One of the major attractions of the Turrialba area for birders is the valley of the Río Tuis, located just 20 minutes’ drive from the centre of town. My trip there yesterday was simply exploratory, because, incredibly, I had never birded the main entrance to the valley, the one recommended by nearby Rancho Naturalista, one of the top birding destinations in the country.
The scenery is beautiful and the habitat seemingly ideal for many species. Unfortunately, I parked not far from where the dirt road leaves the main road from Tuis to Platanares and the first kilometer and a half leads past numerous small houses in semi-open country such as can be found lower down at La Suiza. The beautiful section then begins but, in mid-afternoon, there were few species active on my way in.
Where the road becomes a trail just after a bridge, from where I took the picture above, I had to stop because of time constraints. I missed the Sunbittern that was picking around in a riverside cow-pasture and that had been seen a few minutes earlier by a local resident but saw a nice pair of Torrent Tyrannulets as I made my way back.
Just as hummingbirds began to emerge, Green Hermit and White-necked Jacobin among others, the afternoon downpour chased me out and I finished with the miserable total of only 17 species at one of the best birding sites in the area. Best sighting, for me, was a Slate-throated Redstart, a species that I usually expect at much higher elevations. This walk seems to be at around 800 to 900 m. As Arnold said, “I’ll be back!”