Category Archives: News

Rufous-crested coquette at Rancho Naturalista

Rancho Naturalista as is known is one of Costa Rica’s best birding lodges, not only the infrastructure itself is nicely design but the birding here is superb and so are the great guides found at Rancho such as Harry Barnard, Herman Venegas, Luis Murillo and others.

Well, if Rancho was not great enough already, one of the 2 rarest hummingbirds in Costa Rica re-appears at Rancho, Rufous-crested coquette! According Skutch and Stiles (1989) […known from 4 captured birds in October on different years 1892-1906…]yes! little more than a century ago!

On October 30th one bird was noticed by a local guide; Ludovico Vega and photographed by a birder Beltran Lara (know in Facebook by his pseudonym Astro Natura) who generated an excellent alarm in all aspects, needless to say this caused what many might consider the best twitch in MANY years!

One thing that I must detach is that the birding ethics here at Rancho are second to no one, and while the owners Miss Kathy, mr John, and Lisa Erb are extremely wonderful and welcoming they make sure the birds are not stressed.

No flash, no playback, keep your distance.

No flash, no playback, keep your distance.

After some attempts I finally made it to Rancho on Nov 2nd to see this fantastic bird, we literally got out of the car at 2:35pm and Harry pointed the bird immediately! how pleasurable after a 5.5hr drive! I must thank Miss Kathy and mr John, Lisa Erb for being so generous and welcoming, to Harry Barnard for taking the time to bird with me on the trails!

Presumably a juvenile male, only one individual suspected to be on the site.

Presumably a juvenile male, only one individual suspected to be on the site.

 

This is how adult male looks like. This is a photo (AMAZING photo) taken by Miguel Siu, a photographer friend from Panama. Photo used with permission for illustrative purpose.

This is how adult male looks like. This is a photo (AMAZING photo) taken by Miguel Siu, a photographer friend from Panama. Photo used with permission ONLY FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSE. I highly suggest his blog http://panama-wildlife.blogspot.com/

 

I am not a photographer myself, but sure one enjoys taking photos of the hummers here at Rancho, the site is known as one of the best places in the entire country for Snowcap, and well, as of today the only site you could see all 3 CR coquettes i.e. white-crested, black-crested and rufous-crested coquettes! I truly enjoyed birding Rancho Naturalista once again, the trails are good and very productive.

Black-crested coquette female

Black-crested coquette female

 

Female green thorntail

Female green thorntail

 

Snowcap

Snowcap, a classic must-see here at Rancho!

 

 

 

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Eurasian Collared-dove near Quepos/Manuel Antonio.

Eurasian collared-dove is a common introduced specie to Bahamas and and quickly spreading throughout the USA though FL, as of now, based on eBird maps is pretty much all over NA. This specie was reported on Feb 20th by Jeff Tingle on what is thought to be the first sighting (at least first with photographic proof) on a site called finca 7th, a palm oil plantation quite far to the east of Palmar Sur, this in the south pacific.

 

Yesterday, Jim Zook was able to photograph an individual near Quepos, on a finca called Roncador, thanks to his report and kind directions we were able to get this dove on the same site, sitting on an electricity post.

 

Here is the link to the original eBird report, there shows the map to the site.

Eurasian collared-dove

Eurasian collared-dove

 

 

 

Upland sandpiper at El rey marshes

ON April 16th, while birding with Mr Larry and miss Jan Boutelle at El rey, I was lucky enough to add another bird to my life list, upland sandpiper. Thanks to the good eye of Larry who spotted 5 individuals foraging on short grass.

The following day I went back with my wife as she had not seen this sp before neither and luckily we found 2 individuals not far form the original site.

I had always insisted that El Rey is a very important oasis nestled between a huge oil palm plantation where many south american and north american migrants occur on migration, home to some common birds but often surprises with some rarities or even new species for CR!

Aweful photo, but here are 2 of the 5 individuals seen on the site

 

Purple gallinules were there too, as usual, common but really pretty.

 

 

Red breasted blackbird near Quepos

The red-breasted blackbird is found in the caribbean slope and south pacific, nonetheless the specie occurs in the central Pacific for more then 6 years now. A good population is well established at La Gallega River, near Naranjito de Quepos.  If you ever find your self birdwatching Manuel Antonio national park and are missing this species in your life list this is your place. Look for it on tall grass on the eastern side of the river, be in the lookout for tropical mockingbirds as well!

March 26th, 2015.

Male

Male

Palm warbler at El Rey

El rey is a marshland and abandoned rice fields 17 km south of Quepos, following national route 34 (aprox 20 minutes). This marshes have surprised us local birders several times with interesting rare North american species as well as 2 species completely new to Costa Rica, this time on January 24th, 2015 wile birding with friends Arnoldo Garcia and Rodrigo Villalobos, excellent bird photographers who constantly visit different spots throughout Costa Rica in search for species to photograph, I was fortunate to find a palm warbler, a rare NA migrant, gladly my friends got on time to get a photo proof of the bird, thanks to Rodrigo for sharing his photo.

wonder what would El Rey bring for us next?….

 

Thanks to Rodrigo Villalobos for sharing the photo.

Thanks to Rodrigo Villalobos for sharing the photo.

Herring Gull and Forster’s tern in Quepos; 2 lifers!

Yesterday November 11th while I was in Quepos, I checked the river mouth of Boca vieja at Quepos beach, I then notice a big gull with the laughing and Franklin’s gulls and other birds. Despite the heavy storm I tried to get some looks at the bird, then I called my friend Roy who luckily was around and immediately dropped by to see the bird, with the spotting scope we were able to get photos using a point-and-shoot digital camera and phone at least for a record.

one of the first pictures I got. noticeably larger than other Larids

Today in the morning my wife and I went back to the site at about 10:30am to look for the bird for her to see, but no luck, in the other hand we located 3 foster’s terns with the gull, a lifer for both of us,

Foster’s tern

We came back at 4:15pm, which was about the same time I spotted it yesterday and there it was again, this time though much better weather and we were able to hire a boat man to take us close to the birds, and here is the result:

A better pic of the Foster’s tern in the afternoon

Herring Gull @ Manuel Antonio birding

Herring Gull

 

 

 

Yellow headed blackbird

Yellow headed blackbird

Yellow headed blackbird

 

We got this bird for a second day at Coto 47th, it seemed very comfortable.

This bird has some very few reports in CR with the last report from the 50’s presumably. One of the best birds of the year!

Yellow Headed Blackbird and “bobolink”? in Costa Rica.

Birding here in CR has been just amazing lately, 2014 has been a year full of great birds and surprises, rarities, new species, just superb!

Inca tern, black billed cuckoo, sooty shearwater, yellow backed oriole (new specie for CR), and today Bobolink (see clarification at the end) and yellow headed blackbird. Not to mention the many other species that to my wife, my great friend Roy O and to me had required hours of dedication to get.
Yesterday an AOCR member posted an alarm on yellow headed blackbird at Coto 47 (again Coto surprising us with quality birds!) So my friend Roy and I (unfortunately my wife who is a trooper couldnt go today) went today to try to find the bird based on directions provided by Leo Garrigues and other fellow birders who found it yesterday, and after some exhaustive search we found something almost as good, Bobolink! A rare passage migrant for CR.

Bobolink, a very rare passage migrant.

Bobolink, a very rare passage migrant.

After a while we went to a well known spot for a recent panama invasive specie; sapphire throated hummingbird which Roy had not seen yet, and we got to see! Then we returned to the spot and there was the blackbird! How amazing has our luck been!

Yellow headed blackbird, this would be the second individual reported for Continental CR apparently.

Yellow headed blackbird, this would be the second individual reported for Continental CR apparently.

Asociated with bronzed cowbirds and some shiny cowbirds, as well as grackles

Asociated with bronzed cowbirds and some shiny cowbirds, as well as grackles

The emotions of getting quality lifers aren’t the same without my wife, who is so jealous, so we are returning tomorrow!

If you are birding Manuel Antonio national park or if you are staying near by, a visit to Coto should be productive, particularly during the wet season, its a 3hr drive or so.

( EDITED) NOTE regarding to the “bobolink”:

Today the committee of rare birds of the AOCR confirmed that this bird is NOT a Bobolink, it is indeed a female RED BREASTED BLACKBIRD, we lost a lifer but gained experience, now thanks to their experience and suggestions we now know what to look for next time. Thanks to Jim Zook, Kevin Easley, Leo Guarrigues, Richard Guarrigues and others who helped to short this one out.  

More about Coto:

butorides-striata-striated-heron-in-coto-47

another-trip-to-south-pacific-cr-coto-47-and-la-gamba-areas

birding-southern-pacific-cr-la-gamba-and-esquinas-lodge

 

Crested oropendola, a recent Panama invasive, one of the many good reasons to keep birding coto area

Eastern meadowlark

 

New bird specie for Costa Rica, Yellow backed oriole.

On October 14th while visiting my mom in a town called Portalón, 24km south of Quepos, my wife spotted an unusual oriole so she called me immediately for me to see it, the views were with then necked eye since we had no optics at the moment, but lucky a notepad and a pen so I made a quick illustration of what was 15feet in front of me. The I called My colleague and great friend Roy Orozco for ID help as he was home and had access to his books, it ended being a yellow backed oriole based on my description!
On Oct 15th my wife Karina S, Roy O and I went back to find the bird and get proofs, and we located the bird again and got some photos, recorded its voice and a little bit of its behavior. What a treat, we had this luck almost a year ago now (October 5th 2013) when I found the first and so far only individual lined seedeater (Sporophila lineola) for CR at El rey, a marshland near Quepos.

Life is good, the effort and the countless hours in the field had been rewarded….twice!

 

Butorides striata-Striated heron in Coto 47.

Last September 5th Johan Fernandez and some friends went to the southern pacific of CR, to Coto 47 by Villa Neily looking for the already established Savanna hawk, which there were not able to find, but they did better! they found an striated heron, this extremely rare heron (once considered conspecific with green heron Butorides virescens) had been seen in CR apparently 3 to 4 times only, so of course we had to try our luck and try to locate it following Johan’s suggestions.

We went on the 8th and were very lucky to find it. The heron was in a big pond with floating vegetation, feeding and moving from place to place withing an area of approximately 50 square meters.

 

In addition to this already successful morning (considering that we found it at 7:05am) we got some other interesting birds including 3 lifers total for me; Northen harrier, striated heron and Savanna hawk which it was time to see after 2 previous trips I did just to look for it with no luck.

 

far in the distance Roy found his Savanna hawk (Buteogallus meridionalis) a relatively new bird to the CR list, and very recent change its status to breeding resident as one individual nested there in Coto 47.

Purple Gallinule

White-throated crake

Here what we saw at Coto 47:

Location
Coto 47 Marshes, Puntarenas, CR ( Map )
Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:15 AM
Protocol:
Stationary
Party Size:
4
Comments:
Karina S. Roy O. Mario B.
Species
66 species (+1 other taxa) total
X
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
1
Muscovy Duck
X
Wood Stork
X
Neotropic Cormorant
X
Anhinga
1
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron
X
Great Egret
X
Snowy Egret
X
Little Blue Heron
3
Tricolored Heron
X
Cattle Egret
X
Green Heron
1
Striated Heron

one individual seen on floating vegetation, feeding, flying from vegetation to vegetation. Great views. Picture:
https://scontent-b-atl.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfp1/v/t1.0-9/p180x540/1610784_10204771351752239_4494610353260457902_n.jpg?oh=05ea698a71fcb85f40439e8beab85faa&oe=54A06DDC

1
Black-crowned Night-Heron
X
White Ibis
1
Glossy/White-faced Ibis

an all dark ibis flew above us, was not able to confirm ID but definitively not green nor young white ibis.

2
Roseate Spoonbill
X
Black Vulture
X
Turkey Vulture
1
Northern Harrier

1 individual flying low with wings held above horizontal, head marks well noticed.

1
Savanna Hawk

an all rusty/reddish hawk. https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfp1/v/t1.0-9/p526x296/10672208_10204775865825088_9167196283829655319_n.jpg?oh=79922b19e7a07a9ad01ca4135dadc993&oe=5491715C&__gda__=1419349925_d7581e657e56fc0ac8a825b33c946ffa

X
Roadside Hawk
3
Gray-breasted Crake
X
Purple Gallinule
X
Black-necked Stilt
X
Southern Lapwing
X
Northern Jacana
X
Lesser Yellowlegs
X
Pale-vented Pigeon
X
Inca Dove
X
Ruddy Ground-Dove
X
Blue Ground-Dove
X
White-tipped Dove
1
Striped Cuckoo
X
Smooth-billed Ani
X
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
X
Red-crowned Woodpecker
X
Crested Caracara
X
Yellow-headed Caracara
X
Orange-chinned Parakeet
X
Brown-throated Parakeet
1
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
X
Yellow-bellied Elaenia
X
Paltry Tyrannulet
X
Common Tody-Flycatcher
X
Great Kiskadee
X
Social Flycatcher
X
Tropical Kingbird
2
Scrub Greenlet
X
Lesser Greenlet
X
Gray-breasted Martin
X
Barn Swallow
X
House Wren
1
Black-bellied Wren
X
Plain Wren
X
Riverside Wren
1
Yellow Warbler
X
Cherrie’s Tanager
X
Blue-gray Tanager
X
Palm Tanager
X
Blue-black Grassquit
X
Variable Seedeater
X
Black-striped Sparrow
X
Great-tailed Grackle
X
Bronzed Cowbird
3
Orchard Oriole
2
Yellow-throated Euphonia

After birding in coto 47 for a few more hours and seeking for the wattled jacana with no luck we then went to La Gamba to look for some species for our friend Mario; rusty margined flycatcher and others, we were lucky to meet a farmer who told us a horse died in his land 2 days ago so did not hesitate to ask permission and were able to see 5 king vultures extremely close, the smell was totally worth it.

Unfortunately I wasnt lucky to get a good shot. 2 king vultures flying away.

Young king vulture

Who said birding has to be easy! We got sun, crossed rivers, walked on the mud and had suffered the pestilence of a dead horse, what a great day.

 

Right after the town of Coto we found this, here we saw a black crowned night-heron, a little out of its distribution range as it is usually found from Carara and north as well as in the caribbean slope.

Black crowned night-heron

Coto 47 is an excellent birding spot for those seeking for some of a unusual Panamanian invasive species, therefore I would encourage any birder either local or traveler to pay a visit to this place.

To get to the swamps what you have to do is drive towards the city of Neily known locally as Villa Neily when you get to the intersection of the town (on route 2) where there is a red light/stop light here make a right and follow the secondary paved road that leads to Laurele, on your way you will pass a big police station on your left, a few hundred meters you will pass what seemed to be the liquoir company on your left, and later the town of Coto 47, continue until the end of the paved road, as it turns into a gravel road continue until you find a 1 old formerly train bridge, then continue the next 2Km and you will get to the second old train bridge, the soonest you cross it you will see the swaps on your right.

And yes, we got Rusty margined flycatcher for Mario.

The team! from left to right, me, my wife Karina, Mario Brenes and Roy Orozco

 

 

 

 

 

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