Have you visited any of the Bird Route sites, or other locations within the region of the Bird Route? Then we would love to hear from you! Please tell us about your bird and other wildlife sightings, in as much detail as possible: date, where sighted, and general weather conditions that day. With your permission, we will post the information on this page to keep others informed about wildlife watching opportunities on the Costa Rican Bird Route. To make a report, email Holly Robertson with Rainforest Biodiversity Group at: holly@rainforestbiodiversity.org.

Bi-National Macaw Festival, Santa Elena de Pital – May 29, 2011
Submitted by Holly Robertson; Bird List complements of Gustavo Flores and Elidier Vargas

As part of the 9th annual Bi-National Macaw Festival in Santa Elena de Pital, Gustavo Flores and Elidier Vargas of the Costa Rican Ornithological Society led a bird walk for festival participants. The bird walk began at the community center of Santa Elena and from there progressed toward the community forest reserve. Birding along the road was great, and the reserve itself was beautiful. The morning's bird list includes 89 species, including Pied Puffbird, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Black-faced Antthrush, Common Pauraque, Black-striped Sparrow and Scarlet-rumped Cacique.

Click here to view the entire bird list for May 29 at Santa Elena de Pital.

cacique sparrow pauraque

From left to right by Elidier Vargas: Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Black-striped Sparrow ,Common Pauraque

Maquenque Christmas Bird Count (MCBC) – January 8, 2011
Submitted by MCBC counters: David Segura, Alberto Segura, Patrick O'Donnell, Paul Murgatroyd, Didier Ortega, Ana V. Wo Ching, Antonio Cortes, Jose Salazar, Magda Araya, Priscilla Hurtado, Rose Marie Menacho, Gustavo Flores Yzaguirre, Guido Quesada, Adilio Antonio Zeledon, Paul Pickering, Jose Fallas, Esteban Biamonte, and Tomas.

On January 8th, 2011, the Rainforest Biodiversity Group coordinated the 3rd annual Maquenque Christmas Bird Count. This year a total of 18 people counted at 5 sites within the Maquenque Bird Count Circle.  The weather that day was mostly sunny with some clouds. The participants found a total of 3,662 individual birds of 241 species. This represents a decrease from last year, with 252 less individuals and 20 less species. Laguna del Lagarto Lodge just barely edged out Finca Paniagua for the site with the most species with 140, Finca Paniagua reporting 139. However, Finca Paniagua was the clear winner with individuals seen, with a total of 1,236!

The species with the single most individuals observed was the Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus) with a total of 200 individuals. Also, there were 24 Great Green Macaws noted in total!

Click here to view the entire bird list for the Christmas Bird Count.

trogon bird creeper

From left to right by David Segura: Black-and-white Owl, Collared Aracari, Green Honeycreeper

Finca Pangola – December 17, 2010
Submitted by Gary Moll

Gary Moll is the site manager at Finca Pangola and likes to snap as many pictures as possible of wildlife seen around the site. Here are his latest contributions.


Violaceous Trogon


Slaty-tailed Trogon


From left to right: Blue-gray Tanager, Passerinis Tanager, and Red-legged Honeycreeper

Maquenque Eco-Lodge – January 9, 2010
Submitted by Dorothy MacKinnon

The lodge at Maquenque Eco-Lodge is amazing. It is so elegant, beautifully sited on three lagoons and ultra-comfortable. The food was innovative and the coffee was excellent. The trails are well groomed (except for one, the Mirador) and the gardens are lovely, with endemic plants and papaya and banana plantations to attract birds. We had a huge flock of Brown-hooded parrots munching away on plantains. We met Ulisses Aleman, a veteran of Great Green Macaw research efforts in Costa Rica, at the lodge and watched a film about the Almendro Tree. We also tasted almond nuts boiled in a pot over an open fire while Eduardo, Oscar's (the owner of Maquenque) father, strummed his guitar and sang the song he composed to the Lapa Verde. What a treat!

During our time spent birding during the annual Maquenque Christmas Bird Count, we had two major downpours and the weather was unseasonably cool for this area -- comfortable for us but perhaps activity-altering for the birds. I was delighted to see 11 Green Macaws. The number of Montezuma Oropendolas was amazing. Toward sunset, more than 100 flew over the lagoon on the way home for the night. In the low light we couldn't tell if any of them were Chestnut-headed, unfortunately.

We finished our day with a total of 107 species.

King Vulture, photo by Gustavo Flores
Picture of King Vulture taken during the count
Finca Paniagua and Bosque Tropical del Toro – January 9, 2010
Submitted by Gustavo Flores

Weather proved to be a bit problematic during the 2nd annual Maquenque Christmas Bird Count at Finca Paniagua and Bosque Tropical del Toro. It was almost always cloudy, and rained periodically throughout the day. Highlights from the day included the sighting of both the Great Green Macaw and Scarlet Macaw, Great Antshrike,Black and White Owl, and Rufous-tailed Jacamar.

The day ended with a total of 107 species and 453 individuals.


Mi Pedacito de Cielo and Laguna del Lagarto Lodge – January 9, 2010
Submitted by Darrell and Lorna Smith

Lorna and Darrell Smith of the company Birding on a Budget Costa Rica (BOBCR) traveled to the Costa Rican Bird Route on January 9 to lend a voluntary hand to a very worthy effort. Darrell and Lorna Smith, owner/operator biologists of BOBCR were accompanied by their Atenas biologist friend, Fred Ball, to make up one of birding teams sent into the region by the Rainforest Biodiversity Group. The effort is part of the annual Christmas Bird Count and was also intended to highlight the rich birding to be had along the Costa Rica Bird Route.

Our team was assigned the area encompassing Mi Pedacito de Cielo, a lodge and private reserve on the Rio San Carlos near Boca Tapada. We spent 14 hours straight in sometimes rough terrain conditions, covering as many kilometers as possible and counting every species and individual bird that we observed or heard. We topped a hundred species for the day, including some fairly unusual birds such as the Rufous Mourner and the Scarlet-rumped Cacique. The other team we encountered and birded with Sunday afternoon at Laguna Lagarto Lodge following our official count at Mi Pedacito, was composed of ace birder, 15 year old David Segura and his father, Alberto from San Jose, Costa Rica. David may be only fifteen, but with his keen ear and bird knowledge, we may be recruiting him as a future guide for BOBCR!

We finished our day with a total of 105 species and 560 individuals. Other species spotted were Bat Falcon, Rose-throated Becard, Green Shrike-Vireo, and the Great Green Macaw.

Finca Pangola – February 28, 2009
Submitted by Holly Robertson

In a short morning jaunt on one of the trails at the remote site of Finca Pangola, we logged the following birds: Laughing Falcon, Red-lored Parrot, White-crowned Parrot, Barred Antshrike, Ringed Kingfisher, Passerines Tanager, Golden-hooded Tanager, Montezumas Oropendula, Squirrel Cuckoo, Red-billed Pigeon, Kiskadee, Bananaquit, White-collared Manakin, and Yellow Tyrannulet.

November 2-9, 2008 trip to the Bird Route
Submitted by Rainforest Biodiversity Group

Crested Owl, photo by Yehudi Hernandez
Crested Owl
Eleven participants traveled to 6 of the thirteen Bird Route sites from November 2nd to the 9th on a trip that focused not only birds, but also the natural history of Costa Rica and personal contact with the local culture. The trip began and ended at the beautiful Hotel Bougainvillea and in between the group journeyed to El Gavilan Lodge, La Selva Biological Station, Bosque Tropical del Toro/Finca Paniagua, Selva Verde, and Albergue El Socorro. The group logged a total of 191 bird species and was also treated to several other wildlife sightings that included: three-toed sloth, four-toed sloth, howler monkey, white- faced monkey, peccary, iguana, American crocodile, coati, basilisk lizard, poison dart frogs, and butterflies. The group also enjoyed an adrenaline- pumping white-water rafting trip down the Sarapiqui River; an exciting afternoon topped off by seeing several Great Green Macaws Crested Owl Photo by Yehudi Hernandez perched on the riverside.

About visiting the remote site Bosque Tropical del Toro, participant Stacey Fuller had this to say: “From the boat ride there, the trip across the river in the basket, the simple, rustic accommodations, the candles, the food, the music – it was definitely the highlight for me.”

Click here for a rousing account of this trip by Washington Post staff writer and trip participant Carol Sottili. Click here for the bird list from the trip.

Orange-chinned Parakeet, photo by Bill Volkert
Orange-chinned Parakeet
First Trip to Costa Rican Bird Route – February 17-21, 2008
Submitted by Rainforest Biodiversity Group

The first official tour of the Costa Rican Bird Route was run from February 17th to the 21st of 2008. The tour was a familiarization tour (or FAM tour) designed specifically for professionals from bird conservation and eco-tourism organizations. The primary objectives of the trip was to improve the Bird Route project design by identifying existing holes in the project; and determining what further steps need to be taken to ensure success of the Route. Our secondary objective was to obtain support for the Costa Rican Bird Route.

Read the full trip report here.

RBG BlogStay up to date on what is happening in the Bird Route, as well as conservation news around the globe by reading the official blog of Rainforest Biodiversity Group, The Macaw.