The number of truly excellent places to find birds in our area never ceases to amaze me. A trip with John Beer down to the Reventazón just past the Lagunas de Bonilla on the Turrialba-Santa Teresita-La Alegría road proved to be yet another delight that receives little attention from local birders. This is an hour’s drive from Turrialba. We walked the old railway line from just below Los Llanos, a place I had visited recently on my way to Las Brisas de Siquirres, enjoying a mostly shaded stroll in the early morning hours. The Río Revantazón is to the right, giving good opportunity for viewing aquatic species. At this location, you have crossed over from the province of Cartago into that of Limón, officially the Caribbean.
We were searching specifically for a Tiger-Heron that John had previously found here but that, being a juvenile, was difficult to pin don as to species. Since we quickly found an adult Fasciated Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma fasciatum) on the banks of the Reventazón, close to the location of John’s immature bird, we can safely assume that this it is this species and not the rare Rufescent Tiiger-Heron (Tigrisoma lineatum), which is found at the same elevation.
The wooded path that follows the railway line gave us good views of some species that are hard to find in my home area on the Turrialba Volcano slope. The common euphonia for the day was the Olive-backed Euphonia (Euphonia gouldi). Here is the male with its yellow forecrown (rufous on the female):
We heard our common Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus) calling and even glimpsed one briefly, bu t more common here is the toucan of the Caribbean lowlands, Ramphastos ambiguus, which has undergone an English name change twice recently. I first learned to call it the Chestnut-mandibled Toucan. It was then changed to the Black-mandibled Toucan (and so appears in the new edition of Garrigues & Dean’s The Birds of Costa Rica) but now becomes the Yellow-throated Toucan. By any name, however, this largest Costa Rican toucan is a real beauty:
Similarly, our common Oropendola is the Montezuma Oropendola (Psarocolius montezuma), and these were present here too in huge numbers. Accompanying them, however, was the rather uncommon Chestnut-headed Oropendola (Psarocolius wagleri), seen below with its pale, almost white, bill:
If you’re interested in plants, insects and spiders, you’re also in the right place by the Rio Reventazon. Here’s an interesting spider that John found:
One of several hummingbirds was the Purple-crowned Fairy (Heliothryx barroti):
Costa Rica has two big and beautiful red-crested woodpecker species, the Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus) and the Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis).The latter is the one that we found along the wooded former railway line, a very pleasing sighting since it rarely appears in my own patch, which is not thickly forested. In addition to the pale bill, this species has a completely red head that lacks the white facial stripe of the Lineated.
Finally, no birding excursion in Costa Rica would be complete without some confusing flycatchers. We had our fair share, including this Empidonax:
And this Contopus:
You can find the morning’s list of species at the following link: