Pacific Wren

Pacific Wren
Pacific Wren

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Costa Rica: Parque Nacional Carara, the Finale.

Nearing the end of our stay and with only one more full day left to go birding near San Jose, I had decided the Carara National Park would be the best place to go for the more unusual birds that I had not yet seen.  This park is located on the Pacific Coast about 2 hours out of San Jose and was going to be hot, humid, and most likely mosquito infested.  Chris and Michael had decided to spend the day exploring the city of San Jose, so I was on my own.  Thankfully, Serge Arias, was able to assist me in finding a guide that would take me to this location.  He arranged for a great young man and an awesome birder by the name of Abelardo to take me there and help me do some birding.

This park has a wonderful array of birds and the conditions were pretty much what I expected - humid and wet with plenty of mosquitoes that we had to share space with.  We were well prepared as we carried repellent with us and for the most part it worked, but had to re-apply it from time to time.  It is a tropical rain forest with all kind of vegetation which created a lot of low light conditions.  The conditions, plus my camera a bit off on its ISO settings, created a lot of photography challenges.  I just rolled with the flow and tried to make the best of it.  Even resorted to trying to use a flash in a couple instances. 

I added a total of 18 new life birds in that awesome place that pushed me over the 800 mark easily.  My list of lifers at this incredible spot include:  Gray-cowled Wood-Rail, Long-billed Hermit, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Black-throated Trogon, Lesson's Motmot, White-whiskered Puffbird, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Scarlet Macaw, Black-hooded Antshrike, Bare-crowned Antbird, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Royal Flycatcher, Bright-rumped Attila, Orange-collared Manakin, Red-capped Manakin, and Rufous-breasted Wren. Below are some of those that I was able to photograph and many of the photos leave lot to be desired.  But just seeing these birds was a thrill and so glad I explored this park with a great guide.  Thanks to Abelardo for helping me find these birds and thanks to Serge for making arrangements for Abelardo to be my guide.  I highly recommend both as future guides for anyone that plans a trip to Costa Rica.

Black-hooded Antshrike

Black-throated Trogon

Chestnut-backed Antbird

Royal Flycatcher

Rufous-tailed Jacamar

Slaty-tailed Trogon

White-whiskered Puffbird - Female

White-whiskered Puffbird - Male

Orange-collared Manakin (About all one can see is the orange collar!)

Within the park, I was also able to photograph an Agouti and an Owl Butterfly.


Owl Butterfly

Just outside the park and down the road from our entrance to the park, Abelardo, took time out to stop at the river so I could view the resident American Crocodiles.  One of them was quite large!

 American Crocodile

So glad I made the decision to visit this spot and add so many new birds, with the assistance of a really great guide!  A bit THANK YOU to Abelardo and also to Serge Arias for working out the details for me.  Even with all the mosquitoes, it was definitely a day to remember.

The next day we headed back to Liberia since we were flying out from there.  We did have a bit of free time in Liberia and of course we did some birding, when it wasn't raining.  While I did miss out on the Yellow-naped Parrot that Chris and Michael saw in San Jose, I got lucky and was able to add that species to my life list in Liberia. Got some photos of a very cooperative Stripe-headed Sparrow as well.

 Yellow-naped Parrot

 Stripe-headed Sparrow

I started this trip with 689 life birds and finished with 814.  An increase of 125 species was an incredible number of new life birds.  Yes, there is a lot more to explore in Costa Rica, and would love to go back.  Also have several other destinations in mind as well.  These trips are not always inexpensive, so budgeting must be thought out well in advance.  



  1. Good for you; glad to went off to this place. Photos are plenty good enough to show us what you saw! You're good with that camera! And, as usual, thanks for sharing it with all of us.

    1. This day actually ended being my biggest 'lifer' day. I got 18 lifers on this day, compared to 17 on two other days and one day with 16 species. Thanks for the comments Babs!

  2. Thanks for your Blog and photos my wife and I are going in March for 12 days We will be using Johan Chavez as our guide he has organised two nights stay in 6 different lodges.