Costa Rica, Day 2, 7 February 2014 - San Gerardo de Dota

Before I start on the birding today a quick word about the Savegre Hotel, Natural Reserve and Spa as it is now known. We'd booked 4 nights here on a full board basis. All meals are buffet style and compared to similar deals we had elsewhere on the trip the food here was a notch or 2 up the scale. The prices aren't cheap however and after 4 days I felt the meals were getting a bit samey. In Costa Rica you have to get used to gallo pinto (rice and beans) and plantain as they feature in every meal! The staff are friendly and helpful but I did think that $90 for a round trip ride of about 50 minutes to Cerro de la Muerte (see day 4) in a battered car belonging to and being driven by one of the hotel staff was a little on the expensive side! The cabins set around well tended gardens are lovely and the setting is truly beautiful. All of the trails owned by the lodge involve a steep walk up the same track each day but we didn't find this a problem because even the track was good for birds.

Today we'd decided to walk a couple of the trails, beginning with the shortest one in the morning - the Canta de las Aves trail. On the walk up a beckon from a friendly local farmer had us watching a pair of Resplendent Quetzals in a tree next to his orchard which was some way to start the day! Despite the Canta de las Aves trail not getting a brilliant write up in the Where to Watch Birds book it was ideal as a first trail to walk for us and yielded some great birding - 3 Large-footed Finches, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch, several Black-throated Green Warblers, Wilson's Warbler, c5 Flame-throated Warblers, Tropical Parula, 3 Swallow-tailed Kites, Brown-capped Vireo, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, plenty of Collared Redstarts, Silver-throated, Spangle-cheeked and Sooty-capped Tanagers and several Black-faced Solitaires. Back on the track and heading back to the lodge for lunch we scooped with the local speciality Black-capped Flycatcher as well as a group of Yellow-thighed Finches. Even then, we had time to squeeze in a gorgeous male Elegant Euphonia is trees above our cabin and then a Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher that sat for a photo or 2 amongst the common Mountain Elaenias.

Resplendent Quetzal (male)

Resplendent Quetzal (female)

Yellow-thighed Finch

Collared Redstart

Flame-throated Warbler

Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher

Black-throated Green Warbler

Mountain Elaenia

After lunch and the customary wander around the lodge grounds and feeders we headed back off up the track to walk the La Quebrada trail. This longer but thankfully more level trail was fairly quiet but most of that can be put down to the time of day. After a Yellowish Flycatcher and a Collared Trogon Belinda whispers to me - what are these strange things with ginger punk hairstyles? Carefully approaching I got some rally close views of 3 lovely Spotted Quail-Doves before they were spooked and flew off into deep cover. The trail crosses and then runs parellel with a stream a little further on and here we were really luck to be able to 'tape' a Wrenthrush just enough into view to get a quick look but the calling Silvery-fronted Tapaculus were a different matter and proved to be one of only 2 'heard but not seen' species of the entire trip.

Back at the lodge the various highlights of the day included Red-tailed Hawk, the usual numerous Blue and White Swallows, White-collared Swifts, a Grey-breasted Wood-Wren uncharacteristically in one of the flower beds (!), Paltry Tyrannulet, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Baltimore Oriole, Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush, c8 Sulphur-winged Parakeets, Acorn Woodpecker on the lodge chimney pot, a showy male Yellow-bellied Siskin and an addition to the hummingbird list in the form of Stripe-tailed Hummingbird.

It was time for happy hour at the bar before dinner!

Blue-grey Tanager

Acorn Woodpecker 

Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush

Silver-throated Tanager

Collared Trogon

Grey-breasted Wood-Wren 


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