First day at Finca Estrella

What a wonderful place! Finca Estrella, in the foothills above the southern Pâcific Coast of Costa Rica is not so easy to find, but if you head for the tiny villages  of Conte and then Cuervito, some distance south of Golfito and still inland on the road towards the surfing hotspot of Pavones, you will surely find it.

This is definitely the classic ambiance of the  tropics, a balmy and truly delightful climate in the mornings and evenings, but sultry and hot during the middle of the day. This is quite at variance with that of my home here on the slopes of the Turrialba Volcano. Each day begins, just before dawn, with the calls of the Pauraque nighthawk, the restful calm then broken at daylight by the strange calls of the resident Yellow-throated Toucans  and the flocks of noisy Crimson-fronted Parakeets. Red-lored and Mealy Parrots fly off in pairs to their feeding grounds, while Cherrie’s Tanagers and Crested Oropendolas fly to occupy prominent perches and announce the day. On this first morning we miss the harsh squawks of the beautiful Scarlet Macaws, as many as 8 individuals in all, that we will see fly off with measured beats of their huge wings on the subsequent mornings of our stay.

Toucan, Chestnut-mandibled, Finca Estrella (2)

Yellow-throated Toucan (formerly Black-mandibled Toucan and then Chestnut-mandibled Toucan) at Finca Estrella, courtesy of John Beer

Our first duty, after coffee of course, is to check the flowering bushes for hummingbirds, in this case Blue-throated Goldentail (Hylocharis eliciae) and the migrant Ruby-throated Hummigbird (Archilocus colubris). Both of these hummers are hard to find in the Turrialba area.

Hummingbird, Goldentail, Blue-throated, male, Finca Estrella

Blue-throated Goldentail displaying the typical black-tipped coral-red bill. Photo at Finca La Estrella by John Beer.

Hummingbird, Ruby-throated, Finca Estrella (4)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the common hummer of eastern North America. Not so easy to find in Costa Rica, where it is the only migrant hummingbird among the country’s more than 50 species. Photo by John Beer.

After a minimal breakfast we’re off to walk the road that meanders between the various casas of the property. On the first day we don’t really know what to expect, because the heavily forested environment offers many possibilities.  No rarities appear but the local species are many and we know that species new to us can appear at any time. At noon both birds and birders have to take a rest as the sun climbs high in the sky and the heat becomes oppressive. Time for lunch and a cool beer on the veranda at the main house, Casa Amarilla, at Finca Estrella.

See further posts for more details on Finca Estrella.

For the species list for our first day and additional photos, see the following link:


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