|The birds of Poas Lodge and Poas Volcano|
The Birds of the Poas Lodge and the Poas Volcano November 2010 by Samuel Jaffe
Below is a list of the birds I saw at or near the Poas Lodge over the course of three days in late November 2010. This is a specialized, high altitude habitat, with many unique birds to see. As I understand it, many Costa Rican species shift altitude with season, and many target bird species, such as the Resplendent Quetzal Emerald Toucanet, and Trogons, are much more likely to be seen during the dry season than during the wet season, when I visited. My sightings should represent only a small portion of what can be found in the area, so lodge visitors should keep an open mind to additional species.
The best habitats for birding included the open pastureland below the Poas Lodge itself, the lodge’s hummingbird feeders, the entire stretch of the road to the Volcano National Park from the lodges front entrance to the National Park’s fee station, the dirt road through lush forest at the National Park’s entrance gate, and the National Park’s Botos Lagoon trail.
To pick up many dozens of additional, slightly lower altitude species, arrange for a visit to the nearby La Paz Waterfall Gardens, or similarly positioned forests.
List of species observed with locations and notes:
November 22nd, 23rd, and 27th, of 2010
• Black Guan
A small group observed in roadside trees, just downhill from the Poas Volcano National Park fee station. They were reliable in this spot each morning.
• Black Vulture
Souring at Poas Lodge altitude and below. Not seen further up slope.
• Turkey Vulture
Same as with Black Vultures, common around Poas Lodge, but not higher up.
• Broad-winged Hawk
Seen hunting over field and forest tops from deck of Poas Lodge. The most numerous raptor I saw.
• Costa Rican Red-tailed Hawk
Two birds seen often around the Poas Lodge and in the pastures further uphill. Both kiting and perched. Rusty red belly of this Costa Rican subspecies is striking.
• Cattle Egret
Two or three birds usually seen working the cattle just uphill from the lodge.
• Red-billed Pigeon
Seen more often in flight than perched. The Poas Lodge’s restaurant windows produced a number of good flyby looks.
• Band-tailed Pigeon
Very common from the Poas National Park entrance gate and upwards. These large pigeons perched majestically on towering snags and flew in groups in and out of the ever-present clouds.
• Ruddy Pigeon
Many probables of this species seen flying between trees from Poas Lodge and upward. Hard to get a good look without a scope though. Should be common at this elevation.
• White-collared Swift
Daily eye-level fly-bys from the Poas Lodge restaurant. Best looks I have had at this species.
• Fiery-throated Hummingbird
The most common hummingbird from the Poas National Park’s gates to the volcanoes summit. Nearly always present above canopy on Volcano trails. Best views were along a dirt road leaving from just before the National Parks gates. Probably does occur at Poas Lodge feeders, but in limited time there, I did not see them visit.
• Magnificent Hummingbird
Two males and a female were regular visitors to the Poas Lodge feeders. Often sat on deck railing after feeding. Great looks at a great bird.
• Green Violet-ear
A stunning male began visiting the Poas Lodge feeders on our last day there. Probably much more common at this altitude later in the season.
• Purple-throated Mountain-gem
Females were common along the road from the Poas Lodge to the entrance gate of the National Park. A pair of males fought over the feeder rights at the Poas Lodge Restaurant.
• Volcano Hummingbird
Great looks at one visiting the Poas Lodge Feeders, others seen visiting roadside flowers up to the volcanoes summit.
• Scintillant Hummingbird
Tiny hummingbirds. These were relatively common from the Poas Lodge upwards to the wooden roadside sign for the National Park. They did not show up at the Lodges feeders while I was there.
• Magenta-throated Woodstar
One female bird visiting flowers across from the Poas Lodge.
• Acorn Woodpecker
Common just uphill from the Poas Lodge. Mostly in the sparsely treed pasture lands. Very noisy and active.
• Ruddy Tree Runner
One or two in most larger mixed flocks. The road from the Poas Lodge uphill to the National Parks entrance gates was most productive.
• Spotted Barbtail
One bird in mature forested habitat by national parks entrance gates.
• Spot-crowned Woodcreeper
Great looks at this woodcreeper feeding in a mixed flock in the sparsely treed pasturelands uphill from the Poas Lodge. The creeper was searching for food on a moss-covered fence post only feet from the roads edge.
• Mountain Elaenia
Common from Poas Lodge to near summit. Usually seen singly. Very non-descript.
• Olive-striped Flycatcher
One bird in a mixed flock just uphill from the Poas Lodge.
• Black-capped Flycatcher
One or two birds present each morning along the road, five minutes walk uphill from the Poas Lodge.
• Great Kiskadee
Downhill from the lodge by a short drive. Along the road in a more densely built area.
• Boat-billed Flycatcher
Downhill from the lodge by a short drive. Along the road in a more densely built area.
• Tropical Kingbird
From the lodge and downhill. Especially along the road in a more densely built area.
• Philadelphia Vireo
A few seen each morning a short walk uphill from the Poas Lodge. One in the forests near the summit of the National Park.
• Blue and White Swallow
Common in the pastures around the Poas Lodge. Nesting in the roof just above our room’s windows and the restaurant’s.
• Gray-breasted Wood-Wren
Common in denser thickets from the Poas Lodge to the summit. Best looks at this species were along the dirt road/path exiting the main road just before the Poas National Park’s gates.
• Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush
Very common along the paths of the Poas Volcano National Park. Also seen lower down along the road and along the dirt path near the National Parks gate.
• Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush
Scattered individuals along the road around the Poas Lodge. Not as far uphill as the Black-billed NT.
• Sooty Robin
Abundant in the open pasturelands around and above the Poas Lodge. Flocks of these continually moved through the area from dawn to dusk, especially on wetter days.
• Mountain Robin
Common in the sparsely treed pasturelands and along the road at the Poas Lodge and above.
• Clay-colored Robin
A few along the road near the Poas Lodge. Not nearly as common at this altitude as the Mountain and Sooty Robins.
• Black-and-yellow Silky-Flycatcher
Common just uphill from the Poas Lodge in the sparsely treed pasturelands. Also common along the forested trails of the Poas Volcano National Park.
• Flame-throated Warbler
A few males each morning from the Poas Lodge and uphill along the road. Spectacular bird!
• Black-throated Green Warbler
Pretty common in roadside habitat just uphill from the Poas Lodge.
• Townsend’s Warbler
A few along the dirt road that exits the main road just before the National Park’s entrance gate.
• Wilson’s Warbler
Abundant around the lodge and all the way to the summit of Poas. Definitely one of the primary migrant warblers of this habitat.
• Collared Redstart
A major component of larger mixed flocks from the Poas Lodge to the summit. Seeming most common just uphill from the wooden Poas National Park sign.
• Slate-throated Redstart
Only one bird, just uphill from the Poas Lodge.
• Black-cheeked Warbler
Common but somewhat secretive. Seen from just uphill of the Poas Lodge, to the National Park’s fee station.
• Common Bush Tanager
Common singly and in mixed flocks just uphill from the Poas Lodge, rarer towards the National Park.
• Sooty-capped Bush Tanager
The most abundant tanager in the area. A major component in every mixed flock from the Poas Lodge to the Volcanoes summit.
• Summer Tanager
A few birds nearby to the Poas Lodge
• Flame-colored Tanager
One stunning male just uphill from the lodge.
• Slaty Flowerpiercer
Common in the brush and trees bordering the road five minutes uphill from the lodge. Also seen well along the dirt road exiting the main road just before the National Parks gates.
• Larger-footed Finch
First seen in the densest undergrowth of the National Parks Botos Lagoon overlook trail. Later seen well in darker habitat nearby to the Poas Lodge. Common.
• Yellow-thighed Finch
Common along the dirt road that exits the main road just before the National Parks gate. Also seen closer to the Poas Lodge and near the Volcanoes summit.
• Rufous-collard Sparrow
Abundant in the open and semi-open pasturelands surrounding the Poas Lodge.
• Black-thighed Grosbeak
Seen from the lodge up to the summit, but most sightings were along the dirt road that exits just before the National Parks gates.
• Eastern Meadowlark
A few birds working the wet pasturelands just behind the Poas Lodge. Many more heard than seen.
• Great-tailed Grackle
At the Poas Lodge and below. Not nearly as common here as lower down.
• Golden-browed Chlorophonia
One male seen well flying from tree to tree just uphill from the lodge.