Costa Rica: Day Six. Arenal Observatory Lodge. Birds, Butterflies And Spider Monkeys

Costa Rica: Day Six. Arenal Observatory Lodge. Birds, Butterflies And Spider Monkeys

Costa Rica Day Six Arenal Observatory Lodge birding hike scenery (13 of 14)
Previous Post
Next Post

I had seen many beautiful  tropical and migratory birds, wildlife, exotic flowers and plants  during four day stay at the Arenal Observatory Lodge in Costa Rica.  I am sure I would have seen more  if we didn’t have the daily steady rains. And  it was difficult to discover where the birds were in the many acres of gardens, fields and rainforest surrounding the lodge. On my hikes at home in Northeastern Pennsylvania I am very familiar where the  birds, bear, snakes and other wildlife   live. Not here at the lodge.  So, on Wednesday morning I signed up for a guided bird tour.   It was $100 and was worth it. The tour began  at the lodge front desk at 6a.m.  It was another cloudy day when I awoke, and the volcano was again shrouded in clouds.

When I arrived at the front desk I met my guide Raul.  I was happy to  learn there would only be three of us on the tour, myself and a pleasant couple from Minnesota. Raul  immediately spotted  a pair of yellow-throated toucans in the trees near the lodge parking lot.

He also saw  this flock of birds flying high overhead  in the overcasts skies. He said they would be flying from Arenal Lake and wasn’t sure if they were anhingas  or cormorants. He later confirmed, from other guides, that they were anhingas. I love seeing these “snake” birds on my visits to the Florida Everglades.

We walked toward the gardens surrounding the lodge and on the was saw a number of birds high in the treetops or in the lush vegetation along the trail, including a hepatic tanager.

and this beautiful rufous tailed jacamar. It resembles a  hummingbird  with it’s long bill. It was a beautiful bird but, unfortunately, it was  deep in the vegetation and I couldn’t get any better photos.

As we walked through   the gardens where Raul continued to point out birds and we learned so much about the flora, fauna and geology of the rainforest surrounding the volcano.  He told us about the Caribbean pines and eucalyptus trees and how and why they were imported to Costa Rica.

High in the treetops Raul was able to see this white-crowned parrot another lifer for me.

A flock of orange chinned parakeets flew overhead.

Beautiful tropical flowers bloomed in the gardens, including this spider lily and

this orchid.

We left the gardens and followed the Hormiga Trail into the rainforest.

We didn’t see many birds on our walk through the rainforest but we learned so much about  many birds that do live here. And we saw some spider monkeys in the treetops.

We walked back out of the rain forest where we saw these cacao plants with pods that produce chocolate.

The sun was now shinning as we made our way back to the observation deck.The Arenal Volcano was again visible under the clear skies.

On the deck we observed the many birds that are attracted to the fruit feeders, including red-legged  honeycreepers, and

collared aracaris.

The two hour hike went fast and we learned so much. Raul had showed and taught  us so much about the birds that live in the rainforest around the lodge. It was now 8 a.m. and I enjoyed another hearty breakfast before   I  then continued my exploration of the many trails at the lodge. Here is a link to  a gallery with some more photos from my morning birding hike. Costa Rica Day Six. Arenal Observatory Lodge birding hike, January 10 2024.

The skies had cleared, and after a short break, I again  explored the trails around the lodge, this time walking down the steep steps of  the Old Lava or River  Trail. It was mid morning now and now a lot of bird activity even in the shade of the rainforest.

I did see this hummingbird. I  am not sure but I think it is either a female racket-tailed or  a black-crested coquette, a new lifer for if it is.

I followed the  steep trail down to the Los  Monos Trail. This short trail is situated on the side of a ridge overlooking a valley of thick trees and tropical vegetation below.

I followed the trail to the El Saino Trail another heavily forested trail that takes you through a primary rainforest woodland

I walked past an occasional tropical flower blooming  along the trail.

Unfortunately the only bird I saw was this juvenile sun wren .

I hiked back up the trail and meandered through the beautiful gardens of the lodge,

seeing the some of the many usual birds that feed there, including palm tanagers,

bay headed tanagers,

brown rufous hummingbirds, and this scaly breasted  hummingbird.

Although the late morning sun diminished the bird activity there were a lot of colorful tropical butterflies visiting the flowers in the gardens, including I believe a smooth banded sister butterfly,

I believe an Isabella’s heliconian butterfly

and a lot of white-angled sulphur butterflies.

I left the gardens and hiked to the shade of the tall trees on the Waterfall  Trail.

Here,  in the cooler rainforest, I saw this bright rumped attila another lifer for me,

and  this white breasted wood wren.

I walked to the trail that would take you down to the waterfall and turned back. I returned to my room, after I had walked about 4 more miles in the early afternoon Here is a link to  a gallery with some more photos from my late morning  hike around the lodge . Costa Rica Day Six. Arenal Observatory Lodge  hikes, January 10 2024.

I rested in the mid-day hear, editing photos and checking e-mails from my office.  I had walked over six miles but I was in Costa Rica and decided to take one more late afternoon walk. It was still mostly clear as I walked though the gardens,

and past the swimming pool, which I did not use once during my stay.

I again walked down to the Waterfall Trail hoping to see some more exotic birds , all I saw was this summer tanager, and,

this squirrel. It was eating something,

  and I soon learned it was some of the many mushrooms growing along the trail.

I hiked down the trail,

seeing a lot more mushrooms growing on the dead tree branches and stumps along the trail.

This was the first day on my stay I saw the sun close to setting in the western sky.

I walked back to the gardens as the sun was setting, out of view behind the mountains in the distance. I didn’t see much wildlife but it was another quiet and peaceful walk in the rainforest of Costa Rica. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my afternoon hike. Costa Rica Day Six Arenal Observatory Lodge afternoon hike January 10 2024. 

It was near dinner so I showered and rushed to the restaurant for my 6 p.m. reservation. On the way I saw this katydid who would soon be serenading me as I fell asleep.

I had a nice meal of seafood risotto, with chocolate ice cream for dessert. I was back in my room listening to the sounds of the rainforest and planning my hike on the 1968 Trail  in the Arenal Volcano National Park early the next morning.

“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.”
― William Shakespeare

This is my first post