By Landon Neumann
I dreamed of birding in the tropics; they were legend to me. People raved about all the birds there, like they were splashes of color in a huge painting. I got my chance this summer when a couple of friends and I traveled to Costa Rica. I was shocked at the amount of birds we saw on our trip.
After a long day of flying from the United States, John Mark Simmons (one of the authors of the Two Birders and Binoculars blog) and I arrived in the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, where we met up with another friend, Laramie Aspegren, who lives in the area (check out his recent post on the ABA Young Birder Blog). We had all met through ABA’s Camp Colorado in 2011. Because it was dark when we arrived in Costa Rica, the birds had to wait until the next morning.
We woke bleary eyed at 3:15 a.m. and headed to the Poás Volcano Area, birding our way to the volcano. On the road we had birds like a Band-tailed Pigeon and a Peg-billed Finch. We took a detour at a botanical garden where hummingbirds met us. Most of the garden’s hummingbirds were Brown Violetears and Magnificent Hummingbirds. The best ones included a Green Hermit and a Magenta-throated Woodstar. The rest of the day was just as incredible; we saw our first volcano, walked through a swarm of hummingbirds, and got killer looks at a Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, all while experiencing the delicious Costa Rican food.
The rest of trip was beyond amazing. For nine more days we traveled all over Costa Rica in search of birds, spending a few days each in the Caribbean, Pacific, and highland parts of the country. We got to bird some well-known spots in the country such as the La Selva Biological Reserve, where our guide called in a pair of Fasciated Antshrikes by just whistling. We also visited Carara National Park, where we had several Scarlet Macaws flying over and Turquoise-browed Motmots a few feet from us. All in all, throughout the ten days of nonstop birding, we came up with the incredible total number of 291 species of birds, with 200 of those birds being lifers for me. It was such an awesome trip, with so many different birds! One day I hope to go back, to see my friends, to see the sights, but most importantly to experience more Costa Rican birding.
About the author: Landon Neumann is a sixteen-year-old birder from Logansport, Indiana, in the north-central part of the state. He had been birding for about seven years. He is active in the Indiana Young Birders Club and currently serves as one of the Club’s youth advisors. Landon’s favorite group of birds are shorebirds, but is favorite bird is Painted Redstart.