Location 16: Braulio Carrillo (Costa Rica)
Vast forest with limited access.
Be a Forest Explorer.
My favourite part of the trails was to the south just after the reception area.
Braulio Carrillo forest starts high in the hills of the Central Valley (including the slopes around Volcan Barva) and runs down and north towards the Sarapiqui River. Public access in the early 21st century is limited due to bandits operating in the more remote sections. Short trails can be walked at the ranger station at site 1. Trails are also available that go into the forest at Volcan Barva and La Selva (on the Sarapiqui river).
- Site 1: Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo Ranger Station Short trails run into the forest. A good place to see Tawny-crested Tanager and other forest birds. (GPS coords 10.1570N 83.9363W)
Description of Site 1, Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo Ranger Station
This site is an official entrance to the National Park on the road between San Jose and La Selva. I do not necessarily recommend visiting as I found the trails to be fairly short. In 2013 the entry fee was $10 and the bus ticket from San Jose was $5 each way.
In terms of birdwatching; I do not recommend this site on any of my itineraries because the number (and the spectacle) of birds on my research visits was just not good enough compared to other sites. However, if you happen to be driving past it might be worth a stop if you really want to see Tawny-crested Tanager as I found them easy to see on both my visits.
When I visited there was a trail on the side of the road with the offices and ticket booth (Sendero Las Palmas) and one on the other side of the road (Sendero El Ceibo). You will see references to "Sector Quebrada Gonzalez": the park is very large and has been split into three named sections and these trails are in this sector.
I saw about 4 or 5 mixed flocks of birds at various points on the trails. Birds like wrens and sparrows (which often move around on their own near the forest floor) were common along the trails. It felt to me like there were more birds on Sendero El Ceibo, which is possibly because it is longer (if you include the extension).
I saw White-throated Capuchin Monkeys at the high point of the trail to the south of the road. This is also a viewpoint so I think it is worth making the effort to get to the top of the southern trail.
Birds seen in 1 day during the winter:-
- Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens) 1x1 (m1)
- Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) 1x2 (m2)
- White-collared Manakin (Manacus candei) 1x2 (m2)
- Bay Wren (Thryothorus nigricapillus) 1x2 (m2)
- Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) 1x1 (m1)
- Chestnut-sided Warbler (Dendroica pensylvanica) 1x1 (m1)
- Buff-rumped Warbler (Phaeothlypis fulvicauda) 2x1 (m1)
- Dusky-faced Tanager (Mitrospingus cassinii) 1x3 (m3)
- Tawny-crested Tanager (Tachyphonus delatrii) 2x2 (m2)
- Emerald Tanager (Tangara florida) 1x1 (m1)
- Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata) 1x2 (m2)
- Blue-black Grassquit (Volatinia jacarina) 1x1 (m1)
- Orange-billed Sparrow (Arremon aurantiirostris) 3x1 (m1)
- Black-faced Grosbeak (Caryothraustes poliogaster) 1x1 (m1)
- Black-cowled Oriole (Icterus prosthemelas) 1x1 (m1)
- Tawny-capped Euphonia (Euphonia anneae) 1x1 (m1)
This article is part of the Nature Travel Guide and was published on June 2017.
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