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Dry Pak Expedition Team's Costa Rican Bird Encounters 1 of 2

Dry Pak Expedition Team's Costa Rican Bird Encounters 1 of 2


Dry Pak Expedition Team's Costa Rican Bird Encounters 1 of 2


The sun was coming up behind the Irazu Volcano. The smell of fresh baked bread lead us to the corner store where we got a 3 feet baguette one could barely hold on its naked hand as it was coming right out of the oven. Half gallon orange juice, 4 eggs (sold by the unit) and a large bottle of water. It was 4:20 a.m. and with the kayaks on top of the car we were ready to hit the road leaving capital city of San Jose before the morning traffic turns it into pandemonium.


Perfect day for bird watching: not too hot, not too sunny, calm winds. The plan was targeting coastal birds while paddling the mangroves near Playa Mantas in the Central Pacific Coastline of Costa Rica. However, the country is full of surprises and the activity started right there, at 3.100 feet above the sea level: dozens of Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) flying in circles mixed up with Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) riding the thermals trying to get some lift for their morning snack.  Regardless of their bad reputation based on their obvious lack of charm, the vulture is a fascinating creature to see, especially while the sun rises over the horizon and with effortless moves they gain altitude. It was definitely worth to pull over. We got out of the car and right in front of us, in the middle of the grassland an Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) with its distinctive black “V” on the chest hop between some rocks. Not a bird you see every day in Costa Rica!


Somewhere in the background, wakeup calls from Great Kiskadees (Pitangus sulphuratus) mixed up with Clay-colored Robins (Turdus grayi) make us wonder who would have thought of the Robin to become the National Bird of Costa Rica??? The country has some of the most amazing creatures to choose from but some politician has decided the robin will steal the show! Anyway, their voice is beautiful and our trip technically hasn’t even started yet.



We got down to the Pacific lowlands around 6:00 a.m. and by judging the water levels at the Tarcoles River anyone could tell this has been a rainy month. The river banks under the bridge were usually crocs lay down making the classic tourist shot have disappeared and the brown waters now flood the pastures across the Carara National Park. We slow down the car searching the fields for Snowy Egrets (Egretta thula), Blue Herons (Ardea Herodias) and Rosate Spoonbills (Ajaja ajaja) however our attention was dramatically turn towards the sky as 3 couples of scarlet macaws (Ara macaw) cross over our heads flying away from their home trees at Carara going out to feeding grounds at the beachfront. A route the do day in and day out!

Some of the noisiest birds one can see in Costa Rica, the Scarlet macaws mate for life.


We got to Punta Leona few minutes later, dragged the kayaks to the black sand beach (volcanic sediment) and soon after with our equipment and breakfast well packed in the Dry Bags we started following a group of Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) while they graciously glide right over the surf on the way North.





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