Hitting The Bird Watching Jackpot in Costa Rica

bird costa ricaThey were all members of the New Jersey Audubon Society! Yesterday we took our water taxi driver José, up on his offer of a two hour boat ride down the river estuary between Playa Grande and Tamarindo. sand piper costa ricaJosé said he’d take us on the trip for $20 each and since the wildlife tours we’d seen advertised in brochures were around $120 per person we thought it was a pretty good deal even though José doesn’t speak English and his boat needed a paint job. iguana costa ricaJosé showed us pictures of iguanas, crocodiles and howler monkeys as well as local birds to indicate what we’d be seeing on our ride. We agreed to meet José, at 8 o’clock the next morning .

When we arrived at the beach at the appointed time we were surprised to see we’d be sharing our boat with a party of four. But what a serendipitous surprise that turns out to be !

bird watchers costa rica

Our New Jersey birdwatching friends spot a trogan on a hike.

We’d hit the bird watching jackpot! The other two couples are hard core bird watchers, members of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Two of them have state of the art binoculars and bird books. The other two have serious cameras with the longest and biggest lenses you can imagine. grackle costa ricaThey have been studying the birds of Costa Rica for months to prepare for their trip to Central America and are just ending their vacation so by now they know ALL the birds we will see. They tell us Costa Rica has 900 species of birds and so far they have seen 100 lifers in the country. Lifers are birds that a bird watcher is seeing for the first time in their life.
estuary playa grandeSo down the estuary we went and every few minutes our boat mates were excitedly spotting yet another bird, pointing it out so we could see it and try to photograph it. We decided we needed a system, so Dave agreed to take photos while I wrote down the names of all the birds we were seeing. bird costa rica 1Our New Jersey friends were gracious about repeating names of birds and even spelling them for me. They showed us pictures in their bird books of the birds we were spotting along the way, and let us see the amazing photos they took of the birds on their high tech cameras. They even gave Dave tips for taking the bird pictures in this post. We saw………..

heron costa ricaa Hoffman’s Woodpecker, Black-headed Trogon, Mangrove Cuckoo, Yellow Crowned Night Heron, Long Tailed Silky Flycatcher, Orange Fronted Parakeet, Mangrove Yellow Warbler,  Spotted Sandpiper, Black Hawk, Yellow Headed Caracara, Tricolor Heron, Ringed Plover, Great Tailed Grackle, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Wood Stork, Ringed Kingfisher, Brown Pelican, White Ibis, Whimbrel, Boat Billed Heron, doves, osprey, hummingbirds and many more………

crocodile river estuary playa grande costa ricaOf course we also saw the ignanas, crocodiles and howler monkeys José had promised us. 

howler monkey costa rica

Howler monkey napping in a tree.

Cost of a boat ride down the Playa Grande estuary with José, including a bottle of water and a slice of watermelon- $20 USD

selfie-boat-ride-estuary-costa-ricaLesson about the birds of Costa Rica- PRICELESS!

Other posts……..

Architectural Wonders Avian and Human

Alfred Hitchcock – All Those Birds

The Animals of Australia




Filed under Costa Rica, Nature, People

2 responses to “Hitting The Bird Watching Jackpot in Costa Rica

  1. Isn’t it wonderful when these kind of unexpected encounters happen in our travels? What great companions for your Costa Rica bird-watching outing.

  2. Susan Herzog

    Marylou, I love this post! My middle son is an avid bird watcher and knows quite a bit about them. I can’t wait to show him this, he will love it! And then beg to go to Costa Rica!

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