A Great Black-Hawk flies through the field of view! We keep scanning the canopy and notice a group of Black-and-Yellow Tanagers moving from tree to tree, the stunning plumage of the males standing out against the dense green of the forest. More birds troop with them, other tanagers, a Russet Antshrike. Luckily for us, they come close enough to pick out one of the least common tanagers in the country, a beautiful Blue-and Gold Tanager and feeding at close range! We keep looking but no Sharpbill today, maybe that rarity will appear in the next mixed flock.
This is what it’s like while birding from suspension bridges in the Arenal area. Akin to canopy towers, the bridges provide close looks into the top parts of the trees, the places where most of the birds are. Birding like this provides a unique and rare perspective into the least studied and most diverse part of the forest, essentially making it much easier to get close looks at more birds. In addition to suspension bridges, other trails round out the birding experience by providing views into the understory.
Found in the Arenal area and anywhere from 15 or 30 minutes from most accommodation around La Fortuna town, Sky Walk Arenal is an excellent place for birding and yet another site where uncommon and rare species are possible in beautiful, mature foothill and middle elevation rainforest. Birders of all levels of experience benefit from visiting this excellent site for such reasons as:
- The excellent, well-maintained trails at this site are some of the best trails in Costa Rica.
- Unique views of many tropical forest birds. There’s nothing like looking eye to eye with a Broad-billed Motmot or a flock of glittering tanagers, eBird Hotspot list.
- Chances at raptors and several rare species. The combination of quality forest habitat and several good vantage points for viewing birds increases our chances of getting better looks at uncommon and rare species.
This wonderful birding day tour in Costa Rica begins with an early drive from your hotel in the Fortuna area. We have chances at seeing various species on the way in but will probably focus most of our time on the high quality habitats in Sky Walk Arenal. After entering the site, the entrance road passes through old second growth adjacent to mature forest with a wealth of bird species. We will likely begin to hear some of those many species at this point and will also start seeing some of them. These are birds like Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Stripe-breasted Wren, Black-throated Wren, White-throated Thrush, Crested Guan, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, and many other species.
Once we enter the trails, we will have chances at a variety of uncommon species that live in mature, wet middle elevation rainforest. These are birds like Black-headed Antthrush, Purplish-backed Quail-Dove, Northern Schiffornis, Plain Antvireo, and Song Wren. They prefer the dim understory of mature forest and the trails at this site are excellent for seeing them.
While watching for these species on the ground, we will also keep an eye out for fruiting trees above that can attract tanagers and other species including rare ones like Yellow-eared Toucanet and even Bare-necked Umbrellabird. As we move onto the bridges, we will continue to look for these and other canopy species, hopefully finding some of them maybe even at close range. Mixed flocks are regular and can also troop past vegetation next to the bridges. We will work such flocks for everything from Speckled and Emerald Tanagers to rarer species, even Sharpbill. While this species is indeed rare, this site is actually one of the better places to find it in Costa Rica. We will have this bird in mind when watching mixed flocks as well as when we encounter fruiting trees.
Back in the undergrowth, we could also get lucky with Army Ants. As with some other mature forest sites in the Arenal area, this bird magnet situation happens on a regular basis. If we come across an ant swarm, we will have a very good chance at views of Ocellated, Spotted, and Bicolored Antbirds as well as Song Wren.
From the bridges, one of the other things we will do is scan for raptors, parrots, and other birds in flight and perched in the trees. This is one of the better sites for Ornate Hawk-Eagle and several other species are also possible. Come with us to see how many quality species we can find at this excellent site!
$ 220.00 p.p.
Price based on
- Private guide for a full day tour.
- Private transportation
- Entrance fees
We can make arrangements for lodging, transportation, activities, car rental and all the fun you want to have while in Costa Rica.
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