Costa Rica Trip Report - Part 7/7 - Epilogue

To: <>
Subject: Costa Rica Trip Report - Part 7/7 - Epilogue
From: "Paul Dodd" <>
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2013 21:20:36 +1100
We drove back towards San Jose and our final hotel, the Orquideas Inn ? a
pleasant hotel in a carefully cultivated and landscaped garden. Dinner and
drinks were cheap but really quite good. We arranged to be picked up at 7am
and to be taken to the airport. In the morning we waited outside for our
transport to arrive. A few Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds flitted by and then we
saw what we initially thought was a Bananaquit (which we?d already seen many
times) ? but with a rufous head. No! Our final bird of our trip was a
Rufous-capped Warbler!


We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to check in for our flight
home. We had a seven-hour layover in Dallas before having to fly to Los
Angeles where we had another couple of hours before our flight home. Once on
the plane in San Jose the captain came on and announced that there was a
technical issue ? apparently there was a warning light in the cockpit
indicating that a battery charger was not working. There was a spare one
attached to a smaller jet engine in the tail, and the engineers needed to
swap them over. Nearly an hour later and the problem was not resolved, so we
had to disembark. Back in the departure lounge and the shouting began ?
there was one very loud (and obnoxious) passenger who claimed that this
happened all the time and that there was no way that we were going to depart
that day ? he had already booked a seat on the flight out the following day
and advised anyone within earshot to do the same thing. Meanwhile the
American Airlines staff made an announcement saying (i) that the plane had
been delayed until at least midday, and (ii) there was a plane on its way
from Miami with spare parts on board, and (iii) that they would keep us
informed. A second loud (and equally obnoxious) passenger then yelled at the
ground staff that we needed a full update ? I don?t know what more they
could have told us. This then triggered the first loud passenger to yell at
him that the plane wasn?t going anywhere today and that we?d all be treated
badly by American Airlines ? so these two started arguing with each other at
the tops of their voices causing more stress for all of us. Ruth and I
decided to go and have some breakfast and then come back to find out what
had happened. We came back just after 11am and an announcement was made that
the problem had been resolved and that we would now be departing at 1pm!
Most amazingly, the first loud passenger was nowhere to be seen, and in
actual fact didn?t board the plane!


The plane eventually left around 1:30pm ? we still had time to make our
connection. As we crossed into US airspace over Texas, the captain announced
that there was bad weather around Dallas and that we needed to take a long
detour around the weather and that our trip would be extended by half an
hour. Now we had two hours to make our connection ? should be no worries. At
Dallas we joined the immigration line from hell. As we, very slowly, crept
along one of the immigration officials was calling flights and allowing
people with an hour or less to make their connection to join the head of the
queue. That?s OK, I thought, at 7:25 we?ll be able to do the same thing?
7:20 came and I calculated we?d been in the queue almost an hour, and were
about half-way along. 7:25 came, and no announcement. 7:30, 7:35? still no
announcement. With Ruth keeping our place in the queue, I went in search of
the official ? no, he was not going to make an announcement, we needed to
stay in the queue. I tried everything ? we had to get to LA to make our
flight to Melbourne ? but no joy ? he eventually told me that his manager
had told him not to make any more flight announcements and that everyone
just needed to stay in the queue. Eventually we made it close to the start
of the queue with about 10 minutes to our connection (which was in a
different terminal). I pleaded with the official at the head of the queue
and he said that he couldn?t help, but I could ask the person at the head of
the queue ? so I did, and she said no ? not because she had a connection to
make, but because she was being met ? I told the official and he told her
that she was being most inconsiderate and then asked the next people in the
queue if they minded us jumping ahead of them ? no, no problem they said. As
it happened we beat the inconsiderate woman through immigration! Once clear
of immigration we had to collect our bags, but since we?d been in the queue
for almost two hours our bags had already been removed from the carousel and
were waiting for us. We took them to the transfer desk and then ran for the
train to the correct terminal ? we made it to the departure gate but they
had closed the flight ? I could see the plane still at the gate and it was
still there ten minutes later, but they wouldn?t let us on. The next plane
with seats would arrive at LA after our Melbourne flight had left ? but we
were put on standby for the next flight ? which would make it to LA with
just enough time.


Dallas airport is much, much better than LAX ? there are plenty of cafés and
restaurants, so we found somewhere for dinner and then came back to find
that we?d got seats to LA. We boarded and departed. Once again the plane was
delayed ? first by weather, and then when we arrived at the gate in LA,
there was some technical difficulty and the plane had to be towed away from
the gate and then back again. We now had less than 15 minutes to catch our
flight to Melbourne. Fortunately there was a Qantas transfer desk in the
American Airlines terminal so we headed straight there. We were told that we
had just missed the last shuttle bus and that we?d need to run out of the
terminal, across to the Tom Bradley terminal, and then the length of that
terminal to catch our flight (more than 1km). I said that there was no way
that we would be able to make that distance in time ? at that moment a
shuttle bus arrived ? apparently the driver knew that we were aboard the
flight from Dallas and came to pick us up. The lady at the transfer desk
radioed the Qantas departure gate and told them that she had two ?runners?
for Melbourne! The bus took us to the terminal but we still had to run the
length to get to the gate (and terminals at LAX are long?) We were met about
halfway by someone sent to find us and she stayed on the radio to let the
ground staff know where we were, gate by gate. We made the flight with
exactly zero minutes to spare. We found our seats (admittedly there were
people in them, but we kicked them out!) and flew back to Melbourne.
Unfortunately our baggage didn?t make the flight (no big surprise there),
but it made it back to Melbourne the following day.


Our tally for the trip was 407 species seen of which 358 were lifers. 407
species is equivalent to about 47% of the Costa Rica list. Our lists area
available on Eremaea. Go to and click on ?Costa


We saw 30 species of hummingbird, bringing our total number of hummingbirds
seen to 35 or about 10% of the total number of hummingbird species in the


We saw eight species of trogan, leaving only Elegant Trogan and
Lattice-tailed Trogan still to see.


We saw five of the six species of kingfisher, with only Green-and-rufous
Kingfisher not seen.


We saw six species of owl and another four night birds including three
nightjars and one potoo.


Best bird is always hard to judge ? obviously Resplendent Quetzel would have
to be up there as it is just so breathtaking, but Bare-necked Umbrellabird
would also be high on the list because of its rareness. 


Biggest dip was probably Fiery-billed Aracari as we tried on several
locations and several times to see this species.


Ruth took 4444 photographs and I took 4124. Eventually, once I?ve had a
chance to go through them and process them, a selection of my photos will be
available on my Smugmug site (


On a final note, I'd just like to say a public thank you to all the
birding-aus subscribers that offered suggestions and advice when we were
planning our Costa Rica trip!


Paul Dodd

Docklands, Victoria



To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Costa Rica Trip Report - Part 7/7 - Epilogue, Paul Dodd <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU