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Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in Animals, Birds | 8 comments

My Favorite Photos From 2013 – The Birds

My Favorite Photos From 2013 – The Birds

As 2013 draws to a close, I wanted to create a couple of blog posts of my favorite pictures that I have taken since moving to Costa Rica in June of this year. This post profiles my favorite bird photos. They might not be the very best of photos but there is something in each of them that I find appealing; it may be the sense of wonder I had when I took them or just a unique view of something ordinary but each of these pictures have weaseled their way into my heart. I hope you like them.

Photography is for the Birds

Costa Rica is a mecca for the birder. Over 800 bird species have been recorded with the large majority of those birds being resident in Costa Rica. I love photographing birds. It is challenging and frustrating and when you get a good shot it is exciting. Here are some of my favorites from this year.

Clay Colored Thrush

The Clay Colored Thrush is Costa Rica’s National Bird. This one is singing his heart out.

The most common bird I see in the Central Valley is the Kiskadee or the Fly-Catcher. The one in the sequence below was snapped at our first home in Costa RIca. This guy was diving into the pool, either for bugs or for his bath, I am not sure. If you look closely at the middle picture you will see him completely submerged. This is an example of a not so great photo that I just love.

Kiskadee diving into a pool

Another Kiskadee - This one in the rain.

Another Kiskadee – This one in the rain.

Another common bird sometimes seen, but mostly heard, in the Central Valley is the Crimson Fronted Parakeet. At first I mistook these squawkers for Parrots but I was corrected.

Crimson Fronted Parakeet

Crimson Fronted Parakeet

One of the things I am coming to love about Costa Rica is the sheer amount and variety of hummingbirds. I have not mastered the art of getting the shot while they are flying but when they are sitting still (which is not very frequently) I can get a decent picture.





I love those few times I can get a good shot off of a bird in flight. The photo below is an example of that. I am not sure what the bird is but I like the photo.

Bird in Flight


I hope you enjoyed the photos. Next week I will post my favorite mammal pictures of the year.

Feliz Navidad,










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Greg Seymour is a quitter. At 41 Greg and his wife Jen quit their jobs, sold damn near everything they owned and became Intentionally Unemployed and retired early to Costa Rica.
In addition to writing on this blog, Greg has written for other online publications and has written two popular books about living in Costa Rica:
Greg Seymour Amazon Author Page

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  1. Your crimson fronted parakeets are indeed parrots. Parrots is a broad term for birds with a hook bill and four toes, two facing front, two facing back. A budgie is also a parrot. I have enjoyed sharing my home with several kinds of parrots over time…a Greenwing Macaw, a Hans Macaw, a Severe Macaw, a Goffin cockatoo, and a Congo African Grey and belonged to the York Region Parrot Club before coming south to Belize (onward to Ecuador in February).
    Your photos are wonderful. My husband has become what he calls a “nature nerd” since we moved south and loves to take photos of the flora and fauna. We post our travels and photos to our Facebook page “Keeping up with the Inesons”
    Janet Ineson

    • Wow – thanks for the great information (and reading the post). I am really enjoying the variety of wildlife here. Identifying the birds is a challenge as getting a good shot of them. I guess I’ll keep practicing both.

  2. Great photos! Next up: start collecting sounds of the bird calls. I miss hearing the toucans.

    • Funny – I just heard the sound of a toucan over the weekend. Now I can identify the chirp of a hummingbird, the squawk of a parakeet, the laugh of a woodpecker, whatever it is the sound a kiskadee makes and the now the toucan.

  3. Nice pictures Greg. What camera and lens do you usually use? Do you feed the hummingbirds?

    • Hi James,

      I have a Nikon D5100 and the most used lens is a 55-300. I have several others but to get close and be relatively fast this one does the trick. No I don’t feed the hummingbirds. The flowers do a great job of attracting them.

      Thanks for the comment and compliment.


  4. Hi Gregorio,

    I have stumbled across you blog which i love and have begun following. CR is a place my boyfriend and i have discussed visiting for years now, and have decided to shoot for moving to in the future (hopefully the near future). Luckily for us we both havent bought our first home and have instead decide to move towards each buying investment properties which we know we can do in the near future to provide income for when we move out the the US eventually. We’re in alaska and fortunately we can do this for being young with many properties being cheap compared to the lower 48. Your blogs are fun reads and i hope to enjoy the CR lifestyle eventually. Keep up the photography! i can tell you have an eye for it. I enjoy photography myself. If you want to get that that humming bird picture, depending on your camera, what you want to do is set 2 things- your ISO (f-stop) and your shutter speed. Your iso controls the amount of light that gets taken in for your shots. Lower number like a f 2.8 (if your lens can go to that) will mean your lens is open wide, flooding in light. Higher numbers close your lens more making darker pictures if its really bright outside and your picture are coming out too exposed. Match a lower ISO number with a fast shutter speed like 1200 (meaning 1200ths of a second) should allow a well lit picture with frozen fast actions. Your shutter speed also controls the amount of light coming into your camera too. Of course these need to be adjusted weather your in shade or its cloudy, but shouldnt need too much adjusting. ISO and speed always work together. Btw, your fstop can be adjusted by the ring on the lens that have numbers on it. If you’re shooting at night without a flash with good streelights – or if set on a tripod, you would want to slow your shutter speed to a smaller number (too slow like 1/10 sec you might want something to steady or you’ll have a shaky picture) and of course adjust your shutter speed to wider iso like a 2.8 or whatever yours reaches. If you play around with it it is very easy to pick up and learn. You’ll be surprised at the difference it’ll make with your photos. .. and hopefully we’ll see them too 🙂 another thing to add- lower iso numbers means the background will be more out of focus and your subject will be whats in focus..Higher numbers like f 22 will mean everything will be sharp and in focus. Keep the blogs coming and thanks for sharing your experiences. Hopefully we get to make it there and escape our cold winters this year to explore our future home 🙂


    • Hi Nicole,

      Thanks for reading…and the tips! Sounds like you guys have a good plan. I wish you luck.



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