Field Diary – Wildlife of Palo Verde NP, Costa Rica

Rural Guanacaste landscape
Rural Guanacaste landscape

On my last day in Costa Rica, we returned to Guanacaste province since a number of places were closed due to heavy rainfall, we ended up returning to Palo Verde National Park, coming full circle, back to the place where we started our explorations.

This time though we entered the park via the road rather than the river and saw a completely different place. On the drive to the park, we spotted a Crested caracara quite close to the road, the closest we’ve seen this bird.

Wildlife of Palo Verde - Crested caracara in the rain
Crested caracara in the rain

Palo Verde is essentially a floodplain – its territory covers a number of marshes and seasonal pools that attract record numbers of birds, especially during the drier months.  Just outside the park, we came across an impressive aggregation of water birds – some of the most characteristic wildlife of Palo Verde.

There were a few different species of Egret, a Little blue heron, Wood storks, some ducks and while we were checking them out two magnificent Jabirus flew in and landed right in front of us. They are quite different from Australian jabirus and we didn’t expect to see them at all.

Wildlife of Palo Verde - Jubiru
Wildlife of Palo Verde - Jubirus with Little blue herons and a Cattle egret
Jubirus with Little blue herons and a Cattle egret in the background

In the park itself, we didn’t see much wildlife. It was incredibly dry. Once we got to the river we spotted a Grove-billed Ani and a few White-faced Capucins.

Wildlife of Palo Verde - Grove-billed Ani
Grove-billed Ani
Wildlife of Palo Verde - Weaver nest
Weaver nest

And just as we were driving away from the river a White-tailed deer dashed across the road, bringing the total of mammal species we’ve seen on this trip to 30.

Wildlife of Palo Verde - White tailed deer
White-tailed deer

Outside of the park we passed by the same wetland and spotted a few Northern jacanas and Double-stripped thicknees.

Wildlife of Palo Verde - Northern jacana
Northern jacana
Wildlife of Palo Verde - Double-striped thicknee
Double-striped thicknee

The last bird we saw leaving the area was a hawk perched on top of a tree holding on against particularly strong wind gusts.

Wildlife of Palo Verde - Hawk

Costa Rica Trip Report (mammals only)

Previous stop: Tirimbina & La Selva

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