Costa Rica 2013
Fifteen Years Later

January 25, 2013 - Heliconias Lodge and Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

We woke to pretty high winds and intermittent rain. So we bailed on local the trails and headed down to Cañon Negro for dry forest birding and a boat ride. It's a long drive, over two hours, with the last hour on 26 kilometers of the bumpiest gravel road yet in Costa Rica. But the birding was terrific with three real rarities: Sungrebe, Green Ibis and Nicaraguan Grackle. Great views of four different species of Kingfishers, nine species of herons, and three species of Ibis. Plus Caiman, Crocodiles and Turtles. The river must carry a staggering number of fish to support the throngs of fish eaters we saw.

Decent photos, too. The refuge is formally Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Caño Negro. The boat concessionaire was Pantanal Tours. Recommended. I especially appreciated the difficult maneuvers of the boat to get good views of the Sungrebe, a species that famously sulks back in the mangrove roots.

The geology was interesting. Heliconias is perched on a volcanic cone at about 2,200 feet. The cone appears to be dormant, at least in comparison to the adjoining Vulcan Tenorio. But there are lahars and the post-eruption erosion shows big boulders mixed in the ash and cinders. By the time we were down to Upala, the nearest town, it was cinders and ash. By the time we we out of the foothills in the Rio Frio valley, just layers and layers of ash laid over what appeared to be uplifted limestone. I'd guess it's karst formations with volcanic ash overlay. The tropical rains have turned the ash layers brick red.

Weather this evening back at Heliconias is still quite windy. Hope it breaks over night. We start home tomorrow afternoon. Bummer.

Blue-winged Teal
Wood Stork
Neotropic Cormorant
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Boat-billed Heron
White Ibis
Green Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture
Roadside Hawk
Zone-tailed Hawk
Gray-necked Wood-Rail
Purple Gallinule
Black-necked Stilt
Northern Jacana
Spotted Sandpiper
Rock Pigeon
White-winged Dove
Ruddy Ground-Dove
Blue Ground-Dove
White-tipped Dove
Groove-billed Ani
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ringed Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher
Collared Aracari
Olivaceous Piculet
Lineated Woodpecker
Crested Caracara
Orange-chinned Parakeet
Red-lored Parrot
Barred Antshrike
Plain Xenops
Dark Pewee
Tropical Pewee
Great Kiskadee
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Mangrove Swallow
Barn Swallow
House Wren
Spot-breasted Wren
Clay-colored Thrush
Northern Waterthrush
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Passerini's Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Red-legged Honeycreeper
Variable Seedeater
White-collared Seedeater
Summer Tanager
Carmiol's Tanager
Red-winged Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Nicaraguan Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
Yellow-billed Cacique
Montezuma Oropendola
House Sparrow

Green Ibis

Amazon Kingfisher

Boat-billed Heron

All content © 2013 Frozen Feather Images