The first full day in Costa Rica is complete, and let me say, having a guide who is a wildlife and landscape photographer, along with a relative expert of the local birds. He’s been helping me spot things throughout the day, and take photos of many different birds, especially the highlights of today: hummingbirds.
I woke up early, approximately 5:45 AM CST to see if the birds were awake outside. Immediately I saw a couple new species, including a Blue-Gray Tanager and Incan Doves. The sun was already high on the horizon, and breakfast was soon coming. We ate at Denny’s, sadly not having a traditional breakfast, but overall good enough to tie us over for the long day. After eating we returned to our rooms, where we packed up and loaded the buses. On the way to the bus I was talking with the tour guide, who was able to point out to me another bird, the Palm Tanager, that was seated right under the windows of the hotel. We decided that our goal for the trip should be 150 birds, a number that he believes is extremely reasonable.
Our first drive took us to Cafe Britt, where we received a tour of the factory, and witnessed how coffee is made, along with all of the effort that it takes to make the perfect coffee. While here, I spotted only a single bird, a White-Throated Magpie-Jay, which was relatively hidden from site due to the netting I was under, but was identifiable enough after consulting the tour guide and describing the silhouette that I saw. During this stop we also visited the butterfly garden, and explored the gift hop too. Next, we headed towards the oldest national park in the country, Parque Nacional Volcán Poás, where it was extremely cloudy in the beginning, but began clearing up eventually, leading to some decent shots of the crater and its mineral pool. A few species were also spotted here, including the White-Collared Swift. We then headed to lunch at a local family-run restaurant, where I had a papaya smoothie that was absolutely delicious.
On the way to our next town, La Fortuna, where we will be spending the next four nights, we intended to visit the La Paz Waterfall. Unfortunately, a downpour quickly occurred, and while many people got out at the pull-off to take pictures, I stayed in the bus and took pictures from within, mostly to avoid getting my camera wet. Soon after the clouds broke up and the sun shown through, giving us great view of the San Fernando Waterfall, which we had views of from two locations, including a pit-stop that included hummingbird and papaya feeders, attracting approximately ten different types of birds all within inches of our faces. Then we continued on to La Fortuna, a small city at the base of the Arenal Volcano, where I sit now as I write this. In the short time we have been in this city I have added quite a few species!
As always, check out the full sightings from today here, here, here, and here.
The first full day of Costa Rica has come to an end, but the memories I am making will last a lifetime. Being able to see nature on this scale, and with this amount of biodiversity, is fascinating. Experiencing the lifestyle, seeing the country, and meeting the people has been an extremely eye-opening experience. These next days will hold many more adventures, memories, people, places, and of course, birds! I cannot wait to continue to delve deeper into the beauty that is Costa Rica. Pura Vida!