A Young Birder’s Dream Realized: Costa Rica

A Young Birder’s Dream Realized: Costa Rica

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.

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.

Cinnamon-BecardCinnamon Becard, photo by the author.

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

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
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
. 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
, all while experiencing the delicious Costa Rican food. 

Black-billed-Nightengale-ThrushBlack-billed Nightengale-Thrush, photo by the author.

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.

LandonAbout 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.