Friday, 25 May 2018

Tarcoles River with Victours, Costa Rica (March 27th)

I'd booked a "Photographic and Birdwatching" trip on the Tarcoles river with Victours prior to the holiday. This was a private trip for the 4 of us with Vic himself as our guide (Victor Chaves). He'd asked if there was anything in particular I'd like to see during our correspondence and I gave him a list though I suspect all the species were on his normal itinary.
We met Vic in Tarcoles and had a coffee in one of the local cafes, then off to the boat at 6.00am
As we left the dock mangrove swallows surrounded the boat and landed on the bow and roof. They even followed the boat as we steamed along - I assume the boat scares insects off the water that they grab.

We'd only gone a few yards when the boat slowed and we went towards the bank for a ringed kingfisher and a few yards along there was a common black hawk.

Ringed kingfisher

Common black hawk

As we moved down river waders were ignored (although I fired off a few hopeful shots) but the boat slowed/stopped for anything a bit larger.

Black-necked stilt and willet

Bare-throated tiger heron - juvenile


Great blue heron

Down towards the estuary we moved into the mangroves getting close to yellow-crowned night heron and almost within touching distance of boat billed heron.

Yellow-crowned night heron

Red-winged blackbird

Boat-billed heron

Moving further into the mangroves we had osprey, roseate spoonbill, green heron, juvenile pelican. Overhead I spotted a couple of raptors and fired off a few shots in hope rather than expectation and whilst the shots are rubbish they clearly identify the bird as plumbous kites by the red underwing.

Green heron


Plumbous kite

We then went quite a way up a narrow channel and the boatman put the boat into the bank and held it there by holding onto some branches. Vic and the boatman scanned the bank but it was the boatman's son at the stern who spotted the target - a mangrove hummingbird. Eventually after few  minutes of direction everyone was on it and I'd even managed a few record shots.

As these are quite scarce and due to habitat loss and restricted range (Costa Rica mangroves really) they are regarded as endangered.

After this we made our way upstream seeing a number of herons species and getting superb views of a pair of roseate spoonbills.

Gt White Egret

White Ibis

Ringed Kingfisher

Little blue heron

Tricoloured heron

Roseate spoonbill

Eventually as the river narrowed we stopped and Vic and the boatman started whistling.  Soon we had several yellow-headed caracara and a turkey vulture within a few yards of the boat as the threw out small pieces of what looked like chicken.

Yellow-headed caracara

Turkey vulture

All to soon our time was up but even on the way back to the dock we were picking up new species.

Wood stork

Cattle egret

Bare-throated tiger heron

We had only seen crocodile distantly during the boat trip so when it was over we popped up to the Tarcoles bridge. There were plenty to see.

Then it was back to hotel in time for breakfast.

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