Costa Rica 2021...and New Paper on Landscape Assessment Method

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Costa Rica 2021...and New Paper on Landscape Assessment Method

Costa Rica, August 4-18, 2021

Some thoughts on Costa Rican birds after two weeks of "work" with my partner Vasiliki Flami. I would have loved the "birds" in this city, but this was our first flight and we were doing fieldwork (see below). The work is going well, the scenery is beautiful, the road is long and difficult.

I like "slow bird". In my spare time, I wake up early and look for birds, not driving. I'm not used to "switching" after a rarity, but I'll follow the advice and really try to see as many birds as possible.

I'm interested in finding birds that mark "living spaces", ecoregions, ecosystems, etc. I recently became an amateur photographer and usually document the experience. However, don't expect to see many species this way.

Faso and I counted 137 spp in 14 days in August in Costa Rica. We avoid wetlands but travel a lot. I think we could do a much better job of listing the 903 species in the CR bird guide. But bird watching in the forest is not easy and although we have had great experiences everywhere, we have "missed out" many species. Here are some notes from that trip.


Main routes and places:

1. Hotel Cerro Lodge near the mouth of the Tarcoles River. Very beautiful place to stay! We had jet lag issues to deal with and six nights here at the start of our trip was a great idea and well worth it. However, there are many of us from this place and we have traveled very far (Nicoia Peninsula, Manuel Antonio, etc.).

2. Savegre Inn in Savegre Valley . Known as "endemic to Chiriquí", the stunning cloud oak is home to many species confined to the high mountains of western Costa Rica and Panama. The route is good, but we had a bad experience with rain on the road and the car battery died (car was replaced). We also visited the lowlands of Dota (Santa Maria de Dota) for coffee.

3. Rancho Naturalista , near Turrialba. Great guide and amazing views full of birds (lots of lifeguards!). We were sleep deprived the first night but then appreciated the knowledgeable guide who let us into the mysteries of the jungle.

4. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca . Ocean tropical forest, really beautiful. Fairways muddy (next time bring the pit). We stayed in a nice family hotel on Cocles beach, Villas de Carribe. It has a nice bar overlooking the sea and on the beach there is a bay that looks like a coral lagoon.

We originally stayed at the magnificent Villa San Ignacio in Alejuela near the airport.

Some comments/recommendations for tourists during the rainy season:

Try to sleep in each place for at least two days; I didn't get to see much wildlife while driving... Driving was very slow; When traveling across the country you really need an SUV. Don't drive at night, look for eco-friendly accommodations with good places to eat and a good birding reputation. We wake up early every day. Choose (we don't have one). Hire a professional local driver (we don't have one). Expect muddy roads. Take some time to smell the flowers... Finally , we really like the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS zoom lens camera for bird photography; It helps document the genres we often see in just a few seconds. The video quality of this camera is also very good in our opinion. But use a tripod (we don't have one).

If you want to see more of our work in Costa Rica, read here:


Many thanks to all the Ticos and new friends who helped us on this wonderful project!








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