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WINGS Birding Tours – Photo Gallery

Costa Rica in July

We’ll begin in the lush highlands of Cerro de la Muerte, where flowers and feeders at our lodge attract many birds… …such as this Green Violetear… (gb) …and where fruiting wild avocados are food for Resplendent Quetzal. Collared Redstart is one of the more charming birds to be encountered along the trails at higher elevations. (gb) We travel in a comfortable Coaster bus… …with some of the best drivers anywhere – helpful, courteous, hard working, and sharing our passion for birds and wildlife. On our way to Rancho Naturalista, we may bird Tapantí National Forest, an area of wet cloud forest that supports luxuriant vegetation such as this giant Gunnera. The star attraction at Rancho Naturalista is the male Snowcap, whose forecrown glows an impossible white in the understory darkness. Perched in a rare shaft of sunlight, a male Violet-crowned Woodnymph is a sight to behold. Even the relatively somber Brown Violetear has its own charm. Gray-headed Chachalacas are common feeder birds at Rancho Naturalista. After morning birding on the veranda, a family-style breakfast at Rancho Naturalista is something to look forward to. Our lodge in Tortuguero National Park features charming cabins amidst great birding habitat. Short-billed Pigeons are normally quite shy, but easier to spot in fruiting Cecropia. Broad-billed Motmot is one of the many species we’ll likely see in this area. This passion flower brightens up the forest understory, attracting hermits and other traplining hummingbirds. We’ll spend time at another lowland rainforest lodge, this one farther inland and with a different mix of birds. With much of the surrounding hillsides still cloaked in rainforest, the birding here is excellent. One can hope to see both of Costa Rica’s macaw species, here a Great Green Macaw. If we find a blooming giant Heliconia, we have a good chance of seeing Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer… …while Black-throated Trogon could be just about anywhere along the trails. Always an exciting find, the elusive Great Curassow wanders the forest floors. White-ringed Flycatcher, a look-alike of the more widespread Social Flycatcher, is found in the canopy of good lowland rainforest. We’ll take time to enjoy other forest critters, such as this tiny but stunningly beautiful Strawberry Poison-dart Frog… …or this rarely seen metalmark, the Neglected Sarota. Our final destination is Celeste Mountain Lodge in the foothills of the volcano Tenorio. Most of our birding here will be along the excellent new trail system. (cml) Surprisingly common here, Keel-billed Toucan never fails to please. A Laughing Falcon surveys the area for its favorite prey, snakes. This Brassia orchid is one of the exciting non-bird encounters we may have along the forest trails… …as are these busy leafcutter ants, harvesting food for their underground fungus garden. The charming Long-tailed Tyrant can be found where there is a natural tree cavity for its nest. From the mountains to the coast, cloud forest to rain forest, this tour will be a memorable adventure.