13 May 2014

Snap-Grackle-pop! (Costa Rica) late Feb.

After the thrilling middle of the night owl lifer the evening before, it was bound to be a bit of a come down the following day, although a local lifebird was on the cards for us all. We had come to Cano Negro, partly because none of us had seen Nicaraguan Grackle, which in males looks rather like a small Great-tailed, though has a very distinct call. The females however stand out more with their clear pale eyebrow/supercilium. Knowing trying to get a boat out into the refuge may not be possible at dawn, we spent a few hours working the road in. One of Costa Rica's more local species, the Spot-breasted Wren is also found in this area, and we soon heard and saw one of these birds, which represented a new Costa Rica bird for us all. The road in also produced a beautiful male Black-headed Trogon, and a showy Black-striped Sparrow, as well as this calling Roadside Hawk.

Once we got to town and hung about the dock for a bit, we were soon approached by a boatman keen to take us out-a perfectly worked plan. Within twenty minutes of arriving we were getting on the boat, and just a few minutes later the boatman took us to see some Nicaraguan Grackles, which he had heard giving their distinctive cries. 

With the lifebird dealt with early on, we enjoyed a relaxing boat ride, seeing dozens of kingfishers-including this alert looking Green Kingfisher ready to pounce. We also had great looks at the local Black-collared Hawk circling overhead and perched close to a series of Spectacled Caiman.

We were on the lookout too for the mighty Jabiru, which has a small population in the area. Our first tries for this turned up blank, although we enjoyed LimpkinsAnhingas with stunted wings looking more like Flightless Cormorants of the Galapagos, and Green Ibis all the same. At the end of the boat ride the sun was beating down strong, although we did not let this put us off twitching a Jabiru nest closeby, and finding a Lesser Nighthawk roosting nearby too.

After a fantastic, and very relaxing morning we moved south into the Pacific North, and Santa Rosa National Park, another site which was new to myself and Cameron, although Andrew had visited many years before...

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