Costa Rica: the birds of Arenal

We woke up at 5:30am with the sun streaming in the picture window of our room, revealing a stunning view of the volcano. I made coffee and we slipped out onto the balcony with it’s wooden slat floor and fiberglass roof. After watching the forest awaken, the Montezuma Oropendolas “thwumping” back and forth and a variegated squirrel foraging, our stomachs began to growl.
We dressed and walked across the swinging bridge to the restaurant in the main lodge building, for a delicious buffet of eggs, gallo pinto, plantains, fruit (bottomless fountains of passionfruit and guava juices) and scrumptious deep fried yucca balls.

Thinking of the nests and large birds we’d seen the day before, we stopped by the office and bought a folding laminated guide to Costa Rican wildlife, and Garrigues and Dean’s bird book. After walking back to our building we checked out the taller tower at one end of the building, which housed a modest museum on the first floor, and an open veranda on the second.

The former observatory tower, our birding headquarters.


We browsed the museum (basically an extended poster session of diagrams, maps, photos and articles, most in Spanish), and then moved up to the veranda to watch the birds visiting the flowering beds. There were hummingbirds around all the flowers, and we realized after watching for a while that there were a number of species present. They were all new to us, but we’re fairly sure we saw white necked Jacobins, steeely vented, rufous tailed, stripe throated hermits and brown violet ears.

After a few hours of watching and painting (Amy’s always drawn well, and is now getting into watercolors) we had lunch (hamburgueso y quesoburgueso) and then went back to our room. We were restless from sitting around, and went for a short hike on the paved trails through the woods around our building.

It began to rain heavily while we were out (we took cover under a gazebo), and the howler monkeys started to roar, seemingly complaining about the rain (a phenomenon that we experienced several times during the trip).

It turned out to be a lazy but enjoyable nature-filled day: dozens of birds, including lots of species new to us, and we even spotted a coatimundi foraging on the slope below our balcony. After dinner we recovered from our efforts by lounging in the large cloverleaf shaped spa next to the pool.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Costa Rica: the birds of Arenal

  1. I like the video clip