25 October 2017

Costa Rica Bird Challenge: Day 3, (14 Oct 2017)

Raptors Galore, and Owl provides opening gambit at Rancho…
Today, we continued the challenge by staying within the Caribbean lowlands and foothills. Initially, we walked around the property of Selva Bananito Lodge, with a 4am start for night birds. Unfortunately, all this produced was the same Great Potoo we had crossed two rivers for, and sweated for the night before, now propping itself just above the lodge, and calling regularly ensuring every team had it by breakfast! A calling Central American Pygmy-Owl, a curiously difficult bird throughout it wide range, was what we were really hoping for, and, in spite of the bird tooting away above us at close range, we simply could not see it in the half light of dawn. Still, a heard counted, and it made it on to the challenge list. The brevity of the walk around the property, unsurprisingly provided little new (as we did not have timer to reach the richer primary forest), aside from a White-winged Becard, and the tragic news that another team had photographed a lifebird for me in a tree we had staked out for it too to add to the anguish: Red-fronted Parrotlet, for which this must be one of the best sites in the country.
Next stop was Kekoldi Hawk Watch, which was superb. From the tower, we observed thousands of raptors making their way south for thee, mostly Broad-winged Hawks, but also Mississippi Kites, Merlins, Peregrines, a single Red-tailed Hawk, a handful of Swainson’s Hawks too, and even a few late moving Swallow-tailed Kites, one of the most elegant of all the American raptors. We also got Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and several migrant warblers from there too, while standing above the level of the surrounding rainforest. 

We headed down from the tower, snaking our way down through the rainforest and cocoa plantations as we did so, picking up an absurdly tame Double-toothed Kite, a boisterous group of Purple-throated Fruicrows, White-whiskered Puffbird, Checker-throated Antwren, and Black-striped Woodcreeper. The next stop was a treat, and involved no birds whatsoever, as we were treated to a lunch in Puerto Viejo, with a Kalypso band playing excellent Caribbean music all the while.

Following this, we skirted the coast, seeing more shorebirds, like Greater Yellowlegs, Black-bellied and Wilson’s Plovers, and also found a small number of Brown Noddy feeding close inshore, normally a scarce bird along the Caribbean coast. On the way to our next venue, the highly touted Rancho Naturalista, we spotted a Grey-lined Hawk, a species that has only recently been recorded in this area. 

Our arrival at Rancho was greeted with cocktails, but also a Mottled Owl, which brought dinner to a sudden halt as it posed right beside the lodge, and a late nightwalk led our team to hear a Common Potoo several times, before we retired to bed with fresh images of raptors moving in vast kettles over the rainforest in our minds…
The revered Rancho Naturalista was to provide the avian entertainment for the next day; I could not wait!

#ict #birdwatchingrepublic #ranchonaturalista 

1 comment:

Costa Rican Naturalists said...

Hola Sam, nice write-up!

I would like to comment on the Grey-lined. To me it is a Gray Hawk.

To my knowledge there are no records with evidence of Grey-lined in that area. Despite what the field guides say, Gray Hawk is common all along the Caribbean lowlands of CR.

Ernest Carman