This is the first of a series of posts for the two-week trip I made to Costa Rica back in May 2014. Please click on each image for a better view.
Costa Rica, a small country located in the bird-rich neotropical region is a must for avid bird photographers. To-date, a total of 850+ bird species have been recorded, which is more than all of the United States and Canada combined.
It has an area smaller than West Virginia yet provides a wide array of natural habitats that include mangrove swamps, wet Caribbean coastal plains, dry lowlands, and multiple high elevation chains, which somewhat explains why such a diverse variety of both tropical and subtropical bird species are present in such a small country. With such a wide variety of bird species, it is obviously a huge tourist attraction for Costa Rica. In fact, it is considered one of the best country in the American tropics for rainforest birding.
The trip was organized by a keen photographer friend, Yamil Saenz. Yamil is a vet by profession and originally from San Jose, Costa Rica himself. He is one of the best photographers in the Bay Area due to his dedication to bird photography in Northern California and his endeavour in capturing outstanding images of birds in their natural habitat going about its everyday life.
I was advised to bring shorter range telephoto lenses for the trip since most of the time the birds would be at close proximity.
Equipped with my Canon EOS-1DX as the main body and EOS-7D as the back-up, I packed my EF200-400mm, along with EF28-300mm, and a Macro lens Tamron 90mm into my Gura Gear Kiboko bag, and I was all set for one of the greatest challenges of bird photography, i.e. capturing images of forest birds.
As soon as we loaded our baggage onto the SUV that greeted us outside the arrival hall of the Juan Santamaria International Airport, we headed to our first destination of Cinchona, located in Alajuela, 20 miles away. However, it took us about an hour due to bad traffic, and we were all getting restless and impatient.
Our first destination was a small and rather simple family operation providing both lunch and bird photography spot. The structure was made of wooden pieces nailed together with simple zinc roofing, providing shelter from the rain and sun. It is situated along the hillside and provided breathtaking views of the natural rainforest, along with cascading waterfalls and the intoxicating smell of fresh air.
We appreciated the necessity of a simple wooden shelter to blend in with such a mesmerizing natural surrounding. Furthermore, the chirping of the birds in the silent background simply reminds me of some happy moments in a Disney animated movie… sorry, I digressed a little … now back to my adventure in Costa Rica.
It started to rain as we unloaded our gear and ordered lunch.
To our delight, we saw hummingbirds hovering over the feeders … there were so many of them that it was almost a sensory overload! We quickly gobbled our lunch to get started on the hummingbirds as soon as we can.
The hummingbirds were just the teaser. Not long after, one after another species made their appearances, including the toucannet, and Blue-gray Tanager, Silver-throated Tanager, Palm Tanager, and Passerini’s Tanager.
The soft drizzle of the rain simply complemented the mood of the images. We couldn’t have asked for more.
Stay tuned for my next post on more birds of Costa Rica…