This blog post is a contribution from Benjamin Freeman of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY, USA. He and his colleague Alexa were at Finca Rosa Blanca and Lapa Rios Eco Lodge in November of 2014. Here is some of their impressions and bird lists.
The Osa Peninsula is one of Costa Rica’s top birdwatching destinations, and Lapa Rios is located in an ideal position for the visiting birdwatcher who desires to stay in sustainable luxury. Gaudy Scarlet Macaws are a daily sight on the grounds of Lapa Rios, hawks soar at eye level at the restaurant, and an array of colorful parrots, hummingbirds, toucans, trogons, woodpeckers and euphonias can be seen around the cabins.
Multiple trails traverse the beautiful primary rainforest on the hotel grounds, where forest-dwelling tinamous, woodcreepers, antbirds, antthrushes, antshrikes, leaftossers and flycatchers can be spotted. Morning excursions to nearby mangroves, secondary forests and wetlands allow visiting birders to see over 150 species in a typical 4 night stay with morning birding trips and afternoons devoted to pure relaxation.
But more than the quantity of the birds on the Osa is the quality. Two of Costa Rica’s three endemic species, Mangrove Hummingbird and Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager, are found on the Osa (with the rainforest trails at Lapa Rios are an especially good site to observe the Ant-Tanager), while an array of species found only in the lowlands of the southern Pacific slope of Costa Rica and adjacent Panama can be spotted, with the incredible Yellow-billed and Turquoise Cotingas especially sought-after by birdwatchers.
The allure of the Osa is the allure of the wild: the large protected forests on the peninsula harbor species that have disappeared from other, more populated areas. Trail cameras have documented jaguars prowling along Lapa Rios’ trail system, while Spider, Squirrel and Howler Monkeys spend their days on hotel grounds. Scarlet Macaws feed on almendra trees while King Vultures soar overhead and Bottlenose Dolphins and Humpback Whales navigate the waters below. The pristine rainforests of the Osa Peninsula are one of the last refuges within Costa Rica for species such as the Crested Eagle. Though visitors are unlikely to spot species as rare as jaguars and large eagles, it is a special treat to walk in the primeval forests where these species persist.
Osa Peninsula bird highlights: Costa Rica endemics (found only in Costa Rica): Mangrove Hummingbird, Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager.
South Pacific lowlands specialties (found only on the southern Pacific slope of Costa Rica and adjacent western Panama): Costa Rican Swift, Charming Hummingbird, Baird’s Trogon, Golden-naped Woodpecker, Black-hooded Antshrike, Turquoise and Yellow-billed Cotingas, Orange-collared Manakin, Riverside Wren, Cherrie’s Tanager and Spot-crowned Euphonia.
Other exciting bird species include: Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Boat-billed Heron, King Vulture, Mangrove Black Hawk, White Hawk, Uniform Crake, Scarlet Macaw, Crested Owl, Stripe-throated Hermit, Blue-throated Goldentail, Blue-crowned Motmot, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Black-mandibled Toucan, Rufous-winged Woodpecker, Black-faced Antthrush, Scaly-throated Leaftosser, Black-striped Woodcreeper, Bicolored and Chestnut-backed Antbirds, Rufous Mourner, Paltry Tyrannulet, Eye-ringed Flatbill, Rufous Piha, Red-capped and Blue-crowned Manakins, Tawny-crowned Greenlet, Green Shrike-vireo, Black-bellied Wren, White-throated Robin, Golden-hooded Tanager, Shining, Red-legged and Green Honeycreepers, White-throated Shrike-Tanager, Orange-billed Sparrow, Scarlet-rumped Cacique and Yellow-crowned and White-vented Euphonias.
Lapa Rios Eco Lodge is part of the Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.