Costa Rica Sunrise and Sunset

When the sun is going down and up, Costa Rica’s landscapes transform with color. Sometimes you see purple, sometimes red and orange, other times it is yellow or a combination of them all. Add to that mystical forests shrouded in mist, and plenty of clouds that cover the sky, and you get the most fascinating sunrises and sunsets. Also the country’s geography is unique, in that you can see sunrise from the Caribbean side in the morning, and sunset from the Pacific coast in the evening, to finally be amazed by the stars dotting the dark sky with light. Getting up early and staying late in the night to see these wonders pays off, with the most memorable scenes firmly recorded on your mind, and your camera.

Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus)

Purple Gallinules are some of the most brightly colored birds that you can see walking in Costa Rica. Indeed while they can also fly, they more commonly wade in shallow waters and in dense grass plains, looking for prey. I have seen them in Palo Verde in big numbers, and spotted individuals in Rio Frio, where they join chickens and forage in the backyards of houses; indeed I was able to see two adults rearing four young hatchlings, which were still covered in black fluffy hairs, getting along with the chickens just fine. The underside and head is entirely purple with a metallic look, showing a small light blue patch on the forehead. The beak is mostly bright red, with a yellow tip. The upperparts show blue to olive green hues, particularly on the wings. The yellow legs are long, letting them to wade in shallow edges of lagoons without having to swim.

Purple-throated Mountain-gem (Lampornis calolaemus)

The Purple-throated Mountain-gem is a striking hummingbird, where the male has a brilliant, iridescent throat the turns purple. The crown also changes color, from dark purple to metallic blue, all due to the angle of light that is hitting it. The upperparts are mainly green, although the belly is gray and the chest has a broad metallic green band as well. The female is similar but has a cinnamon belly, chest and throat, which does make it look very contrasty and eye catching. Both sexes have a white postocular line that reaches down and back almost to the neck. They are mostly seen in mid elevation cloud forests. The iridescence in hummingbird means that there is something different about each picture, even of the same individual.

Andean Emerald (Amazilia franciae)

This is a medium-sized hummingbird that can be found in South America, specifically in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Males have a violet crown, while females have a green crown. It has iridescent plumage, like many other hummer species, which changes the color depending on the view angle and the angle of the light that bounces off it, giving away colors that look metallic and intense. In general it is green on the back and sides, white on the belly, chest and throat, and coppery in the upper tail. The bill is black, mostly straight and thin. The wings are brown, but glow blue when iridescent.