They 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. José 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. José 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 !
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. They 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.
So 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. Our 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………..
a 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………
Of course we also saw the ignanas, crocodiles and howler monkeys José had promised us.
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
Lesson about the birds of Costa Rica- PRICELESS!
Architectural Wonders Avian and Human
Alfred Hitchcock – All Those Birds
The Animals of Australia