTH, showing their acrobatic abilities by leaping from tree to tree. One of the males performed a brief threat display (bouncing up and down on a branch while grimacing at us) and several of them threw things down on the bus when Vernon parked underneath them later.
VARIEGATED SQUIRREL (Sciurus variegatoides) – From our first (on the grounds of the Hotel Bougainvillea) to our last (scrambling up a tree at EARTH), these big, colorful squirrels were pretty common through much the tour.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – A couple of these small, dark squirrels scampered up tree trunks around Rancho.
WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica) – One made a quick raid on the feeders at Rancho during an afternoon break one day, making off with an entire banana. We saw others mooching around the picnic sites at Tapanti -- with willing "enablers" ensuring they'll be back again another day.
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – A female stood wide-eyed and frozen for long seconds in a field beside the road at EARTH before bounding off into the forest.


The following is a list of the herps we managed to identify:

Common House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus): Regular in buildings at Rancho.

Slender Anole (Anolis limifrons): Seen along Rancho's driveway.

Central American Whiptail (Ameiva festiva): Mark spotted one at Rancho.

Red-eyed Stream Frog (Duellmanohyla uranochroa): One singing from a leaf near the hummingbird pool observation deck was seen by a few.

Green Iguana (Iguana iguana): One in the fruiting tree with the howlers at EARTH.

Common Rain Frog (Craugastor fitzingeri): One along the roadside at EARTH.

Green Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons): Several at EARTH.

Masked Tree Frog (Smilisca phaeota): One along Rancho's Upper trail for Ernesto and Dan.

Sabinal Frog (Leptodactylus melanotus): One heard singing at Casa Turire.

Totals for the tour: 267 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa