Field Guides
Home Tours Guides News About Us FAQ Contact Us
Field Guides Tour Report
Costa Rica: Birding the Edges Part II, the Far North 2019
Jan 13, 2019 to Jan 22, 2019
Tom Johnson & Vernon Campos

The outrageous colors in Costa Rica aren't limited to the bird life! This Red-eyed Leaf Frog was seen one night during a walk at Arenal Observatory Lodge. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

Our loop through northern Costa Rica is designed to take advantage of a variety of elevations and habitat types. Between three birding lodges (Caño Negro, Arenal Observatory Lodge, and Bosque de Paz), we were able to visit the steamy lowland wetlands of the Nicaraguan border, middle elevation forests of the Caribbean slope, and cloud forests of the volcanic highlands. This location diversity enabled us to find a rather large set of bird (and other animal) species in our week of traveling together. It was also just plain fun to enjoy traveling together in this relaxing, beautiful country.

We kicked things off with a morning on the breezy and misty slopes of the Poás Volcano. Initially, this endeavor was fairly quiet, but then we ran into a mixed flock of montane species like Volcano Hummingbird, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Flame-throated Warbler, and Golden-browed Chlorophonias that lit up the clouds. Driving north to the wetlands of Medio Queso and Caño Negro, highlights included Sungrebes, Boat-billed Herons, Jabiru, Great Potoo, Nicaraguan Seed-finch, and the localized Nicaraguan Grackle. We took two boat trips on the river at Caño Negro, fabulous as always for photography and lots of birds - these cruises even enabled us to see all six species of New World kingfishers in one day (including the rare Green-and-rufous).

Heading to the slightly higher Caribbean-slope forests of the Arenal area, we settled in to the beautiful Arenal Observatory Lodge for three nights. Crested Guans, Keel-billed Toucans, and Emerald Tanagers fed on fruits in the garden while our time on forest trails led us to find Orange-bellied Trogon, Keel-billed Motmot, Streak-crowned Antvireo, Bare-crowned Antbird, White-throated Shrike-Tanager, and Blue-and-gold Tanager. It's impossible to see ALL of the birds at Arenal in one trip, but we certainly did well on this visit.

The tour finished with two nights spent in the cloud forest at Hotel Bosque de Paz. Here we found Resplendent Quetzal, Prong-billed Barbet, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, and some fancy ovenbirds like Streak-breasted Treehunter and Ruddy Treerunner. At night, great sightings of mammals like Paca and a wonderful Olingo spiced things up, too.

Along the way, we enjoyed good Costa Rican food and hospitality and the well-developed infrastructure that makes eco-travel in this country such a distinct pleasure. It was fantastic to lead this trip once again with my friend Vernon Campos, and William's expert driving kept us moving along safely during the week. Thank you all for your company during this fine adventure!

Until next time,


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)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – Hundreds were at Medio Queso. Dozens more were at Caño Negro.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors) – We saw this migrant species regularly at Caño Negro.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis cinereiceps) – This widespread cracid was at Caño Negro and at the Bogarín trail.

For most of our group, the six (!) Sungrebes that we saw on our Caño Negro boat trips were highly anticipated lifers. Photo by group member Ron Majors.

CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens) – These big birds were common at Arenal and in surrounding areas. They were rather fond of the fruiting trees in the Arenal gardens.
BLACK GUAN (Chamaepetes unicolor) – Often scarce and tough to observe in the forest, these beauties were regular attendees at the Bosque de Paz feeders.
GREAT CURASSOW (Crax rubra) – Close studies of these magnificent birds were had on the grounds at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps) – Three were along the marshy edge of Lake Arenal.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Common around larger towns. [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Widespread in lowland areas.
RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris) – We saw these widespread pigeons in middle elevations, including commonly near the Hotel Bougainvillea.
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata) – A few flocks cruised over the forest at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
PLAIN-BREASTED GROUND-DOVE (Columbina minuta) – A pair of these tiny ground-doves sat on a wire near Caño Negro, giving us a nice contrast to the many Ruddy Ground-Doves in the area.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – Common and widespread.
BLUE GROUND-DOVE (Claravis pretiosa) – We saw quite a few flybys and saw a couple perched briefly. Additionally, we heard the loud, repeated "Boop!" call on several occasions around Caño Negro.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – Fairly common around Caño Negro.
GRAY-CHESTED DOVE (Leptotila cassinii) – One showed briefly at Arenal Sky Trek; some folks saw one at the Arenal Observatory Lodge feeders too.

Group member Ken Schneider did a great job of documenting the non-bird taxa along the way. This velvet ant (Pseudomethoca areta) has some great patterns on its small body.

GRAY-HEADED DOVE (Leptotila plumbeiceps) – This dove has a restricted range in Costa Rica, but we heard and saw it very well near our hotel in Caño Negro.
BUFF-FRONTED QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon costaricensis) – One walked around below our feet at the Cinchona mirador feeders. It was exciting to have a close look at such a lovely (and usually shy) bird.
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – Scattered sightings, especially at the beginning and end of the tour in the Central Valley.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris) – Common in the area around Caño Negro.
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) – We eventually spotted a calling bird during one of our boat trips at Caño Negro.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – This big, rusty cuckoo put in an appearance at Caño Negro.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – Over a dozen loped over at dusk during our evening boat trip in Caño Negro.
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – We spotlighted several during our Caño Negro night drive.
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
GREAT POTOO (Nyctibius grandis) – Wow! The nocturnal sighting of the bird near Caño Negro was absolutely marvelous - this massive bird with huge eyes flew in over our heads and perched on a riverside pole. Another was on a day roost at Arenal.
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus) – We found two of these slim, yellow-eyed potoos sitting on fence posts during our night drive at Caño Negro.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – Fairly common in the skies over Arenal and Bosque de Paz.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris) – We saw Chaetura swifts on several occasions; when we had some nice close views (such as in the lowlands below Bosque de Paz), the field marks helped to rule out Vaux's Swift, a potential confusion species at slightly higher elevations.
LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis) – One of these "Sky Pandas" circled overhead at length during our Caño Negro boat trip, and we shuffled positions so that everyone could get a view from the open bow.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy) – A few were at Arenal, and then we saw more at feeders - they showed particularly nicely at the Bosque de Paz feeders.
LONG-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis longirostris) – We saw a few, including a singing bird, along the Peninsula Road near Arenal.
STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis) – Several sightings of these tiny hermits in the forests near Arenal.
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti) – Two sightings on different days in the Arenal area.
GREEN-BREASTED MANGO (Anthracothorax prevostii) – One of these big hummers fed on flowers in the wetlands at Medio Queso.
GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii) – Close views on several occasions at feeders (La Paz Waterfall Garden, Cinchona) and flowers (Arenal Observatory Lodge).
BLACK-CRESTED COQUETTE (Lophornis helenae) – Yip yip! These splendid, bumblebee-esque hummingbirds showed nicely in the verbena hedges of Arenal Observatory Lodge. Mary had a particularly close encounter with a showy male.
GREEN-CROWNED BRILLIANT (Heliodoxa jacula) – Common at the Bosque de Paz feeders.
TALAMANCA HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes spectabilis) – One showed occasionally on the Bosque de Paz feeders. Before a recent split, formerly part of Magnificent Hummingbird, though the voice is quite different from the northern form that ranges north to Arizona (now called "Rivoli's Hummingbird).
PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster constantii) – On our final day, we enjoyed a nest with young and an attending adult in the Central Valley.
FIERY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Panterpe insignis) – Fairly common at higher elevations on the Poás Volcano.

This Northern Emerald-Toucanet fed at close range during our stop at the Cinchona fruit feeders. Photo by group member Jean Rigden.

WHITE-BELLIED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis hemileucus) – One made a few nice appearances at the feeders at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
PURPLE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis calolaemus) – Regular sightings from Poás to Bosque de Paz and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
MAGENTA-THROATED WOODSTAR (Calliphlox bryantae) – Our best views were at Freddo Fresas and then again at Bosque de Paz.
VOLCANO HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus flammula) – A few of these tiny hummingbirds were at higher elevations on the Poás Volcano.
VIOLET-HEADED HUMMINGBIRD (Klais guimeti) – Good views of several birds in the gardens at Arenal.
SCALY-BREASTED HUMMINGBIRD (Phaeochroa cuvierii) – Common around Arenal Observatory Lodge, where we heard them singing their loud, repetitive, whistling songs.
VIOLET SABREWING (Campylopterus hemileucurus) – Massive and stunning, these hummers were particularly dominant at the Bosque de Paz feeders.
CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica) – Two were at the forest edge at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
STRIPE-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Eupherusa eximia) – One staked out a section of verbena hedge at Arenal Observatory Lodge where we enjoyed nice scope views.
BLACK-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Eupherusa nigriventris) – These Eupherusa hummingbirds have a peculiar, boxy-headed look that makes them stand out from the other hummers that we found on the tour. A few were at Bosque de Paz and also at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
COPPERY-HEADED EMERALD (Elvira cupreiceps) – This small Costa Rican endemic hummingbird swarmed the feeders at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. [E]
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl) – Seen at almost every site we visited on the tour - common and widespread.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
RUSSET-NAPED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides albiventris) – These colorful rails were seen frequently along the edge of the water at Caño Negro.
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica) – About nine were in the wetlands at Medio Queso.
WHITE-THROATED CRAKE (Laterallus albigularis) – Sweet! This small rail is typically very secretive, but the pool at Bogarín attracted one individual out into the open for amazing views.
Heliornithidae (Finfoots)
SUNGREBE (Heliornis fulica) – We saw six of these strange waterbirds during our two boat trips at Caño Negro. One was even out of the water, showing off its pied, clown-like feet.
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna) – Just a few were at Caño Negro.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – These lanky shorebirds were fairly common around Caño Negro.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – One was seen briefly in a farm field near the Poás Volcano.
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus) – About 15 were with other shorebirds in the muddy lagoon at Caño Negro.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa) – These long-toed shorebirds were very common at Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) – Dozens were along muddy edges at Caño Negro.

This diminutive Coppery-headed Emerald is only found in Costa Rica. We enjoyed lots of these metallic hummingbirds at close range at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – Scattered sightings at Caño Negro.
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) – Two sightings of this long distance migrant in the Caño Negro area.
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – One was at Caño Negro with two Lesser Yellowlegs.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes) – Two were with other wading birds near town at Caño Negro.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
JABIRU (Jabiru mycteria) – Spectacular, even in the half-light of dusk! One was perched up in a huge ceiba tree near Caño Negro at dusk on our first evening.
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) – Common in the northern lowlands.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – Very common in the wetlands of the far north.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – Common around water.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
BARE-THROATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma mexicanum) – Plenty of these striking herons were in wetlands and field edges near Caño Negro.
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) – Scattered sightings of this large, migrant heron between Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Common in the far north.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Common in wetlands of the far north.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – Small numbers were scattered between Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – Just a few individuals between Medio Queso and Caño Negro.

Persistence paid off for group member Mary Trombley when she took this close photo of a male Black-crested Coquette in the gardens at Arenal.

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Common in open lowland areas.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – These small herons were common, especially around Caño Negro.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – Two were seen on our boat trips at Caño Negro.
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius) – We saw nearly 20 of these "choquacos" on day roosts during our Caño Negro boat trips. What an incredible smile on these big-eyed birds!
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus) – A few flocks were scattered around Caño Negro.
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – We saw just one bird in the big lagoon during our morning Caño Negro boat trip.
GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis) – A couple of individuals of this oddly shaped ibis were along the water's edge at Caño Negro.
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja) – These pink knockouts were fairly common in the Caño Negro area.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Fairly common in middle elevations.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Common and widespread.
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus) – We saw one flying low over the marsh at Medio Queso; another was soaring over us during a boat trip at Caño Negro. In good light, we could really see the differences in color between the heads of these vultures and the very similar Turkey Vultures.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Just a few were along the river at Caño Negro.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus) – Scattered sightings of these fine raptors in agricultural habitats.
GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis) – One was perched up along the river at Caño Negro.
BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus) – Ken photographed one of these fine raptors overhead at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus) – We heard one whistling during our walk at Arenal Sky Trek.
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis) – Two were at Medio Queso Marsh.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – Common.

This gorgeous Black-and-white Owl hunted over a streetlight at the Arenal Observatory Lodge each evening. Photo by group member Ron Majors.

GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – Several good sightings around the Arenal area.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – We found wintering individuals on several occasions in forested habitats.
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus) – This Buteo was a common soaring bird, seen several times on this tour.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis) – We saw just one during our time at Bosque de Paz.
Strigidae (Owls)
SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata) – A beautiful, responsive bird came in right over our heads at Arenal one evening after dinner.
BLACK-AND-WHITE OWL (Ciccaba nigrolineata) – One was hunting over a light at Arenal each evening during our stay there.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
RESPLENDENT QUETZAL (Pharomachrus mocinno) – A lovely female sat for a few minutes on the trails at Bosque de Paz; we managed to scope it through a tiny gap in the subcanopy.
SLATY-TAILED TROGON (Trogon massena) – Several good views of this bulky trogon in forest at Caño Negro and again at Arenal.
BLACK-HEADED TROGON (Trogon melanocephalus) – We saw these trogons routinely along the edge of the river at Caño Negro.
GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus) – These widespread trogons put on a show at Bogarín and also nearby at Arenal.
ORANGE-BELLIED TROGON (Trogon aurantiiventris) – Repeated sightings of a male along the waterfall trail at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
Momotidae (Motmots)
LESSON'S MOTMOT (Momotus lessonii lessonii) – One was at the feeders at Freddo Fresas, and then we saw this species again at very close range at Hotel Bougainvillea on our final evening together.
RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii) – One gave us some partial views and called frequently in a dense forest patch near Arenal.

Group member Jean Rigden took this great photo of an alert group of foraging Coatis holding their long tails aloft.

KEEL-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron carinatum) – One of these scarce motmots was a surprise in the forest at the Bogarín trail near La Fortuna.
BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron platyrhynchum) – Wonderful views of a few birds near Arenal. This species has been suspected to pair with Keel-billed Motmot in this area.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – Common at Caño Negro, with a maximum count of 13 on one of our boat trips there.
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – A few sightings at Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona) – Amazingly common! Several dozen were seen on each of our Caño Negro boat trips.
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – We saw three of these tiny kingfishers during one of our boat trips at Caño Negro.
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – This small kingfisher was common at Caño Negro
GREEN-AND-RUFOUS KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle inda) – Wow! This species is the rarest of the six New World kingfishers, and we were fortunate to have fantastic, close views of a perched bird during our afternoon boat trip at Caño Negro. We ended up seeing all six American kingfishers in one day!
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – Ours were at the Bogarín trail and also at Arenal.
Semnornithidae (Toucan-Barbets)
PRONG-BILLED BARBET (Semnornis frantzii) – These strange and lovely mountain birds were in the forest above Bosque de Paz and also at the feeders at the Cinchona mirador.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
NORTHERN EMERALD-TOUCANET (BLUE-THROATED) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus caeruleogularis) – Three posed at very close range courtesy of the fruit feeders at the Cinchona mirador. Two of them were comfortable enough to mate about 20 feet away from us!
COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus) – Regular sightings at Caño Negro and in the garden at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
YELLOW-THROATED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) – Common at middle elevations - plenty were around Arenal.
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – Less common than Yellow-throated Toucan, but we had several close sightings around Arenal Observatory Lodge.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
OLIVACEOUS PICULET (Picumnus olivaceus) – Two of these minute woodpeckers were close to the lodge at Caño Negro.
BLACK-CHEEKED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pucherani) – Common in lower and middle elevations. Fantastic, close views near the lodge at Caño Negro.

This Olive-backed Euphonia showed off all of its colors at the Bogarín feeders. Photo by group member Mary Trombley.

HOFFMANN'S WOODPECKER (Melanerpes hoffmannii) – Common, especially at Hotel Bougainvillea and Caño Negro.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus) – Repeated sightings of brown-stained birds (the local subspecies looks very different from birds in the US and Canada) in the forest at Bosque de Paz.
SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER (Dryobates fumigatus) – These small, brown woodpeckers made several appearances in forest around the Arenal area.
PALE-BILLED WOODPECKER (Campephilus guatemalensis) – One of these large, outstanding woodpeckers perched on the side of a big tree during one of our boat trips at Caño Negro.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – These big woodpeckers were fairly common in a mix of habitats around Caño Negro.
CINNAMON WOODPECKER (Celeus loricatus) – We heard one calling in the forest at Arenal Sky Trek, but it was not responsive this time. [*]
RUFOUS-WINGED WOODPECKER (Piculus simplex) – One of these handsome woodpeckers was near the end of the driveway to the lodge in Caño Negro.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – One called and showed a few times around Arenal Observatory Lodge.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – These striking caracaras were fairly widespread in the lowlands.
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima) – One was perched near some cattle during our morning boat trip at Caño Negro.
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) – The bird perched up between Arenal and La Fortuna posed for a great scope view during a roadside stop. This block-headed falcon likes to hunt lizards and snakes.
MERLIN (Falco columbarius) – One of these wintering falcons flew over as we birded in the misty forests of the Poás Volcano.
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – We saw two - one was in a treetop near Bosque de Paz, while the other one was in a snag near the mirador at Cinchona.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis) – These small parakeets were fairly common at lower and middle elevations - they were coming in to the feeders at Bogarín in big numbers for close views.
WHITE-CROWNED PARROT (Pionus senilis) – Repeated sightings in the gardens at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis) – These big Amazona parrots were fairly common in the Caño Negro area.

Even though this Olingo looks particularly vicious in this shot, it was really just caught mid-chew on a piece of banana (we think it was actually a very happy Olingo). We had a wonderful, close experience with this mammal on our final evening at Bosque de Paz. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

YELLOW-NAPED PARROT (Amazona auropalliata) – About 10 were in a treetop in Heredia at dawn as we left the Hotel Bougainvillea to drive to the Poás Volcano.
OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEET (Eupsittula nana) – Several sightings near the Nicaraguan border at Caño Negro.
CRIMSON-FRONTED PARAKEET (Psittacara finschi) – Fairly common in lower and middle elevations - we saw plenty at Hotel Bougainvillea; another flock passed overhead at Caño Negro.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE (Cymbilaimus lineatus) – These big antshrikes were singing in dense tangles along the Peninsula Road at Arenal, but we weren't able to tempt one into the open. [*]
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) – Only partial views along the Peninsula Road at Arenal.
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) – A pair was along the edge of the river at Caño Negro during one of our boat trips there.
RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (Thamnistes anabatinus) – A fairly common member of mixed flocks around Arenal - we saw several foraging in hanging clumps of dead leaves.
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis) – We heard one singing at Arenal, but didn't manage to see it. [*]
STREAK-CROWNED ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus striaticeps) – Excellent views of a pair along the upper reaches of the waterfall trail at Arenal.
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor) – The pair at Arenal Observatory Lodge was with a loose flock and showed briefly.
DUSKY ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides tyrannina) – We found pairs at Caño Negro and again at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
BARE-CROWNED ANTBIRD (Gymnocichla nudiceps) – Sweet! A singing bird eventually showed very nicely in vines along the Peninsula Road at Arenal. That electric blue skin on the head is really spectacular.
DULL-MANTLED ANTBIRD (Sipia laemosticta) – Such a bad name for a great bird - this antbird was heard a few times near Arenal and showed fairly well in a dark gully below us, flashing those intense red eyes.
BICOLORED ANTBIRD (Gymnopithys bicolor bicolor) – We heard one singing along the waterfall trail at Arenal. [*]
SPOTTED ANTBIRD (Hylophylax naevioides) – Close views a few times in the forest understory at Arenal.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
THICKET ANTPITTA (Hylopezus dives) – We heard a few of these antpittas around Arenal, but they stayed out of sight. [*]
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
SILVERY-FRONTED TAPACULO (Scytalopus argentifrons) – One of these flying mice hopped along a hillside above Bosque de Paz, giving a reasonably good look as far as tapaculos go!
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus) – This small, short-billed woodcreeper put in several good appearances between Arenal and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius) – A few of these mid-sized woodcreepers were in the Arenal area and again at Bosque de Paz.

The huge bill on this Nicaraguan Seed-finch barely fits on the bird's head. This species was a highlight of our time near Caño Negro. Photo by group member Ken Schneider.

STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – These slim woodcreepers were common in lowlands around Caño Negro.
SPOT-CROWNED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes affinis) – One was on small trees at the edge of a pasture on the Poás Volcano. In Costa Rica, it's the highland counterpart of Streak-headed Woodcreeper.
PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus) – One was with a mixed flock at the Arenal Observatory Lodge.
LINEATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Syndactyla subalaris) – We heard a few of these stout ovenbirds around Bosque de Paz, and tracked down one for a decent look through the cloud forest mist.
STREAK-BREASTED TREEHUNTER (Thripadectes rufobrunneus) – One responded tentatively and showed briefly on the forest trails at Bosque de Paz.
BUFF-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (HYPOPHAEUS) (Automolus ochrolaemus hypophaeus) – We saw and heard this ovenbird in a mixed flock at Arenal. This bird is a Caribbean-slope bird in Costa Rica; its Pacific counterpart was recently split as "Chiriqui Foliage-gleaner" (which we saw on Part 1).
STRIPED WOODHAUNTER (Automolus subulatus) – One was in a mixed flock at Arenal.
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens) – A few were creeping on tree trunks in the forest at Bosque de Paz.
RUDDY TREERUNNER (Margarornis rubiginosus) – These range-restricted ovenbirds were in the highlands at Bosque de Paz, acting like nuthatches as they crept along large branches in the mid-story.
RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops) – These arboreal spinetails crept around at close range in small trees along the river at Bosque de Paz.
SLATY SPINETAIL (Synallaxis brachyura) – We saw this dark spinetail near the lodge at Caño Negro
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma imberbe) – Fairly common around Caño Negro. Especially conspicuous by voice.
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola) – We found these small, hyperactive flycatchers on several occasions, but the best view was during a walk in town at Caño Negro.
GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata) – One gave us a nice identification puzzle for a minute or two in the grove of trees near our rooms at Caño Negro.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – Common and very conspicuous by voice.
MOUNTAIN ELAENIA (Elaenia frantzii) – Plenty were in forest on the Poás Volcano and also near Bosque de Paz.
TORRENT TYRANNULET (Serpophaga cinerea) – We saw these small flycatchers a few times in the fast-flowing stream at Bosque de Paz. They were even active during heavy rainstorms!
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus) – These inconspicuous flycatchers were foraging on fruit at Bosque de Paz and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – We had some good luck with this gray-helmeted forest species, with several good views in the Arenal area.
MISTLETOE TYRANNULET (Zimmerius parvus) – Common and widespread.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus) – These tiny flycatchers appeared several times in the forest in the Arenal area.
NORTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma cinereigulare) – We heard this flycatcher of forest understory twice around Caño Negro, but weren't able to lay eyes on it. [*]
SLATE-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus sylvia) – We heard but did not see this little flycatcher near the biological station at Caño Negro. [*]
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum) – Common, especially near water and in gardens.
BLACK-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum nigriceps) – One was at Arenal Sky Trek, and another was nearby along the Peninsula Road, but neither was particularly showy.
SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius aureatus) – One appeared with a mixed flock in the forest at Arenal.
TUFTED FLYCATCHER (Mitrephanes phaeocercus) – These handsome flycatchers were relatively common in the forest at Bosque de Paz.
DARK PEWEE (Contopus lugubris) – A few sightings of this sturdy, dark flycatcher along the road above Bosque de Paz.
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus) – We saw these common flycatchers perched low, often on fences. Our best sightings were in the Caño Negro area.
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris) – A few of these wintering Empidonax flycatchers were in the forest around Arenal.

This Collared Aracari posed perfectly at close range for group member Mary Trombley.

WHITE-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax albigularis) – We stopped at a wetland with lots of shrubs around the northern edge of the Poás Volcano and found this uncommon and localized breeding Empidonax calling and showing off (as much as a drab Empid can "show off"!).
YELLOWISH FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flavescens) – Several of these confiding flycatchers were in the area around Bosque de Paz.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans) – A few were along rushing water at Arenal and right outside the lodge at Bosque de Paz.
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus) – We studied these distinctive flycatchers along the Peninsula Road at Arenal.
RUFOUS MOURNER (Rhytipterna holerythra) – A few were vocal and one showed pretty well on the Hormiga Trail at Arenal.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – These slim, drab Myiarchus flycatchers were at Caño Negro and also at Arenal.
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) – We heard and saw several individuals on our afternoon boat trip at Caño Negro. These big Myiarchus flycatchers with dark gray chests and yellow bellies make a loud "wheeeeep!" call that gives away their ID.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Common at low and middle elevations.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – Several sightings in the Arenal area.
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis) – Common; seen every day in low and middle elevations.
GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes granadensis) – We found a few of these noisy flycatchers along the river at Caño Negro during our afternoon boat trip.
WHITE-RINGED FLYCATCHER (Conopias albovittatus) – This species was a nice highlight of our afternoon boat trip at Caño Negro. We heard this uncommon canopy flycatcher calling and then spotted it in the treetops along the river.
GOLDEN-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes hemichrysus) – Both members of a pair were excited and vocal in the forest subcanopy at Bosque de Paz.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – Very common and widespread.
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus savana) – A pair flew across the road in front of us in the lowlands north of Bosque de Paz.
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
SNOWY COTINGA (Carpodectes nitidus) – Woohoo! A male-female pair were in riverside treetops during our afternoon boat trip at Caño Negro.
Pipridae (Manakins)
WHITE-RUFFED MANAKIN (Corapipo altera) – One was in the forest at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
WHITE-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus candei) – A few were in the forest edge at Caño Negro. One male appeared during our boat trip, and then we saw a female in the woods near our lodge.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor) – One was with Masked Tityras in a big fruiting tree along the Peninsula Road at Arenal.
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata) – We saw this species and its red facial skin in comparison with a Black-crowned Tityra along the Peninsula Road at Arenal.
CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus) – Our best view was along the Peninsula Road near the aforementioned tityras.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus) – A nice male was with a mixed flock behind our rooms at our lodge in Caño Negro.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
TAWNY-CROWNED GREENLET (Tunchiornis ochraceiceps) – We heard these vireo relatives a few times in the Arenal area. [*]

We had a great moment in the Arenal gardens watching this stunning Crimson-collared Tanager. Photo by group member Ron Majors.

LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata) – Fairly common in flocks between the Caño Negro and Arenal areas.
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) – Wintering birds were with mixed flocks at Caño Negro and Bosque de Paz.
YELLOW-WINGED VIREO (Vireo carmioli) – Endemic to the Chiriqui highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama, this species appeared in mixed flocks in the forest near Bosque de Paz.
PHILADELPHIA VIREO (Vireo philadelphicus) – Just a few of these wintering vireos were in the canopy at Bosque de Paz.
BROWN-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo leucophrys) – One good, solid look in a mixed flock along the road above Bosque de Paz.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
WHITE-THROATED MAGPIE-JAY (Calocitta formosa) – These huge beauties are accustomed to receiving peanuts along the roadside at Arenal, so we had some excellent, close views.
BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio) – It wasn't until our final day of birding that we encountered this common, widespread species - somehow, we very nearly missed it this time!
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca) – This high-contrast swallow was only seen at higher elevations such as on the slopes of the Poás Volcano.
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) – At least 6 were foraging over a mowed roadside near the Lake Arenal dam.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – The buffy rumps of these resident swallows set them apart from the previous species. Southerns were relatively common in the Arenal area during this tour.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea) – Particularly common in the lowlands of the northern border.
MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea) – Fairly common in the lowland wetlands between Medio Queso and Caño Negro. We saw them perched at close range in the river during our boat trips.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – A few were at Caño Negro and then over a dozen were flying over pastures when we stopped to look for Fork-tailed Flycatchers north of Bosque de Paz.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
NIGHTINGALE WREN (Microcerculus philomela) – We heard the wandering, enchanting song of this wren on several occasions from the forest at Arenal, but couldn't find one that felt compelled to respond to playback.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – Common at almost all sites we visited.

Fruit feeders allow us to get fantastic looks at colorful songbirds like this Red-legged Honeycreeper. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

OCHRACEOUS WREN (Troglodytes ochraceus) – These highland wrens showed nicely at Bosque de Paz and elsewhere in the area around the Poás Volcano.
BAND-BACKED WREN (Campylorhynchus zonatus) – A group of these big wrens chattered and climbed around in small trees in the Arenal gardens.
SPOT-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius maculipectus) – These vine-loving wrens are restricted to the far north in Costa Rica, and we saw them along the river at Caño Negro.
BLACK-THROATED WREN (Pheugopedius atrogularis) – We heard these wrens several times in the Arenal area; our best view came near the hanging bridges at Arenal Sky Trek.
STRIPE-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus thoracicus) – These forest wrens were fairly conspicuous along the trails at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
CANEBRAKE WREN (Cantorchilus zeledoni) – This former "Plain Wren" sang from the river edge at Caño Negro on a few occasions.
BAY WREN (Cantorchilus nigricapillus) – These richly colored wrens appeared several times in dense tangles between Caño Negro and Arenal.
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta) – We heard these lower elevation wood-wrens on several occasions around Arenal. [*]
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys) – This is the montane wood-wren that we saw nicely in the forests around Bosque de Paz.
SONG WREN (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus) – Wow! After hearing one calling back in the forest, a bit of record-playback resulted in up-close views of one of these understory beauties at Arenal.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
TAWNY-FACED GNATWREN (Microbates cinereiventris) – We heard one of these little gnomes along the trails at Arenal Sky Trek. [*]
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) – One showed nicely on one of the short trails at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea) – We saw these skinny tail-waggers repeatedly in the forest at Caño Negro.
Cinclidae (Dippers)
AMERICAN DIPPER (Cinclus mexicanus) – One of these gray beauties was in the river at Bosque de Paz
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
BLACK-FACED SOLITAIRE (Myadestes melanops) – We heard the ethereal song of this lovely bird several times around Bosque de Paz, but only saw it briefly.

Group member Ron Majors snagged this great portrait of an amazingly showy White-throated Crake at Bogarín, near La Fortuna.

BLACK-BILLED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus gracilirostris) – Just a few in the misty forest at high elevation on the Poás Volcano.
SLATY-BACKED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus fuscater) – We saw individuals at Bosque de Paz, Cinchona, and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
RUDDY-CAPPED NIGHTINGALE-THRUSH (Catharus frantzii) – Several sightings at Bosque de Paz.
WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina) – One was in the thicket behind the rooms at our lodge at Caño Negro.
MOUNTAIN THRUSH (Turdus plebejus) – These drab but still well-marked (a contradiction, I know - but remember those arrow-marked undertail coverts?) Turdus thrushes were at the Poás Volcano and also at Bosque de Paz.
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi) – Common and widespread; Costa Rica's national bird.
SOOTY THRUSH (Turdus nigrescens) – We saw about five of these big, dark thrushes in the highlands of the Poás Volcano.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus) – This expanding species showed several times, most memorably at the Bogarín feeders.
Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
BLACK-AND-YELLOW SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Phainoptila melanoxantha) – We saw this chunky silky-flycatcher in the misty forest of Poás Volcano.
LONG-TAILED SILKY-FLYCATCHER (Ptiliogonys caudatus) – These beautiful songbirds were seen regularly in the forest around Bosque de Paz. We often saw them perched up in the bare treetops around the lodge.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
GOLDEN-BROWED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia callophrys) – Four were in the frenzied mixed flock in forest on the Poás Volcano on our first day together.
YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia hirundinacea) – Reasonably common at Caño Negro and also at Arenal.
OLIVE-BACKED EUPHONIA (Euphonia gouldi) – Two were coming in to the fruit feeders at Bogarín.

This Common Chlorospingus and Silver-throated Tanager shared a perch at a fruit feeder, captured here nicely by group member Jean Rigden.

TAWNY-CAPPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia anneae) – These very fancy forest euphonias showed a few times in forest around the margins around Arenal Observatory Lodge.
YELLOW-BELLIED SISKIN (Spinus xanthogastrus) – Three were feeding in the alders at Bosque de Paz around lunchtime one day.
Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)
SOOTY-CAPPED CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus pileatus) – This high elevation chlorospingus was quite common in forest on the upper slopes of the Poás Volcano.
COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (Chlorospingus flavopectus) – We found these chlorospingus (Chlorospinguses?Yikes!) to be common in flocks on the lower slopes of the Poás Volcano (and in the forest at Bosque de Paz).
BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris) – These big, noisy sparrows were seen regularly in the low and middle elevations (basically everywhere except for the highlands on this tour).
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris) – We enjoyed a few sightings of this striking understory bird along forest trails in the Arenal area.
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon brunneinucha) – A few were sighted regularly at the cracked corn spread on the ground across the creek from the lodge at Bosque de Paz.
SOOTY-FACED FINCH (Arremon crassirostris) – One foraged under the tables inside the open-air restaurant (!) at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis) – Common only at the upper elevations that we visited on this tour.
YELLOW-THIGHED FINCH (Pselliophorus tibialis) – We found about 4 of these puff-legged songbirds on our first day of birding around the Poás Volcano.
Zeledoniidae (Wrenthrush)
WRENTHRUSH (Zeledonia coronata) – We found a marginally responsive bird on the upper slopes of the Poás Volcano; though it called back persistently, most of us only saw a shadowy blur this time.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna) – One sang from a roadside wire in the lowlands north of Bosque de Paz.
RED-BREASTED MEADOWLARK (Leistes militaris) – We saw about four of these striking Icterids in open fields between Los Chiles and Caño Negro.
MONTEZUMA OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius montezuma) – We saw these big, beautiful songbirds regularly on the Caribbean slope; nowhere were they closer and easier to observe than on the fruit feeders at the Arenal Observatory Lodge.
SCARLET-RUMPED CACIQUE (SCARLET-RUMPED) (Cacicus uropygialis microrhynchus) – One was perched up and vocal along the river at Caño Negro during our afternoon boat trip.

This Long-tailed Tyrant was perched up and foraging on insects at Arenal. Photo by group member Ken Schneider.

BLACK-COWLED ORIOLE (Icterus prosthemelas) – We had several nice sightings at Caño Negro and Arenal, but the two birds at the Cinchona feeders were the best of all.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula) – A common wintering species throughout most of our route (except for the area around Bosque de Paz).
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus) – We saw these familiar birds commonly between Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus) – We saw a few dozen along the river edge at Caño Negro.
MELODIOUS BLACKBIRD (Dives dives) – Common and increasingly widespread. They were particularly easy to hear and see in the gardens at Arenal.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – Common in lowland areas.
NICARAGUAN GRACKLE (Quiscalus nicaraguensis) – The male that was singing and displaying in the open at Medio Queso was pretty spectacular. This blackbird is rare and localized within Costa Rica (and its entire world range is in the lowlands around Lake Nicaragua).
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla) – Repeated sightings, especially along the fast-flowing river at Bosque de Paz. It's always heartening to see this denizen of clean waterways bobbing its body up and down on wet rocks.
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – This wintering species is common in the low elevation wetland forest of the northern border.
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera) – The one near our rooms at the Caño Negro lodge was particularly nice, but we saw this declining (and spectacular) warbler repeatedly, usually in mixed flocks.
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – This wintering species was fairly common in forest along our route.
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea) – Our only sightings of these "golden swamp warblers" were along the edge of the river at Caño Negro. They often shone like beacons of light from the dark root masses of huge waterside trees.
FLAME-THROATED WARBLER (Oreothlypis gutturalis) – Singles were on the upper slopes of the Poás Volcano and also at Bosque de Paz.
TENNESSEE WARBLER (Oreothlypis peregrina) – This small warbler was a frequent sight, especially around the Arenal area.
GRAY-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis poliocephala) – One bird was incredibly responsive along the road at Medio Queso, showing off its stocky build and thick bill.
MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia) – We heard birds calling "switch!" at Bosque de Paz and also across the road from the Cinchona feeders.

William turned the bus around so we could check out this roadside Nine-banded Armadillo in La Fortuna. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

KENTUCKY WARBLER (Geothlypis formosa) – We heard one giving its rich chip calls from the forest at Bogarín.
OLIVE-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis semiflava) – Stellar looks at the same roadside marsh where we found White-throated Flycatchers.
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – These active, tail-flaring warblers were seen at Caño Negro and also at the Bogarín trail.
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – We found these small, compact, colorful warblers in forest at Arenal and especially at Bosque de Paz.
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – One was with a mixed flock at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – Common between the northern lowlands and the Arenal area.
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica) – Often one of the most common songbirds in mixed flocks across the country - the cocked up tail is usually an ID giveaway.
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (Setophaga virens) – This highland winterer was fairly common on the Poás Volcano and also at Bosque de Paz.
RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus rufifrons) – We found one chipping wildly in a back corner of the Hotel Bougainvillea gardens on our final evening.
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus) – Just a few were foraging in the understory at Arenal and Bosque de Paz.
COSTA RICAN WARBLER (Basileuterus melanotis) – On two occasions, we found groups of three birds in forest understory at Bosque de Paz. This warbler is endemic to Costa Rica and western Panama.
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) – We found a great, showy individual at Arenal Observatory Lodge. That bird wagged its tail from the ground on the side of the waterfall trail, chipping loudly.
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) – Several sightings at middle and upper elevations.
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – These flashy, yellow-bellied warblers were sighted frequently at Bosque de Paz and also at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
COLLARED REDSTART (Myioborus torquatus) – Just one sighting - at Bosque de Paz along the road above the lodge.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) – One came in and perched for scope views on the morning we spent watching the casona lights at Arenal Observatory Lodge. Females can be tricky to separate from the similar Carmiol's Tanager at a quick glance by plumage, but their calls and habits help with the ID.
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – Common; seen and heard almost every day.
FLAME-COLORED TANAGER (Piranga bidentata) – Several scattered sightings on Poás Volcano and around the lodge at Bosque de Paz.

We enjoyed seeing this male Nicaraguan Grackle as he sang from a close perch at the Medio Queso Marsh. This species is only found in the Lake Nicaraguan lowlands, so it's quite localized in Costa Rica. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

RED-THROATED ANT-TANAGER (Habia fuscicauda) – A pair showed incredibly well at the Lost Iguana Resort near Arenal.
CARMIOL'S TANAGER (Chlorothraupis carmioli) – We found these olive-colored, forest songbirds several times at Arenal. They often anchor mixed flocks, and we also saw them attending the insect buffet at the casona lights.
BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanoloxia cyanoides) – A singing bird stayed well out of sight in a vine tangle along the Peninsula Road at Arenal.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus) – We saw a pair foraging along the Peninsula Road at Arenal.
WHITE-THROATED SHRIKE-TANAGER (Lanio leucothorax) – These striking flock-leaders made at least three appearances in the Arenal area. Remember the one that Vernon scoped for us? Amazing.
CRIMSON-COLLARED TANAGER (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus) – This red and black beauty was in the gardens at the Arenal Observatory Lodge.
SCARLET-RUMPED TANAGER (PASSERINI'S) (Ramphocelus passerinii passerinii) – Common and widespread. This is the Caribbean slope form - Passerini's and Cherrie's (from the Pacific slope) tanagers were recently lumped as Scarlet-rumped Tanager.
BLUE-AND-GOLD TANAGER (Bangsia arcaei) – Wow! This rare and beautiful bird was with a mixed flock dominated by Carmiol's Tanagers in the forest at Arenal Observatory Lodge. We had a short time with it, but what a time it was!
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus) – Almost everywhere at low and middle elevations.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – Common and widespread.
GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Tangara larvata) – We saw these lovely tanagers frequently between Caño Negro and Arenal.
SPANGLE-CHEEKED TANAGER (Tangara dowii) – Our first one of these dramatic stunners was in a mixed flock on the upper slopes of the Poás Volcano. The second was on our final birding day at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola) – Fairly common in fruiting trees in the gardens at the Arenal Observatory Lodge.
EMERALD TANAGER (Tangara florida) – These green, yellow, and black tanagers were feeding on figs with other birds at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala) – Common at middle elevations throughout much of the tour.

As we watched hummingbirds and toucanets from the shelter of the Cinchona mirador, this Bat Falcon perched to enjoy a rain shower on a snag. Photo by group member Ron Majors.

SCARLET-THIGHED DACNIS (Dacnis venusta) – One was in the gardens at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana) – We saw this well-marked tanager in the forest canopy at Caño Negro.
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes cyaneus) – Frequent canopy sightings, but the up-close looks at the Bogarín feeders were simply unforgettable (Red-legged Bananacreeper).
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – Fairly common at middle elevations, including at the fruit feeders around Arenal.
SLATY FLOWERPIERCER (Diglossa plumbea) – We found these small, dark songbirds frequently in flowering shrubs in the highlands of the Poás Volcano.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – These tiny, active songbirds were fairly common in grasses between Medio Queso and Caño Negro.
THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila funerea) – About six were along the road through mixed habitats that ran from Los Chiles to Caño Negro.
NICARAGUAN SEED-FINCH (Sporophila nuttingi) – Yowza! This stocky songbird is much larger than Thick-billed Seed-finch and has a simply massive bill. We saw several males and females between Los Chiles and Caño Negro, with close views of both sexes.
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina) – Common in grasses and along forest edges.
MORELET'S SEEDEATER (Sporophila morelleti) – This is a split from the bird formerly known as "White-collared Seedeater" (the other form from West Mexico is now recognized as Cinnamon-rumped Seedeater). Ours were in a mixed seedeater/ grassquit flock at Medio Queso on the first day of the tour.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Common and widespread.
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus) – We found singing males at a few scattered locations in middle elevations.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus) – A common flock member - we had close looks at the Bogarín feeders.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – Close birds were feeding at Freddo Fresas and at Caño Negro.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Only in towns. [I]

MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata) – Plenty were in the forest around Caño Negro and also at higher elevations (heard only) at Bosque de Paz.
WHITE-THROATED CAPUCHIN (Cebus capucinus) – We found a few of these small monkeys near Arenal.
CENTRAL AMERICAN SPIDER MONKEY (Ateles geoffroyi) – Great views of these lanky primates during our boat trips at Caño Negro.

This Bare-crowned Antbird worked his way up into a vine tangle and offered us a great show on the Peninsula Road near Arenal. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BROWN-THROATED THREE-TOED SLOTH (Bradypus variegatus) – A groundskeeper at Caño Negro showed us one in a tree, and we found another during our walk on the Bogarín trail. Awesome to see two of these iconic mammals with their green-tinged fur.
NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO (Dasypus novemcinctus) – Woah! This oblivious animal was sniffing around on a roadside berm on the outskirts of La Fortuna.
VARIEGATED SQUIRREL (Sciurus variegatoides) – This was the large, multi-colored squirrel that we found several times in low and middle elevations.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – The animals that we discussed at the feeders at Bosque de Paz apparently belong to this species, though their ears were shorter and their fur more grizzled and duller in color than lowland members of the species.
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata) – Our best sightings of these goofy-looking mammals were at the cracked corn spread out on the lawn at Bosque de Paz.
PACA (Cuniculus paca) – These tank-like, white-spotted mammals were regularly seen at night as they fed on cracked corn at Bosque de Paz.
NORTHERN RACCOON (Procyon lotor) – A group of three were revealed during our spotlighting session near Caño Negro.
WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica) – These slender, intelligent mammals were fairly common in the Arenal area where they are somewhat habituated to humans.
OLINGO (Bassaricyon gabbii) – This was our standout mammal highlight of this tour - one came in after dark to eat fruit off a feeding table outside the lodge at Bosque de Paz. It's our first time seeing the animal on this tour in the past five years. Related to kinkajous, the olingo has the jaw structure of a carnivore but is primarily a fruit-eater.
GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana) – Incredibly common at Caño Negro.
TROPICAL HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus mabouia) – We heard these geckos chuckling from several buildings during our tour.
NORTHERN CAT-EYED SNAKE (Leptodeira septentrionalis) – Mary and I saw one on the evening frog walk at Arenal.
EYELASH VIPER (Bothriechis schlegelii) – A groundskeeper at Arenal told us about a small individual that was curled up in a verbena hedge along the driveway at Arenal. It was nice to stand back about fifteen feet and have a great scope view of this well-camouflaged snake.
SPECTACLED CAIMAN (Caiman crocodilus) – We saw these crocodilians along the river bank at Caño Negro.
RED-EYED LEAF FROG (Agalychnis callidryas) – At least half a dozen were on leaves surrounding the frog pond at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
CANE TOAD (Rhinella marina) – Common in the lowlands.


Totals for the tour: 333 bird taxa and 12 mammal taxa