Big Day 2018 at Costa Rica’s Carara National Park, And Nearby At Marriott Los Sueños


The first lucky bird of the day, a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at Marriott, which I hadn’t seen yet on property

Almost four years ago, James and I took a day trip to Carara National Park, on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica where the tropical dry forest meets the moist rain forest in a transition zone that provides a great mix of habitats for all sorts of birds and other wildlife. On eBird, Carara’s Hotspot has over four hundred species, which made it a natural place for me to spend part of my Global Big Day this year, since I was already documenting the avian life on the property of the Marriott Los Sueños in Herradura, just half an hour south along the coast. These photos are from my May 5th efforts!


The Turquoise-browed Motmot is a regular at Marriott and one of my favorite “common” birds in the country

I started the morning at 5:30am, heading out onto the perimeters of the forests surrounding Marriott Los Sueños and its golf course. Continue reading

Wildlife at Carara National Park: Part 1

Red-capped Manakin (male). He has spiffy yellow thighs, unfortunately not visible in this picture.

A few weekends ago, James and I spent six hours at Parque Nacional Carara, on the Pacific side of Costa Rica and just about an hour and a half from Xandari. Braving the muggy, humid coastal rainforest with the intention of spotting and/or hearing at least fifty new (for us) species, we set off on the first couple miles of trail with our field guide in hand. James uses a pair of Nikon Monarch binoculars for quick spotting and following birds as they flit around, and I sport a Canon SX50 digital camera to hopefully capture still images or video for identification purposes. Sometimes I get lucky enough to take a photo that’s worth sharing!

But not all the wildlife we spotted at Carara was avian. On the way to the park entrance, we crossed the famous Río Tarcoles, a river that is home to dozens of crocodiles that bask in the mud, particularly under the bridge that tourists walk over to gaze at the enormous predators hanging around. James and I saw plenty of smaller reptilian relatives skitter across the paths at the park, including iguanas and a basilisk lizard. We passed several troops of leaf-cutter ants marching  Continue reading