Where to Watch Birds in Costa Rica
By Barrett Lawson – Christopher Helm 2010 – ISBN 9781408125120Costa Rica is famed for its rich diversity of wildlife. More than 820 species occur in this small country and almost a third of the country is protected in reserves.

It is not only a small country with a good infrastructure but also has several very different habitat and climatic regions leading to very diverse species according to locality. Moreover, Costa Rica is high on many European and North American birders list of places they want to bird and is somewhere increasingly seen as a place where you can ‘go it alone’. So the need for a ‘Where to Watch…’ guide was overdue.

This superb new guide features 53 top birding locations throughout the country, grouped into six regions that reflect avian distribution in Costa Rica. Each site includes a general introduction and access directions, with many maps and lists of target species. Eight sample itineraries will help plan a visit to the country, and a complete checklist includes abundance ratings. Information is also included about the best locations to find endemics and other sought-after species.

Barrett Lawson is a graduate of Bowdoin College and lives in Costa Rica and clearly knows its reserves and birds very well and the lists for sites is very comprehensive and extremely appetizing.

My one substantive criticism is the lack of site details… whereas directions are given to the sites one really needs some visual guidance of the sites once one gets there. Nevertheless, this is a great addition to one’s shelves and sure to go into the bag if you are lucky to be heading for this neotropical wonderland.