We are starting off our first full day in Costa Rica with a trip to Lake Arenal Peninsula. We were picked up promptly at 8am by our driver Wilbert and guide Melanie. The weather was a bit cloudy, but still fairly warm at around 86 degrees. It was not as humid as we remembered our previous trip, which was a welcome change. We drove for about 25 minutes to the Arenal Volcano National Park path entrance. We were the first to arrive and started down the paved path leading to the water.

Along the way, Melanie started searching for the various birds that were calling in the thick, tree covered landscape. She was very knowledgable and quickly identified the birds. She, like every birder, used the Merlin app to play some bird calls to see if any of them would come closer to investigate.

Our first sighting was of a Broad-billed Motmot. It reminded me of the Motmot pictures I took our first trip to Costa Rica.

Broad-billed Motmot

Next up was a bunch of Spotted AntBirds and Bicolored Antbirds. Melanie said these birds are a bit hard to find, but we luckily were right next to an active ant hill. These birds were going crazy, jumping from branch to branch. They were very hard to photograph.

We continued down the path and I kept taking photos of anything I could find. At one point we scared a small Hawk away. We almost walked under it without even noticing it.

About halfway down the trail, the forest opens up and presents Lake Arenal.

Lake Arenal

As we progressed down the path, we were greeted by a Great Kiskadee and a Gartered Trogon. I couldn't get a good angle on the Trogon before it flew away. I was a bit disappointed since it looks to be a very pretty bird.

After just about 1 mile, the trail ended and we boarded a pontoon boat. The boat would slowly take us closer to the Arenal Volcano, which is still active I might add. The sky was still cloudy, but at least it wasn’t raining. The winds created an opening to take this picture.

Arenal Volcano

As we approached the Volcano, we saw various bird life to include Egrets, Cormorants and Swallows. 

Neotropic Cormorants

The boat even pulled up upon the shore for us to get out and walk around a bit. We saw some Red-winged Blackbirds in the grasses. We have these birds at home and were surprised to see they migrate this far.

After getting back on the pontoon boat, we made our way to a different dock where our driver was waiting for us.  He provided some cold drinks and we were on our way back to Nayara Springs.