Hotel Robledal

The Hotel Robledal is about 20 minutes from the airport, along the narrow back streets of San Jose. Open fronted markets, barber shops, and houses blurred past as the hotel shuttle made it’s way in streets full of motorbikes, people, and dogs.

I had arrived in Costa Rica a day early before my birding tour started and I hoped the birding was good from the hotel grounds. I had already seen blue and white swallows circling above the roads.

Within minutes of arrival at the Robledal, I was birding the grounds, turning up a few old Texas friends, the great kiskadee, long-tailed grackle, and the National Bird of Costa Rica,  clay-colored thrush. To these I added social and boat-billed flycatcher. I scanned the skies hoping to see a raptor, perhaps a laughing falcon but they only yielded black vultures.

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A poolside clay-colored thrush, National Bird of CR, at the Hotel Robledal.

These familiar birds where joined by others that remained unidentified. Two of which were hummingbirds that did not sit still long enough to observe details. I was able to id a Hoffman’s woodpecker that was working it’s way up a trunk and the stunning rufous-naped wrens were practically a yard bird here. Our guide dubbed these birds “rapper wrens” for their songs. A white-winged dove was sitting on a nest and some Inca doves were in the process of building theirs. Beyond the back fence, a  melodious blackbird was tending eggs on a stick nest while a nearby snag was always bearing the fruits of tropical birds. None was as stunning as the two parrots that visited in the late afternoons and early mornings.

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A pair of yellow-naped Amazons in the snag in the back garden of Hotel Robledal.

During diner I sat down with some of the family that owned the Robledal to watch the Costa Rica National Team play French Guiana in the Gold Cup. Fútbol or soccer as we call it, is the national obsession in CR, where every town of any size has a fútbol pitch. In the second half Marco Ureña was subbed on and one of brothers turned to me and said, “You see that player? He lives down the street from me.”

Costa Rica is a small country, full of birds and fútbol!

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