Winter Birding Getaway!
with Gina Nichol & Steve Bird
January 31 - February 6, 2021
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Join us to escape the cold weather and bird in sunny, Costa Rica this winter on our easy, affordable getaway in search of Resplendent Quetzal (Photo: Gina Nichol) and the charming hummingbirds and other feathered gems of this bird filled country. Our itinerary features stays at lovely lodges where we'll enjoy warm tropical weather, nice accommodation, great food, lush forests, and an incredible variety of vibrant birds. A stay in the famous Valley of the Quetzals will offer the chance to explore mid-montane habitats where trogons, hummingbirds, tanagers, flycatchers and other vividly colored birds flourish.
Sunrise Birding has organized many successful birding trips to Costa Rica. See our Trip Reports page past trip reports>
Travel to El Copal and
then on to Hotel Quelitales
El Copal is a very special place situated between Turrialba and Tapanti on the Caribbean slope of the Talamanca mountains. Protected from being turned over the croplands, El Copal’s rainforests offer irreplaceable biodiversity and our visit here will be memorable.
The main target hummingbirds here are Green Thorntail, Crowned Woodnymph and world-famous Snowcap (Photo: Gina Nichol). The Verbena bushes in front of the buildings and the Inga trees could offer many others including Green Hermit, Bronzy Hermit, Green-crowned Brilliant, Black-bellied Hummingbird, Scintillant Hummingbird, Purple-throated Mountain-Gem, and Purple-crowned Fairy.
We’ll be looking for mixed flock species on the trails such as the Tawny-crested, Bay-headed, Speckled and Emerald Tanager (Photo: Steve Bird). Tawny-chested Flycatcher is a specialty here and keeping an eye to the sky, we hope to see raptors. Possibilities include Double-toothed Kite, American Swallow-tailed Kite, Barred Hawk, White Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk and even Black Hawk-Eagle if we are lucky.
After a homemade typical lunch in the reserve, we’ll drive to Hotel Quelitales. Set in the mountains of Peñas Blancas de Cachí at about 4500 feet, this eco-friendly accommodation features an organic farm and a fusion restaurant. Bungalows have contemporary décor, hardwood floors, open-air waterfall showers and gorgeous rainforest views. Rooms here are designed with large windows that offer stunning views of Costa Rica's highland rainforest. The hotel grounds boast 400 species of birds and more than 70% of Costa Rica's hummingbirds including special ones like Black-bellied Hummingbird, Green-fronted Lancebill, and the endemic Coppery-headed Emerald. We'll settle in and survey the grounds if there is time before dinner.
3 & 4 - Birding Hotel Quelitales
We'll also explore the Ujarrás Valley looking for Green-breasted Mango and Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the only migratory hummingbird present in Costa Rica!
5 - Cerro de la Muerte
and the Valley of the Quetzal
Later on, we will head to the Valley of the Quetzals and our lodge set in Parque Nacional Los Quetzales. We've visited this spot many times over the years as a favorite spot to enjoy a cup of coffee and check the birds in the back garden. In recent years, comfortable cabins have been built allowing us to stay in the middle of this birder's paradise.
On arrival, we'll check the balcony behind the restaurant. If the fuchsia shrubs are blooming, it is likely that Volcano Hummingbirds will be taking advantage of it allowing great views. Also here, keep watch for Sooty-capped Bush Tanager, Flame-colored Tanager, Sooty Robin, and Large-footed and Yellow-thighed Finches foraging on the ground. We have arrivedin the Valley of the Quetzal and will of course be keeping an eye out for the Resplendent Quetzal (Photo: Gina Nichol), the most beautiful of Costa Rican birds.
This area is also the home of Unspotted Saw-whet Owl and Dusky Nightjar. In the evening, we'll listen and look for these very special birds.
All day in San Gerardo
Quetzals and other avian
we explore the beautiful,
wooded Valley of the Quetzal,
our day list may include
Volcano Hummingbird, Stripe-tailed
Hummingbird, Collared Redstart,
Black-faced Solitaire, Long-tailed
Emerald Toucanet, Flame-colored
Tanager and others! The
winding road into the valley
follows tumbling river that
holds American Dipper, Torrent
Tyrannulet and sometimes
Louisiana Waterthrush. There
will be no shortage of other
birds to look for in the
valley including Collared
Vireo, Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush,
Yellowish Flycatcher, Acorn
Woodpecker, Lesser Violet-ear,
Ruddy Treerunner, Black-faced
Tufted Flycatcher, Barred
Becard, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher
and White-collared Swift.
Throughout the day, there
should be more chances to
see the amazing Resplendent
Quetzal - a highlight of
any tour to Costa Rica.
Morning birding and
then return to San