Location 19: Juan Castro (Costa Rica)
Cloud forest and farmland with high-elevation bird species.
I enjoyed seeing the high-elevation birds in the hedges and fields alongside the quiet Local Roads and on the trails in the National Park.
Juan Castro Blanco National Park has a number of footpaths that are on the edge of and/or enter the park on all sides. On the west side of the park is a visitor centre (which seems to be not open to the public any more) and trails including a trail to Lago Pozo Verde which is a popular day walk with Costa Ricans. This location description focusses on the western side.
The wildlife of the national park mainly have the cloud forest to themselves because there are so few trails in the centre of the park. However, if you get up early then you might be lucky and see a wild cat or other larger mammal on the edge of the park where there is trail access.
Juan Castro Blanco National Park is at a high elevation, so the productivity of the forest is less that at lower elevations. This means low-population densities of wildlife. In particular, I find the lower numbers of mammals are particularly noticeable.
This national park is attractive to birdwatchers because of the specialist, high-elevation species and I think the birdwatching on the trails around the national park and at Sendero El Quetzal compare well with similar places such as Monteverde and San Gerardo.
- Site 1: National Park A variety of trails with specialist high-elevation bird species. (GPS coords 10.2561N 84.3653W)
- Site 2: Sendero El Quetzal Walk through farmland and other habitats (as well as forest) to add some different species of bird. (GPS coords 10.2543N 84.3724W)
- Site 3: Local Roads Tanagers, saltators, flycatchers, sparrows, grackles, meadowlarks, robins and other birds of open terrain can be seen from the quiet rural roads all around the area. The GPS coordinates are for the start of a section of road that I found to be very good. (GPS coords 10.2571N 84.3763W)
- Birds Seen in 1 Week at Tarcoles (Winter)
Most commonly seen birds during my 4 day visit in February 2017:- Common Bush-Tanager (Chlorospingus ophthalmicus) 9x2 (m2), Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) 9x2 (m3), Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus) 7x2 (m2), Yellow-faced Grassquit (Tiaris olivaceus) 6x2 (m4), Purple-throated Mountain-gem (Lampornis calolaema) 5x1 (m1), Yellowish Flycatcher (Empidonax flavescens) 5x1 (m1), Wilson's Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla) 5x1 (m1), Clay-colored Robin (Turdus grayi) 4x2 (m2), Collared Redstart (Myioborus torquatus) 4x1 (m1), Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager (Chlorospingus pileatus) 4x2 (m2), Black Guan (Chamaepetes unicolor) 3x2 (m4), Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus) 3x2 (m2), Three-striped Warbler (Basileuterus tristriatus) 3x1 (m1), Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) 3x5 (m10).
This article is part of the Nature Travel Guide and was published on June 2017.
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