Tempisque River Tour

birds costa rica

The Rio Tempisque and its tributaries are home to a multitude of Costa Rica birds, some migratory and some residents. - Wood Storks

nature travel

I recently booked an early morning wildlife tour on the river with my visiting sister.

nature travel

We were richly rewarded. - Roseat Spoonbill

The boat could’ve seated about 20 but we shared it wiith only two young German women.

wildlife tour
There were comfortable seats and life jackets available.
costa rica ecotourism

Carlos, the driver and guide, spoke some English. - Great Egret

costa rica ecotourism

While Jorge was the spotter with a great eye. - Double-striped Thick-Knee

costa rica birds

But after living here for nearly 6 years, I have pretty good eye, too. - American Bittern

bird watching

My sister, Janna Nichols, took all the amazing photos here. - Snowy Egret

bird watching

The Rio Tempisque dumps into the Gulf of Nicoya. - Great Blue Heron

birding tours

Cutting the Nicoya Peninsula off from the mainland of Costa Rica. - Great Blue Heron

nature travel

Thus, it is tidal where we were touring.

guanacaste tours

At low tide, there are mud flats and bars, which provide great fishing for the birds. - A pair of Black-crowned Night-Herons

water tours

And nice sunbathing for the crocodiles. - Crocodile

costa rica ecotourism

Carlos pointed out “Big Charley” at least three times. - Crocodile

guanacaste tours

Soon after we left the dock, Jorge was pointing out a Baltimore Oriole off the right side of the boat. - Male Green Iguana in mating colors

birds costa rica

He described as “small and red”. - Ochre-bellied Flycatcher?

costa rica birds

On the other side of the boat, Janna was yelling, “No. It’s big”. - Great Blue Heron

bird watching

Instead of arguing, Carlos turned the boat until we all saw the pair of Scarlet Macaws –los Papagayos - high in the trees.

costa rica birds

They’re not common in Guanacaste anymore but their populations are getting stronger. - Pair of Little Blue Herons

guanacaste tours

Our destination that morning was the Isla de los Pajaros – Bird Island – a protected nesting sanctuary which is popular with many species.

costa rica ecotourism

The sight was overwhelming because of the numbers of birds there.

birdwatching

At first we saw the flocks and pairs flying over, nest materials in their beaks. - Wood Stork

birding tours

As we approached, we became aware of the stench - Wood Storks

birdwatching

which is the consequence of a mountain of guano on the forest floor below the nests. - Wood Stork nest

wildlife tours

We saw a few nests, - Roseat Spoonbill

tours guanacaste

hundreds if not thousands of nest builders - Roseat Spoonbill

birds costa rica

And more than a few fishermen along the shore. - Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

wildlife tours

You can catch a boat tour of the Rio Tempisque at Palo Verde Park - Female Green Iguana

wildlife tours

or at the pueblo of Puerto Humo, - Common Tern

tours guanacaste

about 40 minutes north of Nicoya

birds costa rica

and about 1 1/2 hours from Casa Mango & Casa Papaya. - White Ibis

birds costa rica

We paid about $40.00 each for a 1 1/2 hour tour. - Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

birds costa rica

Make reservations for early in the morning for the best bird watching. - Bare-throated Tiger Heron

costa rica ecotourism

Anyone recognize this bird?

nature travel

Least Tern?

costa rica birds

Pair of Wood Storks

costa rica birds

Wading Wood Storks

wildlife tours

Crocodile

park travel

Roseat Spoonbill & Anhinga

water tours

Anhinga

All Photos copy-righted by Janna Nichols.

6 comments
  1. Sara said:

    Your mystery birds are mangrove swallows. And I’m pretty sure your American Bittern is a juvenile tricolored heron changing into his adult plumage. The shadowy character in the back of the little blue heron shot is, if I am not mistaken, a boat billed heron. Can’t really see the bill, but the Moe hairdo is a dead give-away.
    These images are breathtakingly beautiful! Fabulous photography. Are you quite sure that all of these birds are not on contract with the tour company?

    • lavaeha said:

      My sister took those photos two years ago. Coincidentally, she is again visiting this week. She took another boat tour yesterday – I hope to have her newest photos posted soon.

      • Sara said:

        After more research and a consult with a better birder than I, it seems that the proper identification of your American Bittern is a juvenile great blue heron.
        The BBTI also says that the last photo is a group of cormorants. I believe that it is the dark neck and the bill that distinguishes one from the other.

  2. Joan said:

    Beautiful – would love to see them
    Joan

  3. Looks like a great “birding”! Wonderful photographyJana!

  4. Judy Pickett said:

    Great shots, Janna!

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