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Common Bluewing femalIn association with Steve Bird's Wildlife
Dragonflies & Nature
June 16 - 25, 2018
                 With Dennis Paulson

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to reserve your space!

Everyone knows that Costa Rica is a naturalist's heaven and bird watchers from all over the world have often explored Costa Rica as their introduction to neotropical birds. But how many people know just how fantastic Costa Rica is for dragonflies? 

Red-crowned ManakinThere are 14 different families of Odonata in Costa Rica compared to 9 in the UK and 11 in the US, making this tropical paradise the perfect place to search the rocky mountain streams, rivers, marshes and ponds for wide variety of species.  With 274 species of dragonfly presently described and at least 15 undescribed, this tour aims to see a good selection of these winged gems.

While dragonflies will be the main focus, this tour will also take time to look at the wide variety of other fantastic wildlife this beautiful country has to offer. If the weather is particularly cloudy or overcast, we will take time to look at some of the magnificent birds, reptiles, frogs, other insects and butterflies which are active even on dull days. This will be an all round nature experience with dragonflies being an important part of our tour.

Common BluewingDue to the fantastic success of our 2017 Costa Rica dragonfly tours, we have a big demand to repeat one particular area around Laguna del Lagarto where we discovered several new species for Costa Rica and also found a handful of undescribed species. This exciting area is home to the much sought after Common Blue-wing and certainly deserves a more thorough search which is why we have organized this new and exciting itinerary. We will spend time in just two areas allowing us good opportunities to find even more new species for the country. Other wildlife we hope to see could include Great Green Macaw, Snowy Cotinga, Honeycreepers, Toucans, Trogons, Hummingbirds, Mantled Howler Monkey, Strawberry Poison Dart and Red-eyed Tree Frog and more!

Some of the special dragonfly species possible on this tour include:
  • Common Bluewing
  • Blue-winged Helicopter
  • Amazon Pennant
  • Red-and-black Flatwing
  • Yellow-eyed Spreadwing
  • Guatemala Spinyneck
  • Caribbean Yellowface
  • Brilliant Redskimmer
  • Mexican Scarlet-tail
  • Golden Amberwing
  • Little Swamp Dasher
  • Andagoya Dragonlet
  • Morton's Skimmer
  • Tuxtla Leaftail
  • Lowland Knobtail
  • Gold-tipped Darner
  • Marsh Firetail
  • Bromeliad Helicopter
  • Red-tipped Swampdamsel
  • Tiny Forktail
  • Costa Rican Wedgetail
  • White-faced Flatwing
  • Peralta Cora
  • Tikal Spreadwing
  • Hercules Skimmer
  • Jade-striped Sylph
  • Arch-tipped Glider and many more!

NOTE:  Our 2017 Costa Rica Dragonfly tours filled VERY QUICKLY!
  If you are interested, please contact us right away! 

or to reserve your space!   


Itinerary>     Trip Cost>       Registration Form>   
Contact to reserve your space!

Blue-winged Helicopter ITINERARY:

Day 1: Saturday 16th June – Arrival San Jose – Welcome dinner
If traveling from the UK or US you need to plan for a flight that arrives in San Jose International Airport on June 16th. Note this is just an arrival day and a free shuttle bus will transfer you to our hotel. The tour begins with dinner at 7.00pm. (D)

Day 2: Sunday 17th June – Braullio Carrillo NP – Copa – Selva Verde
After breakfast today we will meet our trusted coach driver “Ramon” and head out of the city towards the Sarapiqui. Our first stop will be at the Braullio Carrillo National Park where we hope the sun will shine and allow us to spend the rest of the morning searching this rich tropical forest. On our last tour we discovered the rare Yellow-eyed Spreadwing (Archilestes latialatus) so we will make an effort to try and find this interesting species. There will hopefully be other species to keep us busy such as White-faced Flatwing (Heteragrion albifrons), Blue-winged Helicopter (Megaloprepus caerulatus), Lowland Knobtail (Epigomphus tumefactus) and Hercules Skimmer (Libellula herculea).

Moving on we may have a little time to check a disused butterfly garden to see if any of the forest hummingbirds are coming to the flowers to feed. On a good day it is possible to see the beautiful Snowcap alongside Black-crested Coquette and the dainty Green Thorntail. We will have a delicious lunch at a local restaurant followed by a short drive to a private reserve where we can visit their pond as well as observe some very interesting birds which include Thicket Antpitta which comes to food put out by the owner. He may also be able to show us day roosting owls or a Potoo! The plan is to spend the afternoon here if the weather cooperates especially as the pond may hold some surprise dragonfly species.  If not, we will revisit the site later in the trip.

Flame-tailed PondhawkContinuing on we will head for Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui and our home for the next 3 nights Selva Verde Lodge. If time permits we get our first look at the pond near our bungalows for Sooty Saddlebags (Tramea binotata), Flame-tailed Pondhawk (Erythemis peruviana), Golden Amberwing (Perithemis electra) and who knows what else. Tonight we will have an optional search for Red-eyed Tree Frog and maybe Strawberry and Green-and-black Poison-Dart Frogs. Night Selva Verde Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 3: Monday 18th June – La Selva Biological Station
Today we will visit the world famous La Selva Biological Station. This is one of the best and best- studied sites for dragonflies in Central America, and at this time some 130 species have been recorded in the swamps and streams of this extensive patch of rainforest. We hope to see a good sample of these including Tikal Spreadwing (Lestes tikalus), Redstripe Rubyspot (Hetaerina miniata), Costa Rican Wedgetail (Acanthagrion speculum), Red-and-black Flatwing (Heteragrion erythrogastrum), Wispy Threadtail (Psaironeura angeloi), Gold-tipped Darner (Gynacantha tibiata), Common Blue-eye (Anatya guttata), Armed Knobtail (Epigomphus armatus), Black Dasher (Micrathyriaand debilis), Fork-tipped Dashers (Micrathyria mengeri), Swamp Skimmer (Micrathyria cultriformis) and Large Woodskimmer (Uracis fastigiata). Previous visits have tallied all three of the huge helicopter damsels here, as well as uRed-and-black Flatwingundescribed species of amberwing and firetail. Peccaries and guans can be seen around the restaurant area, while basilisks and iguanas hang around the river, and many species of birds visit the fruiting shrubs. We will spend the day here and just out the entrance in order to find a good selection of species. The small streams and patchy reeds can hold species like Jade- striped Sylph (Macrothemis inequiunguis), Tuxtla Leaftail (Phyllogomphoides pugnifer) and Broad-striped Forceptail (Aphylla angustifolia). Back at the lodge we can again check the pond and in the evening go in search of nocturnal creatures if you so wish. Night Selva Verde Lodge. (B,L,D)


Day 4: Tuesday 19th June – La Selva Area
Today we have a chance to revisit some of the nearby ponds and wetlands in search of additional species. Of course the weather plays an important part in our search so we have allowed this additional day just in case yesterday was overcast. This whole area is a haven for birds and other wildlife and we have opportunities to look for Snowy Cotinga, Rufous Motmot, the skulky Agami Heron, Red-capped Manakin and maybe Honduran White Bat or Mantled Howler Monkey. Nights Selva Verde Lodge. (B,L,D)


Days 5 – 9: Wed 20th – Sun 24th June – Laguna del Lagarto Lodge
Amazon PennantAfter breakfast we will set off towards our next destination. We visited Laguna del Lagarto on our 2017 tour and it turned out to be an amazing area, rich in wildlife and in particular the dragonflies. The well positioned lodge offers great opportunities to search rivers, streams, marshes and some very interesting forest ponds. Set within 500 hectares of rainforest this area has been little studied and as our 2017 tour proved, there is much to be discovered. We found several species new to Costa Rica and several undescribed species which included species only ever seen in La Selva previously.

Some of the interesting species found previously include Amazon Pennant (Idiataphe amazonica ), Mexican Scarlet-tail (Planiplax sanguiniventris ), Brilliant Redskimmer (Rhodopygia hinei ), Morton’s Skimmer (Cannaphila mortoni), Marsh Firetail (Telebasis digiticollis), Guatemala Spinyneck (Metaleptobasis bovilla) and undescribed species of Amberwing (Perithemis) and Firetail (Telebasis). The next four days will allow us a much more thorough search than our previous visit and we have high hopes of uncovering more interesting and possibly new species. We do know that Common Blue-wings, one of the most spectacular dragonflies, Keel-billed Toucansoccur here, as well as several other species with restricted ranges in Costa Rica. This is also the land of parrots, and even the rare Great Green Macaws and gaudy Scarlet Macaws can be seen here. Bird feeders at eye level to the lodge deck offer unprecedented views and photo opportunities of many birds including Keel-billed Toucans, Collared Aracaris, 3 species of Honeycreeper, Brown-hooded Parrots and a variety of colorful tanagers. In the evening we can relax and watch the sunset, and then for those that wish when it gets dark we can look for frogs and other night-time creatures. Nights at Laguna del Lagarto Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 10: Mon 25th – Return to San Jose for international departures - END of Tour
Please try to arrange your departing flight no earlier than 14.00pm as we need to travel during the morning and allow time for traffic around the city.(B)



Leaders: Tom Bird and Dennis Paulson with driver Ramon

Dennis Paulson
Dennis PaulsonDennis Paulson grew up in Miami, exposed to subtropical nature in all its glory while southern Florida was still largely unspoiled. He received his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Miami in 1966 with a study of the dragonflies of southern Florida, and shortly thereafter he moved to Seattle, where he has lived ever since. He retired as the Director of the Slater Museum of Natural History at the University of Puget Sound, where he also taught in the Biology Department. Dennis has taught at three universities and continues to teach adult-education courses in many venues. He has also led nature tours and traveled on his own to all continents, and he has studied and photographed dragonflies and birds worldwide and published over 75 scientific papers on his favorite animals. He is an avid nature photographer, with many photos published in magazines, books and interpretive displays.

Dennis's published books include Dragonflies and Damselflies of The West; Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East; Shorebirds of North America:The Photographic Guide; Shorebirds of the Pacific Northwest; Exotic Birds; and Alaska:The Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guide. Beyond these interests, he is a well-rounded naturalist with a broad knowledge of plants and animals of the world.

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Mexican ScarlettailCOSTA RICA
Dragonfly & Nature Tour
With Dennis Paulson
June 16 - 25, 2018
   Registration Form>

Contact or to reserve your space!   

TOUR PRICE: $2395.00 per person, double occupancy from San Jose, Costa Rica (Airport code: SJO). 

Single supplement: $375.00

$500 per person. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise when you have made payment.

Included in cost: All lodging as per itinerary based on sharing a room with en- suite facilities, All meals from dinner day 1 to breakfast day 10, Ground transportation by air-conditioned coach, all Reserve and parks entrance fees, Hotel Taxes, Bottled water, Services of guides and leaders.

Not included: Cost does not include roundtrip airfare to and from San Jose, Costa Rica from your home airport, passport/visa fees, insurance, departure taxes, items of a personal nature such as: laundry, telephone, beverages, or gratuities for porterage or personal services.

RESERVATIONS: Contact either or to reserve your space! Then, complete the Registration & Release Form and mail it with your deposit of $500.00 per person to Sunrise Birding, LLC.  Instructions are on the form. Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.   
>Download & print the Registration Form 

Once the tour is confirmed to go ahead, we will send you information about booking your flights. Please do not book flights until you receive this information from us and are notified that the trip has sufficient numbers to run. Final payment is due March 16, 2018 and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Check or bank transfer are preferred but credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees).

Transportation/Travel Planning: You will be responsible for making your travel plans to San Jose, Costa Rica. Information will be forthcoming about timings for arrivals and departures. Once the tour is confirmed to go ahead, we will send you information about booking your flights. We have a flight agent who can help. Please do not book flights until you receive this information from us and are notified that the trip has sufficient numbers to run.

Note: This tour is being run through Steve’s Birds Wildlife – Birding & Wildlife Tours, 5 Quarry Cottages, Plymouth, Devon, UK. Contact Steve Bird for more information.
If booking from the US then payments can be made through Sunrise Birding LLC.

**Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Cancellations and Refunds: All cancellations must be made in writing. In the event that you must cancel your booking at any stage, all payments you have made to Sunrise Birding, LLC will be retained by us, except at our discretion. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur. There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.

Insurance: Sunrise Birding, LLC recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 07-0025.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. 11.17 E7N

Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at 
Phone: 203.453.6724

This tour is being run through Steve Bird's Wildlife, Steve’s Birds Wildlife – Birding & Wildlife Tours
5 Quarry Cottages, Plymouth, Devon, UK. PL5 3PF
Contact Steve Bird for more information.