MAY 20th – 11th JUNE 2014.

MAY 20th – 11th JUNE  2014. Costa Rica. Jon Hornbuckle. One of the Top Five persons with the most seen species in the world. The Target Trip of Rufous vented Ground Cuckoo.

The best bird of the trip

Rufous vented Ground-Cuckoo. The best bird of the trip!!


I visited Costa Rica and the Pipeline Road in Panama with Mike Archer in March 1987 and returned to Costa Rica from Feb 23 to March 27 in 2001. The second trip included 19 days participating in an American ringing/banding project at Tortuguero. I decided it was the time to try to see more birds here as there were still some very good species I needed so I drew up a list of 23 possibilities. Brian Foster and Rod Martins kindly agreed to join me and we hired Carlos Jimenez to lead and transport us for 15 days, and stayed on a further week with a hire-car by ourselves. Carlos and was excellent at finding and identifying the birds, and attending to all the logistics. We had a very successful trip, seeing many good birds including Buff-fronted and Chiriqui Quail-Doves, Great Green Macaw, Tody Motmot, Black-crowned and Thicket Antpittas, and Lovely and Yellow-billed Cotingas. To my pleasant surprise we saw all but 2 of my Wanted list and even had one unexpected addition, a mega Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo giving excellent views in trees.

JH Hit List                                Sites where recorded

Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge  Volcan Irazu – heard and briefly seen, heard San Gerardo de Dota – more time spent trying to see this bird than any other

Black-breasted Wood-Quail       La Paz Waterfall gardens on Volcan Poaz and Finca Ecologica near Monteverde Lodge

Uniform Crake                           Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

Yellow-breasted Crake               Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Buff-fronted Quail-Dove            San Gerardo Research Station and San Gerardo de Dota

Chiriqui Quail-Dove                    Finca Ecologica, Monteverde

Great Green Macaw                   Sarapiqui

Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo  Volcan Tenorio road

Bare-shanked Screech-Owl        Santa Elena Reserve and Volcan Irazu

Central American Pygmy-Owl     Veragua RainForest Reserve

Spot-fronted Swift                     over the Ruinas de Ujarras

Mangrove Hummingbird             mangroves at La Gamba, well north of Golfito Bridge

Keel-billed Motmot                    old road to Arenal Observatory Lodge

Black-crowned Antpitta              Braulio Carrillo

Thicket Antpitta                         Trail below Arenal Observatory Lodge

Lovely Cotinga                          Forest below Arenal Observatory Lodge and Volcan Tenorio road

Yellow-billed Cotinga                 Golfito Bridge, Rincon de Osa

Ochraceous Pewee                    near Savegre Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota

Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager        Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

Cabanisi’s Ground-Sparrow        coffee plantations at Ruinas de Ujarras

Nicaraguan Grackle                   Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Spot-breasted Oriole                 road below Monteverde


JH misses

Maroon-chested Ground-Dove   Volcan Irazu (probably seen in flight) – not on JH list (too unlikely)

Unspotted Saw-whet Owl           Volcan Irazu and San Gerardo de Dota – tried hard

Veraguan Mango                       Rincon – not aware that it was a recent addition to Costa Rica

Bare-necked Umbrellabird          San Gerardo and Santa Elena Reserve – tried hard. Common at Veragua in Dec – Jan




May 20: Fly Manchester to San Jose with KLM, via Amsterdam and Panama City. OVN Europa Hotel, downtown San Jose.

May 21: Braulio Carrillo am, La Selva/ Sarapiqui area. OVN Los Portones Cabins.

May 22: La Selva Biological Station am, La Paz Waterfall gardens at 1500m on Volcan Poaz pm. OVN Los Portones.

May 23: La Selva 0700-0800, Medio Queso wetland, drive to Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge via Chiles. OVN Cabins at nearby Kingfisher Lodge.

May 24:  Caño Negro boat trip am, old road to Arenal Observatory Lodge. OVN Cabins Mayol, La Fortuna.


May 25: Trail below Arenal Observatory Lodge then rest of wet day on Arenal Lodge trails. OVN at Cabins Mayol, La Fortuna.


May 26:  Old road to Arenal Observatory 0600-0800, drive 3 hours to Volcan Tenorio road, birding there after brunch at 11.30, then to Heliconias Lodge at 4pm, OVN there.

May 27:  Heliconias Lodge trails in rain am, decide to leave a day early, drive to Monteverde. Walk down muddy trail to San Gerardo Research Station, OVN there.

May 28:  0500 take Tabacon Trail to Umbrellabird lek-site, then other trails all morning. Leave after lunch, walk up 400m elevation to Santa Elena Reserve and take Encantado Trail to look for Umbrellabird. OVN at Cabins Eddy, Monteverde.

May 29:  A dry day at last. 0645-1135 Santa Elena Reserve, then Finca Ecologia near Monteverde Lodge till 1515, back to Cabinas Eddy at 1645.

May 30:  Santa Elena Reserve 0600-0830, checked out at Eddy’s then long drive south to Rincon de Osa. OVN at Osa Palmas, La Palma, Osa Peninsula.

May 31:  0530 departure for Golfito Bridge – Yellow-billed and Turquoise Cotingas. 0710-0830 drive to Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Piedras Blancas National Park for day’s birding. Slower return to Osa Palmas due to heavy rain. Carlos takes car to mechanic for repair but he shears a high pressure oil-pipe – no spare! OVN Osa Palmas.


June 01:  Departure delayed till 0930 while car is repaired then drive to Cerro de la Meurte with stops. OVN at Miriam’s cabins.

June 02:  San Gerardo de Dota area all day including a trail at Savegre Lodge. OVN at Miriam’s.

June 03:  Mirador del Quetzal am, drive down to Cartago and on to Grandpa’s Hotel. Pm wasted as Carlos tried to get the car repaired again in Cartago. OVN at Grandpa’s.


June 04:  Volcan Irazu am, Ruinas de Ujarras pm. then drive to San Jose and rent a car. Farewell to Carlos. OVN Hemingway Inn, San Jose.


June 05:  Drive to El Tapir Reserva Ecotouristica near Braulio Carrillo, then to Liverpool near Limon turning right for 16km to Veragua Rainforest Reserve – bird with the manager Daniel Torres. OVN at Cabinas La Uvita in Moin near Limon.


June 06:  0415 drive to Veragua for the day with Marco as guide. OVN at La Uvita.


June 07:  Brisas de la Jungla and Veragua road am, pm drive to Turrialba town,visit Guayabo National Monument ruins 1600-1745. OVN El Rio Hotel, Turrialba.


June 08:  0530 drive to Rancho Naturalista, stay till 2pm then drive to Silent Mountain. Back to Turrialba and up Volcan Turrialba to the Lodge – cold, low cloud, short of petrol so decide to return to El Rio Hotel, Turrialba.


June 09:  Set off for Guayabo ruins but as Volcan Turrialba looked clear drive there instead – entrance gates locked. Return to El Rio after some birding, then drive direct to Volcan Irazu in one hour without going through Cartago. 16.30- 20.30 birding with Ernesto as guide. OVN at Grandpa’s.


June 10:  0430- 1120 Volcan Irazu, including Prusia reserve. After brunch at café near Grandpa’s, meet Eduardo near his farm at Ujarras and bird with him in that area till he has to leave at 15.30, staying on till 5pm. OVN at Hemingway Inn, San Jose.

June 11: El Tapir near Braulio at 0600- 0945, some rain, drive to San Jose airport for Copa Airlines and KLM flights home.

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