Friday, April 26, 2013

La Selva - full day

After a sweaty night's on and off sleep we walked to the comedor for breakfast, birding on the way.  We had planned a long hike in the morning and set off straight from breakfast, out into the extensive grounds at La Selva.

We walked for 2 1/2 hours as the day grew hotter, and although the birding was much less intense due to the thickness of the secondary and then primary forest, we did see some cracking birds including a Buff-rumped Warbler:

Olive-backed Euphonia:

And the bird we considered to be our 'reward' bird, a Rufous Motmot:


Helen also started up inside the remains of a tree killed by a strangler fig, and flushed this (ringed) bat:

We enjoyed the walk, only getting lost in the arboretum section, and then headed back.  We saw much more around the comedor, offices and residential accommodation, including a close-up of a White-collared Manakin:

Slaty-tailed Trogon:

A howler monkey that stopped briefly right outside the entrance to the comedor:

male Great Currasow:

A female Fasciated Antshrike:

Scarlet-collared Tanager:

Crested Guan:

Collared Aracari:

and Black-cheeked Woodpecker:

A lot of these birds are seen in the foliage directly around the buildings or from the very wobbly bridge across the river.

As well as these birds we also spotted lots more on our walking to and from our accommodation, including a Band-tailed Barbthroat:

A basilisk lizard:

Blue-throated Goldentail:

Buff-throated Saltator:

and a Cinnamon Woodpecker.  This bird announced itself by dropping bits of tree onto my hat.  Always wear a hat!

Montezuma Oropendola:

The huge and very impressive Pale-billed Woodpecker - these birds really tear into the tree.  You can hear them from a long way away and big chunks of the rotten tree fall away when they are hammering into it:

Fabulous birds, the Rufous-tailed Jacamar:

Summer Tanager:

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper:

And the very hard to see, White-whiskered Puffbird, which for some reason flew out and took a perch very close to the path, so splendid views and indeed a good picture:

Yellow-bellied Elania:

We waited for sunset and then settled down for dinner and a night walk back to our room for our second and last night at La Selva.



Anonymous Deloyd huenink said...

Great shots...thanks for sharing. We sornt two days there hoping to see and photograph as you did, but ended up with two days of torrential rain, day and nifgt. Still saw some birds, but not all you did. What camera/ lens did you use?


Our costa rica blog is at

4:01 pm  
Blogger Michael said...

Deloyd, A Canon 1ds with a 100-400mm hand-held or a 500mm on a monopod.

9:47 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...


Great to find someone who has been to La Selva & Rancho.
I am likely to be doing a 2-week birdwatching trip in March which will split time between Sarapiquí/Selva Verde, Savegre, Macaw Lodge/Carara area and La Ensenada (on the Pacific Coast/ on the Gulf of Nicoya).

I'd wondering where would be a good for an extension that would overlap least with the 2-week trip so I wanted to ask if you found the birds at Rancho Naturalista to be very different from elsewhere on your trip, especially La Selva?


12:58 pm  
Blogger Michael said...

Michael, hope you have a fantastic time. At the time we went we found La Selva somewhat limited. There's birding on the grounds around the facilities, guided birding into the student area and some trails beyond. Rancho however had much more around it that you can explore, providing broader birding in differing habitats, elevations, etc. Also the accommodation at La Selva, ours anyway, was primitive. You could pay for your entry get your pass but stay outside somewhere nicer. We felt somewhat of an unwanted irritant for the staff at reception too, Rancho was a completely different experience. We arrived too early and were met be cake and coffee and lots of options for exploring, some we took up others we did ourselves.

Given your planned itinerary I'd probably do Rancho and then Amistad if you can or randomly, the Panama Canal area, which (see seperate reports) was fantastic, accessible and with little cross-over. Other ideas would be the high elevation central spine including Paraiso Quetzales and El Copal (Spanish speaking important here).

Happy Birding!

1:35 pm  

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