My first of three tours this year in Costa Rica was due to start on 24th February; thus, I could not resist nipping over to Costa Rica early and checking out some new spots. Costa Rica, and its myriad birding and photography possibilities are well documented, and that is one of the problems of going there. On each and every visit, in this "sanctuary country" for so many species (Costa Rica has around 28% land area which is under strict protection for conservation purposes, the largest percentage of any country on Earth), you find out about new places to go and bird or photograph birds. One of Costa Rica's pleasurable conundrums is, where to bird? (There are just so many great sites to choose from). And so, on this trip I decided, before the tour began, to check out a "photo site" called Nature's Pavilion (website here: Nature's Pavilion), run by a father son combo.
I visited with one of Tropical Birding's Photo Journey tour leaders, Ecuadorian Pablo Cervantes, a good friend of mine. On arrival we met with one of the owners (i.e. the father in the partnership), Dave Lando Sr., who showed us his wonderful property. We made 2 short visits there, when our eyes were glued to our cameras, as a parade of excellent tropical birds came in and out at the feeders. 19 species were recorded at their fruit feeders alone, with another 6 species at their hummer feeders.
Among the common visitors were the "usual crowd" of Blue-gray and Palm Tanagers, as well as Costa Rica's poorly-selected national bird, Clay-colored Robin (Thrush). I say, "poorly selected" only because in a country packed with the exotic and tropical, it is a shame, they did not pick something more representative of what draws birders to this top notch birding destination. Among the other visitors during our visits were Olive-backed Euphonia, Black-cowled Oriole, Montezuma Oropendola, Baltimore Oriole, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Grayish and Buff-throated Saltators, Bananaquit, Red-legged and Green Honeycreepers, Crimson-collared, and Golden-hooded Tanagers, Tennessee Warbler, Great Kiskadee, Grey-headed Chachalaca, and Black-cheeked Woodpecker!
The 6 hummingbirds seen in less than an hour at those feeders (which, while only a 30 second walk away from the fruit feeders, we limited our visits to only because we were drowning in photo opps alongside the bird-filled fruit feeders!); were White-necked jacobin, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Green-breasted Mango, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, and Stripe-throated Hermit!
Simply put, this is a must do site for bird photographers, and, at only 20 minutes drive from the birding Mecca of La Selva, easy to slip in between birding sessions in the jungle! I am sure this will not be the last time I see the place, as I have two july tours in Costa Rica to come. Cannot wait to return...Away from the feeders themselves, we had a Black-and-green Poison Frog hop below the feeders, and a male Gartered Trogon call loudly until we could ignore it no more and trained our cameras on it too!
More to come from the land of PURA VIDA....