Costa Rica- Arenal Observatory Lodge and Sendero Bogarín (Day 8)

I had been pretty excited to bird the Arenal Observatory Lodge as it has both feeders and trails and countless exciting-looking eBird checklists.  One of the first birds we saw here was a Golden-olive Woodpecker obsessing over a hole by the parking lot.

The feeders turned out to be a disappointment as we never saw fresh fruit being put out, only birds picking at skins.  Still, they were pleasant birds.

Great Curassow and Montezuma Oropendola

Crested Guan

 Green Hermit (no hummingbird feeders here but flowers work too)

 Green Honeycreeper demanding more banana

 Montezuma Oropendola

 Bay-headed Tanager

 Olive-backed Euphonia says more melon, please

 Black-striped Sparrow and Golden-hooded Tanager

We abandoned the feeders to check out the trails and soon found some nice mammals.



For a few minutes I was completely unable to see birds others were seeing, as sometimes happens, but then I finally saw a bird and it was one I had been excited about.

Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant

 Collared Trogon 

 Frog pond

Get ready for some very dark/high ISO photos now...

 Streak-crowned Antvireo chomping on a caterpillar

Slaty-capped Flycatcher

 Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher

We emerged from the dark trails to the gardens with tons of porter weed and other flowers. 

 Violet-headed Hummingbird

Scarlet-thighed Dacnis

Scaly-breasted Hummingbird

Someone spotted one of our main target birds for this spot, the Black-crested Coquette:

The craziest hummingbird

Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer with its little red toes

We headed back to the lodge for lunch where the feeders still looked pretty sad but Jacob's fancy drink, something with cotinga in the name, looked happy.

I was into this stained glass:

Complete checklist from our morning here.  We left the lodge and started down the entrance road when Steve pointed at some birds on the side of the road.  I'm pretty sure I said something like, it's just Scarlet-rumped Tanagers but we stopped anyway and he was like, I see an Ocellated Antbird right there.  Oops. 

It was an ant swarm.

I did not take enough ant photos.

In addition to the antbird seen before exiting the car, many other antbirds attended. 

Bicolored Antbird

 Spotted Antbird

Dusky Antbird

 Red-throated Ant-Tanager

Russet Antshrike

It was awesome.  Other ant swarm-loving birds included Bare-crowned Antbird, Great Antshrike and Fasciated Antshrike.  Complete checklist from this stop here.

From here we headed to Sendero Bogarín, a smaller nature reserve with some better stocked feeding stations.

 Orange-chinned Parakeets

Red-legged Honeycreeper

Palm Tanagers

We left the feeders to check out the trails and look for our target bird, Uniform Crake.

Emerald basilisk? (aka Jesus Christ lizard)

Rufous-tailed Jacamar

Caroline eventually spotted our target bird in the dark swampy area.


We walked back to check the feeders one more time before heading out.

Our first Grayish Saltator of the trip

Gray-headed Chachalaca pile with bonus kiskadee

After getting our chach fix we headed off to the store for supplies and then back to our Airbnb.  Complete checklist for Sendero Bogarin here

I forgot to throw this very important photo in at the beginning of the post.  This is the kind of selfie influencers and other cool people do on the bridge by Lake Arenal.  We mocked it so much we had to do it ourselves.

Good times!


  1. Cool stuff again!
    I immediately thought Ruddy-breasted Crake when I saw the crake photo. They're the most common crake here, and do look fairly similar especially if you find one of the duller individuals.

  2. I'm loving your Costa Rica series, especially since we just had to cancel our planned May trip to CR. One question: in the Chachalaca photo, is that a Kiskadee or a Social Flycatcher?

    1. Thanks, France! Bummer about having to cancel your trip, we were VERY lucky to go when we did. That's a Great Kiskadee in the chachalaca photo. The bill is a bit blurry making it seem shorter but those rufousy wings don't lie.

  3. Haha love the selfie shot, can you box up some of those ant eating birds to deal with these fire ants that have taken over the Southern US. Just amazing color on all those birds. Good Times I'd say for sure. Thanks for sharing all this good stuff with us!

    1. Oof, no good on the fire ants. These antbirds don't actually eat the ants though, just the insects fleeing them, so they wouldn't help you out much. Maybe you need an actual anteater??


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