Jungle Pools and Rushing Water/Piscinas en la Selva y Agua Corriendo

Thermal pool soakers (photo by Julie Girard).

Thermal pool soakers (photo by Julie Girard).

The recent day trip with Desafios Tour to Aguas Calientes and Finca La Libertad was a “birdy” and watery wonderful time! Everyone succumbed to the beauty of the two main thermal pools, secluded in the forest next to the fast-moving water of the Rio Coto. Members enjoyed the morning soaking in the warm water, hiking further into the woods to find a third pool, photographing local flora and fauna and just sitting on the huge rocks, chatting and enjoying the scenic backdrop.

Our very first bird was an obligingly perched Purple Crowned Fairy, seen well and by everybody. Other avian highlights included a likewise perched Double-toothed Kite and a sweep of ‘pecho amarillos’: Great Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Gray-capped Flycatcher and Tropical Kingbird.

Purple-crowned Fairy (photo by Jeff Worman).

Purple-crowned Fairy (photo by Jeff Worman).

 

Our leader from Desafios, Henry Barrantes, then led us to his family’s huge farm, Finca La Libertad, where we had a delicious lunch cooked by his wife, Francini, and served by his daughter Valeria who also accompanied us on our previous Desafios Tour at Los Chocuacos.

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¡El reciente tour de un día con Desafíos Tour a Aguas Calientes y a la Finca La Libertad fue un “aviario” y acuoso momento increíble! Todo el mundo sucumbió a la belleza de las dos piscinas termales principales, aisladas en el bosque junto a la rápida corriente del Río Coto. Los miembros disfrutaron la mañana empapándose en el agua cálida, adentrándose en el bosque en busca de una tercera piscina, tomando fotografías de la flora y fauna locales y sentándose en las enormes rocas para hablar y observar el escénico ambiente.

Balancing act (photo by Julie Girard).

Balancing act (photo by Julie Girard).

Nuestro primer pájaro fue un colibrí picopunzón amablemente posado y visto fácilmente por todo el mundo. Otras aves destacables incluyeron un gavilán bidentado posado de la misma forma y  variedad de “pecho amarillos”: benteveo, mosquerón picudo, benteveo mediano, bienteveo cabecigrís y el benteveo real.

Nuestro líder de Desafíos, Henry Barrantes, nos guio luego a la enorme granja de su familia, Finca La Libertad, donde compartimos un delicioso almuerzo hecho por su esposa, Francini, y servido por su hija Valeria, quien nos acompañó también en nuestro tour con Desafíos a Los Chocuacos.

 

 

A Fine Foray to Los Chocuacos!/Una Buena Incursión a Los Chocuacos!

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Boat-billed Heron, un chocuaco (photo by Jeff Worman).

Boat-billed Heron, un chocuaco (photo by Jeff Worman).

Desafios Tour, a local company offering interesting tours in and around San Vito, helped us plan a great day trip to the Boat-billed Heron colony near Paso Real on Friday, January 23, 2015. We had two guides from Desafios, owner-operator Henry Barrantes and his assistant Justyn Rodriguez, who arranged trip details and helped our 14-member group see Red-eared Slider turtles, a Forest Giant dragonfly, Least Grebes, Purple Gallinules, Neotropical Cormorants, one Northern Jacana, Green Herons, Boat-billed Herons by the tree-full and the (surprise!) Bird of the Day: Sungrebe, found by Greg Homer!

SUNGREBE! (Photo by Jeff Worman)

SUNGREBE! (Photo by Jeff Worman)

Other notable “landlubber” birds included Olivaceous Piculet, Plain Xenops, molting Summer Tanager, duetting Riverside Wrens, and Steaked Flycatcher.

We have not visited Los Chocuacos in several years and the owner, Miguel Antonio Lopes, has made some improvements including a covered dock extending out onto the lake where we were able to set up our scope to get additional views of the Sungrebe. The two swimming pools were a nice attraction for some as was lunch: a fresh tilapia casado with patacones, rice, salad and a big shot of Rompopo for dessert.

P.S. Wally Barton gets a free beer next time for correctly answering an Avian Pop Quiz: what family of birds has the most feathers? Yes, penguins!

SVBC at Los Chocuacos (photo by Henry Barrantes).

SVBC at Los Chocuacos (photo by Henry Barrantes).

Participants: from left to right Jo Davidson, Terry Farling, Wendy Russell Bernstein, Julie Girard, Alison Olivieri, Wally Barton, Barbara Keeler Barton, kneeling Greg Homer, Helen LeVasseur, Portia Wilkinson, Roni Chernin, Denise Worman, Jeff Worman and Pat Morgan.

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Desafíos Tour, una compañía local que ofrece tours interesantes en y alrededor de San Vito, nos ayudó a planear un grandioso viaje de un día a la colonia de garzas pico de bota cercana a Paso Real viernes, 23 enero 2015. Tuvimos dos guías de Desafíos, el dueño-operador Henry Barrantes y su asistente Justyn Rodriguez, quienes arreglaron los detalles del viaje y ayudaron a nuestro grupo de 14 miembros a ver tortugas de orejas rojas, una libélula gigante de bosque, zampullines macacitos, cormoranes neotropicales, una jacana del norte, garcitas verdosas, arzas pico de bota y (¡Sorpresa!) el Pájaro del Día: ¡El avesol americano, encontrado por Greg Homer!

Neotropical Cormorant (photo by Henry Barrantes).

Neotropical Cormorant (photo by Henry Barrantes).

Otros pájaros terrestres destacables incluyeron al carpinterito olivo, el picolezna menudo, una tangara veranera mudando, un dueto de soterreyes pechibarreteados y el bienteveo rayado.

No habíamos visitado Los Chocuacos en varios años y el dueño, Miguel Antonio Lopes, ha hecho unas lindas mejoras incluyendo un muelle cubierto que se extiende hacia dentro del lago donde pudimos establecer nuestro campo de visión con el fin de tener vistas adicionales del avesol americano. Las dos piscinas fueron un gran atractivo para algunos, al igual que el almuerzo: un casado de tilapia fresca con patacones, arroz, ensalada y un gran vaso de Rompope para el postre.

P.D. Wally Barton obtiene una cerveza gratis la próxima vez por responder correctamente el Examen sorpresa aviario: ¿Cuál familia de pájaros tiene la mayor cantidad de plumas? ¡Sí, los pingüinos!

A beautiful, birdy site -- Los Chocuacos is near Paso Real (photo by Henry Barrantes).

A beautiful, birdy site — Los Chocuacos is near Paso Real (photo by Henry Barrantes).

Participantes: Barb y Wally Barton, Roni Chernin, Jo Davidson, Terry Farling, Julie Girard, Helen y Greg Homer, Pat Morgan, Alison Olivieri, Wendy Russell Bernstein, Portia Wilkinson, Denise y Jeff Worman.

Visit to Butterfly Paradise

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Recently, four SVBC members spent the morning visiting Butterfly Paradise, part of a development called Osa Mountain Village about halfway between Palmar Norte and Ojochal on the Pacific Coast. This is an easy drive from San Vito and the views from the road going up the hill are breathtaking.

View from Osa Mountain Village. Photo by Harry Hull.

Dave Fishell, the owner-designer-builder of this new outdoor butterfly vivarium, gave a brief talk on his ongoing efforts to manage a natural environment for his winged charges while keeping track of species counts and hatching pupas. Butterfly life cycles are complicated, involving egg-laying on specific host plants, the eating machines we know as caterpillars, pupation periods and the dramatic emergence of a re-arranged life form: the adult butterfly.

He has exciting plans to expand with an adjacent, open air hummingbird garden. We spotted a Bat Falcon perched across the road, Swallow-tailed Kites swooping overhead and heard many other birds vocalizing in the adjacent forest so we are rooting for Dave to create a birding destination as well.

A thrilling experience for would-be or even accomplished natural history photographers, we plan to offer this new day trip whenever interest is expressed by members and friends. In fact, we were so inspired we’re working on a new photo gallery for this website of butterfly beauties commonly seen in the Coto Brus region. We will announce this with a ‘post’ when it is ready to view so you won’t miss it.

Harry Hull with a new friend. Photo by Alison Olivieri

An added bonanza of this pleasant excursion is the proximity of three excellent restaurants in Ojochal: Citrus, Exotica and El Castillo. Also of note, we’ve been told by Jarvia Fishell, Dave’s wife, that Osa Mountain Village offers other activities including canopy tours, zip lines, overnight jungle excursions, vacation rental properties and more so we look forward to exploring this destination further with all of you!

 

Visita al paraíso de mariposas

Recientemente, 4 miembros del Club de aves de San vito  visitaron por la mañana  ‘’Butterfly Paradise’’, parte de la empresa llamada  ‘’Osa Mountain Village’’ aproximadamente a medio camino entre Palmar Norte y Ojochal en la costa pacifica.  Es un viaje sencillo en automóvil desde San Vito y por supuesto con unas vistas del camino subiendo la montaña que quitan la respiración.

Oruga de mariposa ‘morpho’. Photo by Harry Hull.

Dave Fishell , el dueño-diseñador–constructor de este nuevo vivario de mariposas al aire libre, nos dio una corta charla de sus continuos esfuerzos para ofrecerle un ambiente natural a sus amigos alados mientras intenta mantenerse al tanto de la cantidad de especies y pupas eclosionadas. Los ciclos de la mariposa son complicados, envuelven la puesta de huevos en plantas huéspedes especificas, las maquinas de comer que nosotros conocemos como orugas, periodos de población y el dramático nacimiento de una forma de vida  totalmente nueva que llamamos mariposa adulta.

También encontramos muchas plantas interesantes para expandirse con un jardín de colibrís al aire libre. Pudimos observar un halcón, Bat Falcon (Falco rufigularis) posado al otro lado del camino y Swallow-Tailed Kites (Gavilan Tijereta) descendiendo por nuestras cabezas en picada después de escuchar muchas vocalizaciones de aves en el bosque adyacente. Esperamos muy impacientemente que Dave cree un destino para ver aves.

Este lugar ofrece una experiencia inolvidable para fotógrafos interesados en la historia natural, planeamos ofrecer este viaje de un día, cuando el interés sea de nuestros miembros y amigos. De hecho nos ha inspirado tanto que estamos trabajando en una galería nueva para el sitio web de las bellas mariposas comúnmente vistas en el área de Coto Brus. Se anunciara con un mensaje cuando este listo, así que no se lo perderán.

Un agregado fantástico a esta excursión es la proximidad con tres restaurantes en Ojochal llamados: Citrus, Exotica y El Castillo, también se nos ha comentado por Jarvia Fishell esposa de Dave que ‘’Osa Mountain Village” ofrece otras actividades como canopy tours, zip lines (o cables para deslizarse en línea recta), excursiones al bosque nocturnas, renta de propiedades para vacacionar y mucho mas, por lo que esperamos explorar en mas detalle este destino con todos Uds.

 

Trip to Drake Bay, Feb 24-27, 2012

Summer Days on the Pacific Ocean at Drake Bay

by Gail Hull

Expedition members less photographer. (Photo: Dave Woolley)

(Please see the slide show of photos and complete bird list at the end of this article.)

Eight members of the San Vito Bird Club took a three-night trip to Las Caletas Lodge, just south of Drake Bay on Costa Rica’s famous Osa Peninsula from February 24-27. Fred and Jean Schroeder, Michael and Alison Olivieri, organizer Julie Girard and her husband, Dave Woolley, and my husband, Harry, and I enjoyed a marvelous get-away with unexpected good fortune. Part of the felicitous luck was owed to Jim Zook, ornithologist and bird guide extraordinaire, joining San Vito Bird Club members for the fourth consecutive year of the club’s annual outings.

After an early morning departure from San Vito, we stopped en route at a junction near the town of Rincon, where a new bridge offers a wide vantage point over the Rincon River. In just minutes a pair of Scarlet Macaws flew and squawked overhead, and soon thereafter we were delighted by a coveted sighting of several Yellow-billed Cotingas doing some aerial gymnastics over the towering trees on both the lowland side and the forested hill next to the river.

Fording one of the creeks. (Photo: Dave Woolley)

The gravel road from Rincon to the village of Agujitas on Drake Bay is in very good condition, but it can only be driven in the dry season due to various creeks that must be forded. The trip took less than an hour.

Las Caletas Lodge arranged the boat pick-up at the Agujitas beach, where we left our cars. It is just a 10-minute boat ride to Las Caletas beach, and a few minutes walk to the hill-top rustic cabins. After lunch in the Lodge’s family-style dining area, we spent the afternoon settling in and enjoying the vistas and rich bird life right on the property overlooking the Pacific to the southwest and the coastline in the distance to the northeast.

Las Caletas Lodge mirador. (Photo: Harry Hull)

On Day Two most of us opted for the main event of the trip—a visit to renowned Corcovado National Park (CNP), a wildlife refuge large enough to sustain populations of jaguars and tapirs, as well as the more common mammals. After a dawn breakfast, eight of us took a fast boat almost an hour further south to a beach near the La Sirena entrance to the Park, pausing en route near some off-shore rocks where we saw Brown Boobies and Brown Pelicans.

Trekking along the beach near Sirena. (Photo: Harry Hull)

Then, upon arriving at the rocky beach at La Sirena, we saw a Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstones, a Least Sandpiper, and at least one Spotted Sandpiper among other shorebirds.

Red Brocket Deer. (Photo: Julie Girard)

Fortunately, we were joined by José Huertas, our Lodge’s resident naturalist guide, who was familiar with the trails of CNP. Very dry conditions prevailed, as they do over the whole Pacific region in January and February, but the rain forest habitat of primary and transitional secondary forest did not disappoint. Some of the high points for birders were the Long-tailed Woodcreeper; a Great Curassow, making its strange, deep and loud humming notes; a Common Potoo, cryptic but unusually active at its very high perch; a Great Tinamou; Baird’s Trogon; a Double-toothed Kite carrying nesting material, and a group of Tawny-crowned Greenlets. (See below for complete bird list.) Before the end of the walk we also saw two unexpected mammals—an adult Red Brocket Deer, about the size of a large dog; and oh-joy-of-joys, an adult Baird’sTapir. For many of us this was a thrill beyond compare. The tapir was snoozing in a muddy creek bed, cooling off under forest cover barely 50 yards from the beach. The sudden fall from a tree of a scrapping White-Nosed Coati, of which there were a half dozen or more between us and the tapir, woke the hippo-like tapir from its nap, and we were able to get some photos of its face from a safe distance. These animals can be dangerous, as are hippos, if one finds oneself between a mother and baby. During the four-hour forest walk we had also seen many Howler and Spider Monkeys.

Scarlet Macaws necking. (Photo: Julie Girard)

On the way back to Las Caletas after our picnic lunch, we enjoyed the company of dolphins swimming along off the bow and either side of the boat.

Our afternoons were relaxing, and the birding on the lodge grounds was superb. Imagine lounge chairs, hammocks, views of distant cruise ships, rainbows, cumulous clouds and a constant variety of bird species flying into and out of trees on all sides. A Scarlet Macaw pair preened and then did falling somersaults in either a mating act or a playful tumble. The hummingbirds, such as the Charming Hummingbird, kept us entertained in the verbena bushes covered with flowers just a few feet away. Overhead in the Cecropia trees, a pair of Golden-naped Woodpeckers were busy hunting ants.

Relaxing at the Lodge. (Photo: Harry Hull)

Northern Tamandua (anteater) near the Lodge. (Photo: Julie Girard)

Julie Girard was the one guest who encountered a Northern Tamandua (anteater), another exciting and uncommon sight, just about 25 meters from the Lodge. Julie did a super job organizing the trip, so she deserved this extra reward!

This was a perfect trip for both very experienced birders and some of the rest of us who are not exactly gifted practitioners of the art. All were very amply rewarded for their patience and passion for feathered friends as well as four-legged creatures.

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