Monday, 9 April 2018

Costa Rica (15th -31st March 2018) part 3 - Selva Verde Lodge

17th March.
We arrived late afternoon at Selva Verde so only had a cursory look round before it got dark. Very nice it looked too - the rooms connect to the main building (bar/restaurant) by covered walkways and are set amongst the jungle with a set of fruit feeders observable from the balcony around the restaurant. No hummingbird feeders however.
The first morning we signed up to the dawn birding tour around the grounds. This produced around 25 species but nearly all were very distant scope views so no decent photographs were obtained. The very first bird we saw on the tour was the rufous motmot but it was still pretty dark. Despite trying when the light was reasonable I never did see one of these again which was a disappointment. Below are a few of the better record shots I managed during that tour.

Amazon Kingfisher

White-crowned parrot

Yellowish flycatcher

Variable seedeater


Grey capped flycatcher

Collared aracari

Breakfast was taken overlooking the fruit feeding station and proved very disappointing. About every 30-40 minutes a small group of Passerini's tanagers would visit but most of the time the feeders were deserted. We had 3 nights (so 2 whole days and the last morning) at Selva Verde and throughout that time the only other visitors to the feeding station (we saw) were red-throated ant tanager, a few blue-grey tanagers, one or two summer tanagers and a lone buff throated saltator.

Passarini's tanager

Passerini's Tanager (female)

Blue-grey tanager

Due to the slowness of the birding I took the opportunity to play with flash photography on the few species coming to the feeders - it was time well spent as it was a technique I relied on quite a lot during the holiday.
Another walk around the ground post breakfast provided me with a few more photo opportunities the best of which was a rufous tailed humming bird. I'd found a bird perched quietly on a twig low down and was just snapping away when it sat there with open beak. After a few shots of it in this pose I realised why it had it's beak open - an adult had appeared and fed it. All of this taking place whilst my eye was glued to the camera eye piece!.

Rufous-tailed hummingbird


I also picked up a pair of masked tityra


male and female Masked tityra
Tropical Kingbird

In the afternoon we went to Best Chocolate Sarapaqui - a chocolate tour which was a short walk from the lodge. It was excellent and the guide/main presenter showed us some green poison dart frogs as we walked to the presentation area. We were shown all stages of chocolate production and had a go at each one the most enjoyable being the last - eating what had been produced!. A great 2 hrs.

Green and black poison dart frog (seen as we walked to the presentation site

Grinding chocolate - the old way!

making a hot chocolate drink

Another session at the feeders late afternoon provided a few shots of summer tanager, a long-billed hermit and a northern barred woodcreeper (in the trees behind the feeders) - a bird we saw on most days.

Long-billed hermit

Northern barred woodcreeper
Summer Tanager


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