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Old 23rd January 2019, 14:49   #1
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Default Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Birds of Costa Rica

A bit of background:
I have been fortunate to travel to Costa Rica a few times for work since the last couple of years but until about a year back, my passion for wildlife photography was dormant. Since the begining of 2018, I have been frequenting the forests of South India and Ranganthittu. These trips have been reaffirming my passion towards the forest and gradually the frequency of visits has been increasing. I initially had a Nikon 5100 on a rented 200 - 500mm lens but in one of the trips I hired a D7500 and 200 - 500mm lens and boy, was I sold!!!

A few photos from my foray into the forests of South India.

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-dsc_3303.jpg

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Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-dsc_3611.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-dsc_9072.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-dsc_9116.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-dsc_9511.jpg

Last edited by Venom_rider : 23rd January 2019 at 14:51.
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Old 23rd January 2019, 15:13   #2
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

I had a trip coming up to Costa Rica and it was time to invest in some serious gear. I finally had the following gear just before my upcoming trip in October of this year.

D7500 paired with 200 - 500mm Nikkor
D5100 paired with 18 - 200mm Nikkor
50mm prime
Sirui carbon fiber monopod with a Sirui Ball-Head
A few filters and other accesories
All packed up in a Lowepro Pro Runner 350 AW

I was a little skeptical about lugging that thing around as the in-cabin luggage and also because it weighed a whooping 11kgs. In the end, it all worked out well and I had a fantastic trip.

We were in Costa Rica for 2 weeks but since this was a work trip, we had only about 4 days on weekends for birding. So, I planned it in such a way that we cover a bit of everything (low-lands, tropical forest and the cloud forest). My guide for the first 2 trips was a guy named Randal Ortega - Extremely knowledgeable and claims to have been a birder for over 20years. My friend drove us to Quetzal Paradise lodge on the last day before flying out as it was just a day trip.

The rough itinerary looked like this:
Day 1: In and around Jaco Beach,
Day 2 / 3: Le Selva National Park
Day 4: Quetzal Paradise lodge

This is my first serious birding trip and experts please forgive me for any errors / oversight.

On day1, we did what Randal called, drive-by birding

We drove around the Carara National Park, took a quick boat ride on Jaco River and went to a well-known birding spot by the Jaco Beach.

Here are a few pics from Day1.

Grove Billed Ani
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5307.jpg

Hoffmann’s Woodpecker
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5314.jpg

Black Hawk
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5380.jpg

Northern jacana
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5400.jpg

Tiger Heron
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5433.jpg

Whistling duck
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5439.jpg

The Majestic looking, Crested Caracara
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5473.jpg

Black Vulture
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5493.jpg

Chestnut Mandibled Toucan
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5556.jpg

Mangrove Swallow
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5569.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5577.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5834.jpg

Swallow Tailed Kite
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5572.jpg

Osprey
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5617.jpg

Roseate Spoonbill
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5670.jpg

Blue Heron
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Black-necked Stilt
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Boat-billed heron
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5784.jpg

Green Kingfisher
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5840.jpg

Sandpiper (Spotted?)
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc5847.jpg

Pearl Kite
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6005.jpg

Wood Stork
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6014.jpg

White Stork
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6021.jpg

Great Egret, with a red snapper
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6034.jpg

Scarlet Macaw - I insisted that we should look hard for the Macaws as it was very high on my list. This is where local knowledge helps, I've been to Jaco Beach atleast 3 times before but was never able to see these majestic (& super noisy birds!) - Time of the day was wrong. The guide has seen this behaviour several times and was confident that the birds will be on this almond tree around 3pm everyday. We drove to that place and viola... there were atleast 30 birds & It was amazing!

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6292.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6306.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6550.jpg

Last edited by Venom_rider : 23rd January 2019 at 16:15.
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Old 23rd January 2019, 15:35   #3
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Day 2 / 3: Le Selva National Park

So, we decided to stay at Le Selva National Park and research centre. It was both recommended by Randal and I also read rave reviews about the place. We had an early start on Saturday and the plan was return late on Sunday, after birding on day 1 afternoon and next day morning. I was super excited about this oppurtunity and the place did not dissapoint. Some of the pics that we clicked on these 2 days.

Broad-billed Motmot
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6778.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6799.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6868.jpg

Eastern Pewee
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6903.jpg

Least Flycatcher
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6938.jpg

Passerini Tanager - Female
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6956.jpg

Passerini Tanager - Male
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6970.jpg

Chestnut Warbler
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc6982.jpg

Black-cheeked Woodpecker
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7024.jpg

Blue Dacnis
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7060.jpg

Green Honeycreeper - Female
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7071.jpg

Chestnut-Sided Warbler
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7091.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7113.jpg

Stripped Aracari tossing the fruit
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7221.jpg

Rufous-tailed hummingbird
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7332.jpg

Flycatcher (Grey-capped)
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7475.jpg

Golden-hooded Tanager
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7501.jpg

Broad-winged hawk

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7576.jpg
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Old 23rd January 2019, 15:48   #4
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Continued:

Day 2 / 3: Le Selva National Park


Plain-colored tanager
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7695.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7704.jpg

Green Honeycreeper
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7898.jpg

Black-hooded oriole
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7909.jpg

Social Flycatcher
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7958.jpg

Blue-gray tanager
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc7999.jpg

Clay-colored thrush
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8045.jpg

Black-faced Grosbeak
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8238.jpg

A Tapeti - Forest Cottontail Rabbit.
It was sitting there, frozen in fear cause just moments ago a broad-winged hawk, swooped in and snatched it's partner. Nature and it's seemingly cruel ways!

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8263.jpg


Yellow-billed cacique
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8283.jpg

Blue Dacnis
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8382.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8395.jpg

Green Honeycreeper
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8388.jpg

Baltimore Oriole
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8427.jpg

Montezuma Oropendola
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8453.jpg

Lineated Woodpecker
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8538.jpg

The pretty looking- Semiplumbeous Hawk
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8562.jpg

Butterfly
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8638.jpg

Strawberry Poison Dart Frog
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8750.jpg

Green Iguana
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8778.jpg

Keel-Billed Toucan
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8828.jpg

Turkey Vulture
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8902.jpg

Raptor Migration
(Read more about it here: http://www.hawkmountain.org/raptorpe...ge.aspx?id=352)

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc8927.jpg
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Old 23rd January 2019, 15:55   #5
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Day 4:
My friend in Costa Rica drove us to this place called "Paraiso Quetzal Lodge", which was about 85KMS from our hotel. The lodge is admist prime Quetzal territory at an elevation of about 9,000ft above MSL. It was a beautiful drive and the lodge itself is extremely picturesque. We had to hike for a kilometer to vantage point where Quetzals are known to frequent. We reached the place around 10:00am and every birding enthusiast knows... this is not the best time for birding. However we stayed put in that place for about an hour, as a farmer there reassuringly mentioned that the birds generally do return around 12 in the noon. Guess what?! He was right... and here are some pics of the magnificient bird.

Resplendent Quetzal
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc9425.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc9358.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc9432.jpg

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc9454.jpg

Green Violetear Hummingbird
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc9057.jpg

Scintillant Hummingbird Female
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc9063.jpg

Black-capped Flycatcher
Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc9197.jpg

Talamanca Hummingbird

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-_dsc9208.jpg

As it is evident, even a rookie like me can make half-decent pics because the places and birding opportunities are some of the best in the world! The biodiversity in the forests of Costa Rica is truly amazing. To explore the whole country, one needs to spend atleast 10 - 15 days.

Anyways... I really hope that you enjoyed viewing the pics, as much as I liked clicking, shortlisting and posting them.

Hope to share more from our South Indian forests soon.

Cheers!
Goutham

Last edited by Venom_rider : 23rd January 2019 at 16:22.
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Old 23rd January 2019, 16:28   #6
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Note from Moderator

Thanks for sharing - a really excellent photologue

Moving to Travelogue section
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Old 23rd January 2019, 16:50   #7
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Brilliant photos. Loved the colours.
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Old 23rd January 2019, 16:55   #8
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Quote:
Originally Posted by Venom_rider View Post
Birds of Costa Rica
Lovely pictures! Thank you very much for taking the time to post them, and mentioning the name of each bird. This thread made my afternoon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Venom_rider View Post
Swallow Tailed Kite
I am no bird expert, but based on my limited knowledge of birds, that doesn't look like any kind of Kite to me. It looks like some kind of Albatross, which I'm inclined to think due to it's beak.
I googled for the Swallow Tailed Kite, and this is what it looks like, which definitely does not match the bird in your picture. So, I'm not sure if you uploaded the wrong picture; or you put the wrong name for the bird?

Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica-swallow-tailed-kite.jpg
Cheers
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Old 23rd January 2019, 17:08   #9
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joxster View Post
Lovely pictures! Thank you very much for taking the time to post them, and mentioning the name of each bird. This thread made my afternoon
Thank you buddy... Glad you like the clicks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joxster View Post
I am no bird expert, but based on my limited knowledge of birds, that doesn't look like any kind of Kite to me. It looks like some kind of Albatross, which I'm inclined to think due to it's beak.
I googled for the Swallow Tailed Kite, and this is what it looks like, which definitely does not match the bird in your picture. So, I'm not sure if you uploaded the wrong picture; or you put the wrong name for the bird?

Cheers
Sorry looks like I mixed up the title and pic... The photo infact is of the Magnificent Frigate bird. Thanks for highlighting the error.

Cheers!

Last edited by khan_sultan : 24th January 2019 at 16:23. Reason: Removed the non-forum image for smiley :-)
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Old 23rd January 2019, 18:08   #10
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Great picture gallery Venom_Rider !

Your glass has captured excellent, crisp & sharp pictures & you have painstakingly mentioned the name of each bird, goes so much to say about the passion you have about Birding & photography !

Well done !!
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Old 24th January 2019, 16:03   #11
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Brilliant pics and thanks for taking us on the trip. I'm an amateur photographer and just can't understand how you guys manage to get that tack-sharp focus.
I play around with the 50mm prime and a Tamron 90mm macro, but somehow I can't manage that sharp focus.
Any tips? :-D
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Old 24th January 2019, 20:03   #12
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Brilliant Photography and really Sharp photos.

When ever I thought of birds, only Brazil used to come mind. Had never thought of Costa Rica.

Thanks for sharing. My 3 year old daughter enjoyed seeing the pose of some the birds
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Old 24th January 2019, 22:25   #13
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Brilliant pictures Goutham! Chestnut Mandibled Toucan is my favourite.
Thanks for the names of each bird, informative for non-bird experts like me .
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Old 24th January 2019, 22:42   #14
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Thank you very much VR, for bringing Costa Rica to us.

Excellent log, one of a kind. It reminds me another log some time back on Masai Mara. Beautiful pictures, my favourite is Keel-Billed Toucan

Would you also share some landscape pictures, I believe Costa Rica is a beautiful country with turquoise beaches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rav11stars View Post
just can't understand how you guys manage to get that tack-sharp focus.
I play around with the 50mm prime and a Tamron 90mm macro, but somehow I can't manage that sharp focus.Any tips? :-D
Hey, although I don’t do wildlife much, a couple of basics are,
1. Do not use macro for wildlife, especially birds, because they tend to move and with a shallow DOF, focus goes for a toss.
2. Lens focusing technology such as HSM/USM helps a lot. If you got a slow lens then Aperture is the key, it has to be high enough for the lens to focus faster. I usually start at F8, if my shutter is not fast enough (i.e. < 1/100) increase sensitivity.
3. A lazy shortcut can be shooting in sports mode. It would be sharp but grainy.

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 24th January 2019 at 22:44.
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Old 24th January 2019, 23:20   #15
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Default Re: Trip to Birders Heaven - Costa Rica

Quote:
Originally Posted by rav11stars View Post
I play around with the 50mm prime and a Tamron 90mm macro, but somehow I can't manage that sharp focus.
Any tips? :-D
I am no expert either buddy but apart from the tips provided by @Thermodynamics, here are few basic things that should help you get sharp photos especially from 50mm prime.

Get the balance between Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO right. The newer DSLRs can handle higher ISO well, so don't hesitate to crank it up carefully depending on the lighting conditions. 50mm (1.8?) can handle low light really well because of the wide aperture and Nikon version of it produces images with amazing sharpness and bokeh!

I always use Image Stabilization and use group of 4 focus points. The D7500 has very adept focusing system so never felt it to be challenging. The D5100 on the other hand, tests your patience, so right body matters!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chandrda View Post
Brilliant Photography and really Sharp photos.

When ever I thought of birds, only Brazil used to come mind. Had never thought of Costa Rica.

Thanks for sharing. My 3 year old daughter enjoyed seeing the pose of some the birds
Thanks buddy and I'm glad you and your daughter enjoyed

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Riddler View Post
Brilliant pictures Goutham! Chestnut Mandibled Toucan is my favourite.
Thanks for the names of each bird, informative for non-bird experts like me .
Welcome buddy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thermodynamics View Post
Thank you very much VR, for bringing Costa Rica to us.

Excellent log, one of a kind. It reminds me another log some time back on Masai Mara. Beautiful pictures, my favourite is Keel-Billed Toucan

Would you also share some landscape pictures, I believe Costa Rica is a beautiful country with turquoise beaches.
Thank you so much... Unfortunately I don't have any good landscape photos. I generally didn't carry my DSLR during the beach trips, sorry!
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