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Rich Hoyer updates us on his recent Costa Rica tour

March 14: Rich Hoyer updates us on his recent Costa Rica tour

We had a wonderful tour to Costa Rica this spring. Every day brought us so many wonderful sightings of beautiful birds, stunning botanical delights, and fascinating other forms of life.

On our first morning’s stop just outside Tapantí National Park the barrage of new birds was overwhelming, but everyone was certain to claim this Elegant Euphonia as one of their favorite birds. But then we saw one amazing species after the next, such as soaring Barred Hawks, an Ornate Hawk-Eagle right over our heads, Prong-billed Barbets duetting, and on and on – and the euphonia was all but forgotten save for this lucky photo.


Our three days on the Osa Peninsula were full of wonderful experiences, one being our short afternoon hike up Quebrada Pizote, wading in the refreshingly cool water.


It was here we spotted two elusive White-tipped Sicklebills, one on its nest and another already on its evening roost by 3:00 in the afternoon.


Farther up the west coast we had two different Pacific Screech-Owls on their day roosts in unbelievably open perches.


A birding group with friends from Indiana told us about an army ant swarm just down the road from our hotel at Arenal. It had moved farther down the road from the previous day but was still in the area. We were able to see several species in attendance, including five or six Bicolored Antbirds and as many as ten or more Ocellated Antbirds, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The swarm had moved into the territory of a pair of these adorable Spotted Antbirds, which don’t often attend such swarms.


Our full morning at La Selva Biological Station was a rich experience with many highlights, thanks to the help of our excellent local guide Octavio. We caught sight of this Black Hawk-Eagle at the very beginning of its morning soar, so it was very low over the treetops as it began its whistled song and circled high out of sight.


We had some serious odonate watchers in our group, which added a lot to the tour.


At La Selva we all enjoyed watching this normally quite shy Blue-winged Helicopter at close range as it munched on a spider, a truly fabulous damselfly and one of the largest in the world.


While looking for more damselflies, Norm spotted this Great Tinamou bathing below a footbridge, totally unafraid of our presence.

A short video, including the bathing Great Tinamou can be found at


We also visited a few feeding stations throughout the tour, which offered some excellent photo opportunities. This incomparable Red-legged Honeycreeper was one of many colorful species at our last lunch stop.

Posted: March 14, 2022