With over 850 species of birds identified in Costa Rica, this is the place to do some serious bird watching! In a small group you will be led on an easy hike through a forest at a private farm early in the morning, then walk down to the beach areas to spot the many varieties of shorebirds. Along the way you will stop for breakfast. Your experienced guide with lots of local knowledge will be carrying a high tech spotting scope with reference books and knows right where to take you.
Because the hike begins at 5:30am, it is important to know that the pick-up time from your hotel by the provided transportation can be quite a bit earlier depending on your location. You will be brought to a private farm called Finca Langostinos on the outskirts of the community of Playa Panama. Here you will be greeted by your bilingual naturalist guide who will then lead you out into the dry tropical forest habitat, home to a highly diverse number of lowland bird species.
You’ll be following distinctive exotic bird calls as the forest awakens. Most rural Costa Ricans are aware of the local birdlife and can identify certain species even from the sound of their wings flapping. Often seen in this area are the Crested Caracara, Squirrel Cuckoo and Laughing Falcon to name a few.
Despite all the colorful large exotic birds in Costa Rica, the national bird, known as El Yiguirro, is a nondescript little brown bird also called the clay colored thrush (Turdus Grayi). What makes this bird so special in the hearts of the people, centers around the males’ constant melodious chants right before rainy season. This created the belief that El Yiguirro was calling in the rains. The ritual is actually a mating call at the beginning of nesting season, but the timing was perfect to grant national status to the importance of this little bird’s call that helped farmers know when to plant their crops.
Your experienced guide will set up the spotting scope for a close-up view of each bird sighting. You will be able to take photos through the scope if you like. The leisurely stroll through the morning forest will afford many opportunities to add new tropical species to your list.
From the farm you’ll be walking along back roads towards the beach. You’ll stop for breakfast at a local restaurant on the way. Here you’ll encounter a different community of feathered friends as you begin to see the many varieties of shore birds. Often during season you can find their nests which can be quite large.
Whether it’s a cluck, chatter, chirp, trill, whistle or caw, the dawn chorus is sure to cause a stir waking up the day as you discover the enchantment of Costa Rica’s abundant birdlife. From farm to beach you’ll observe a vast array of amazing colors and characteristic markings that you can record on this totally unique bird watching expedition.
Round trip transportation, professional naturalist bilingual guide, drinks and breakfast are included on this early bird half day tour. Transportation can take up to 1.5 hours each way depending on the location of your lodging as well as local traffic conditions. Be sure to go to bed early!