Lomas de Barbudal Biological Reserve is part of the Tempisque Conservation Area in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica. Protecting 2,279 hectares of tropical dry forest, this off-the-beaten-path reserve (even for birders) made for a tranquil afternoon of birding.
Highlights included Common Ground-Dove, Canivet’s Emerald, Steely-vented Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Orange-fronted Parakeet, White-fronted Parrot, Greenish Elaenia, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Banded Wren, White-lored Gnatcatcher, Olive Sparrow, and Rufous-capped Warbler.
Curú National Wildlife Refuge is a privately owned reserve on the tip of the Nicoya Penninsula. It is part of a large farm which combines sustainable agriculture and forest management with the protection of wildlife and nature. The entire property encompasses 1,496 hectares, of which 1,100 hectares (75%) are protected forest and 312 hectares (20%) are used for grazing and agriculture. The actual “wildlife refuge” comprises only 5% (84 hectares) of the property, protecting a variety of habitats including tropical dry and moist forests, mangroves, and beaches.
This variety of habitats makes for great birding. I was particularly excited to hear a Three-wattled Bellbird calling during my first afternoon in the reserve.
Some of the other highlights here included Common Ground-Dove, Striped Cuckoo, King Vulture, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Blue-throated Goldentail, Elegant Trogon, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Collared Forest-falcon, Orange-fronted Parakeet, White-fronted Parrot, Scarlet Macaw, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Ruddy Woodcreeper, Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Greenish Elaenia, Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, Nutting’s Flycatcher, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Long-tailed Manakin, Rose-throated Becard, White-throated Magpie-Jay, Banded Wren, Rufous-and-white Wren, Mangrove Vireo, White-lored Gnatcatcher, Stripe-headed Sparrow, Olive Sparrow, Scrub Euphonia, Worm-eating Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Rufous-capped Warbler, and Gray-headed Tanager.
On my way to and from the Nicoya Penninsula, I also had a chance to do some birding in the Gulf of Nicoya from the Puntarenas/Paquera ferry. The uncontested highlight of my birding from the ferry was a Masked Booby! (See the eBird checklist for evidentiary photos.) I also saw Laughing Gull, Black Tern, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Royal Tern, Elegant Tern, and Brown Booby.