Panama Flycatcher & “Blue Boat”

Panama Flycatcher
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

For the birder readers, this is my first sighting of one of these here and in Costa Rica they are found only along the Pacific Coast. They are also seen in most of Panama. They look most like the Nutting’s Flycatcher which has more of a rufous tail and in Costa Rica is found only in the Northwest corner or Guanacaste Province and also in most of Nicaragua. 

Blue Boat
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Anytime I’m near water I look for what might be considered a “picturesque boat.” This one only barely qualifies, but really stood out against the brown water and bank with green trees. 

Anytime I have a guest who wants an easy half day adventure or birding experience, I take them to Tarcoles River, just a little more than an hour drive west of Atenas – if one of us has a rent car. My next post(s) will show more birds seen on this particular trip which I really enjoyed even if most of the birds are not new sightings. I can never get too many photos of a particular bird, only hopefully a better photo!  🙂
My BIRDS Photo Gallery, including the biggest sub-gallery of just Costa Rica Birds!

Last of Tarcoles Animal Photos

I got a few more photos, but not really good enough to show (and maybe some of these neither!)

Tarcoles River before flowing into the Pacific Ocean, an hour+ drive from Atenas.
Adjacent to Carara National Park, the last transitional rainforest in the Americas.
Tarcoles, Costa Rica
Yellow-crowned Euphonia, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Amazon Kingfisher, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Boat-billed Heron, a better photo than shown first day.
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Royal Tern, Tarcoles River Mouth, Costa Rica
Black-crowned Night Heron, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Snowy Egret, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
(With trash all around him!)

White-tailed Hawk, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Brown Basilisk (Striped Basilisk), Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Mangrove Crab, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Juvenile American Crocodile, Tarcoles, Costa Rica

See also my Costa Rica Birds PHOTO GALLERY

Costa Rica Reptiles  PHOTO GALLERY
THE FUTURE OF TARCOLES RIVER?

“That’s what people do when they find a special place that wild and full of life, they trample it to death.” 
― Carl Hiaasen, Flush

I’m hoping that won’t happen to Tarcoles River, but during Dry Season it is full of tourists coming to see the crocodiles and what is worse, the government is building two hydroelectric dams upstream on the Tarcoles River. Plus it has already been labeled “the most polluted river in Costa Rica” as many Central Valley towns dump their sewage and industrial waste into it. Wildness is slowly disappearing everywhere, even in one of the “green” countries! And the lack of rain thus far in this year’s rainy season has been shocking to me!

10 More Birds from Tarcoles River (& More to Come!)

Roseate Spoonbill, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Mangrove Hummingbird, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
(Proud of this! A rare shot! Got another of his back, all green.)
Wilson’s Plover, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

White Ibis, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Great Egret, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
(Our morning ballet?)

Whimbrel strolling with big brother Spoonbill, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
(It’s kind of like me hanging out with Ticos!)   🙂
Juvenal Little Blue Heron , Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Juvenal Yellow-crowned Night Heron,Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Olivaceous Cormorants, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Some of these will eventually be added to my Costa Rica Birds PHOTO GALLERY (It’s growing!)
Carols of gladness ring from every tree.
~Frances Anne Kemble



First 9 Birds from Tarcoles River

I still haven’t processed all the bird photos from the 2-hour, pre-breakfast float on Tarcoles River last Saturday morning. Maybe I’ll finish them tomorrow, a week after the trip to a favorite place!

Boat-billed Heron, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Cerulean Warbler, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Mealy Parrot, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Great Egret, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Green Heron,  Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
(I’ve many photos of them, but none like this front view)

Ringed Kingfisher, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
White Ibis hanging out with Black Vultures, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Black Vulture, Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Wikipedia on Tarcoles River
It has been declared our most polluted river in Costa Rica, so birding may diminish here. But for now it is the closest place to my house I know of for this kind of birding and bird photography. 
No matter how high a bird flies, it has to come down for water.

MORE BIRDS TOMORROW!

Scarlet Macaws, Lapas, Guacamayo Rojo

Scarlet Macaw flying over the mouth of the Tarcoles River at Pacific Ocean.
All Photos by Charlie Doggett, Tarcoles, Costa Rica

Scarlet Macaws were the main reason I spent a couple of nights at Carara National Park, where one of the two breeding colonies of Scarlet Macaws live, the other being at Corcovado NP and the surrounding Osa Peninsula which I visited in 2009 and got a few distant photos there. I also photographed a couple of the macaws on my 2010 and first Tarcoles River Crocodile & Birds cruise. But there were more macaws this time as June and July is the breeding season. My guide for two days here was Victor Mora Shaves of VicToursCostaRica. He is not a serious birder, but knows most of them and many of their songs or calls. And he did know we could get closer to macaws in Tarcoles Village than in the national park, thus we went there first thing Friday morning where all but one of these photos were made. We returned to Tarcoles Saturday morning for a mangrove boat tour with just me and him for a lot of other birds but no Macaws except flying way overhead. A separate post on that is coming with other bird photos. I’ll also do a post of our hike in the park for tomorrow, though it was a little disappointing compared to other parks I have visited (for the quantity of birds). Well here are some of the decent shots of Scarlet Macaws, not a single great one here, but okay and typical of shots birders get. You just can’t get close like in the zoo. But no zoo shots here!

Names used in Costa Rica are  Guacamayo Rojo  o Lapa  Note that I stayed in Hotel Villa Lapas which in English would be The House of Macaws. This artwork of Lapas is between the rest rooms off the lobby area helping define their location and name: 


The blue is Guacamayo Azul and the red Guacamayo Rojo and both are Lapas.
Hotel Villa Lapas is the closest to Parque Nacional Carara.
Problem with painting is that there are not blue & yellow macaws here!
They’re in South America and more rare than scarlet. Blue or Hyacinth
Macaws are even more rare, but did live in Central America once.

Scarlet Macaw, a typical shot in the trees.  Tarcoles, Costa Rica.
The one on right is upside down, also common.
Scarlet Macaw “loving couple” – they mate for life! Tarcoles, Costa Rica.
“Double-Dating” with one upside down!  🙂  Tarcoles, Costa Rica
Scarlet Macaws in different light – Tarcoles, Costa Rica

Scarlet Macaws above the Tarcoles River Mouth, Tarcoles, Costa Rica
Colorful birds! And beautiful flying!

Scarlet Macaws inside Carara National Park, Costa Rica.
Photo made across pond with cell phone through spotting scope.
Better photo ops with the fishermen in Tarcoles!

Rainforest Alliance article “About Scarlet Macaws.”  in “Kids Corner” 

Color is a power which directly influences the soul.
~Wassily Kandinsky

Tarcoles Village

Dog on Porch Roof, Tarcoles, Costa Rica

Tarcoles Village is where the Tarcoles River goes into the Pacific Ocean near Jaco and Carara National Park. It is where I have taken four boat trips on the river including the one today. It is where we got our good photos of Scarlet Macaws yesterday morning before going into the park where they are even more difficult to photograph. (Sharing those photos in tomorrow’s post.) And it is just a typical Tico small town, quiet, lazy, hot, and humid with sights like above and below before you get on your boat for the cruise. 

A boy brings in part of the morning catch at 8:30.
You can buy fresh fish along the road.
He caught those fish in a boat like this.
Then repair the nets for tomorrow’s catch.

The main road through Tarcoles.

And the only sign seen more than Coca Cola,
Costa Rica’s own, locally made, Imperial Beer.

For you Nashville readers, Kevin Hunter has ridden through this village with me for our birding/croc cruise. I came here two mornings on this trip; Friday for Macaw photos and Saturday for photos of other birds from a private boat. Someday I will just come and photograph the village. 

Growing up in a small, hot, humid town like this in South Arkansas near Louisiana and Mississippi brings me to a quote by Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Life in Tarcoles is like this:
“Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps. And by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There’s no hurry, for there’s nowhere to go and nothing to buy…and no money to buy it with.” 
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Tarcoles Catch-up Photos

On March 24, our first night at Manuel Antonio, we had a slow internet connection and I only shared one beach sunset photo. Here’s a few of many from our stop on the Tarcoles River enroute to beach.

Yellow-headed Caracara
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Striped Basilisk
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Common Black Hawk
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Tiger Heron
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Black-necked Stilt
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
American Crocodile (Great Egret in background)
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
This was my third time on the Tarcoles River and we always see and photograph more than 20 species of birds along with the promoted crocs and usually basilisks and iguanas plus some other lizards. That night I got lots of different kinds of beach sunset photos. Here’s one more I just have to show: 
Sunset over the Pacific Ocean
Manuel Antonio Beach, Costa Rica

The Beach!

Sunset at Manuel Antonio Beach, Costa Rica

We have very slow internet connection in our motel on the beach, so only one photo which took 20 minutes to upload. The croc, birds, horse and other sunset photos will have to wait until later! We drove to Tarcoles River this morning for our croc and bird safari cruise, then on to Manuel Antonio National Park and beach where we have a hotel on the beach. This photo was made from behind our hotel. Tomorrow we take a guided hike into the rainforest and then chill out the rest of the day.

Last 4 Tarcoles Birds

You can see all the birds in my Tarcoles Gallery or wait until the last week of March when I’ll be at Tarcoles again with Kevin this time. Enjoy these then I’ll go back to blogging about life in Atenas.

White Ibis
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Brown Pelican
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

Green Heron
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
Northern Jacana
Tarcoles River, Costa Rica
“The bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp.”
John Berry
My Trip Advisor Review of this trip with photos!

I’ve been photographing birds in Costa Rica since January 2009 and have a special gallery of Costa Rica Birds, with more than 100 species presented alphabetically by English name.