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Global bal big day 2017

On May 13th was celebrated the 3rd global big day as you all may know. I like to think of it as the Champion’s league or Super bowl of the birding community, a day we some expect eagerly and hope to go out do what we love, have fun and provide data for scientific use.

My friends Karen Castillo, Andres Martin Chaves, Oscar Herrera and I made a team which we called South CR endemics, our plan was get as many south east endemics as we could, as well as those none-endemic south east specialists.

Karen Castillo, Andres Chaves, Oscar Herrera, Johan Chaves, South CR endemics. Global big day,

From Left to Right: Karen Castillo, Andres Chaves, Oscar Herrera, Johan Chaves. Photo By Andres Chaves.

Our plan was to bird Esquinas Rainforest lodge for the morning, as well as the town of La Gamba, then move to Coto 47. To bird Las Pangas sector, the road to La Campiña, coto itself and then La Papayera road AKA Villa Neily Hospital road.

We left Quepos at 2:00am and soon after we picked up Oscar we got our first bird; Striped owl.  Then on route we stopped under the Baru/Dominical bridge as Andrés knew of some Barn owls which we saw, the downpour was so bad it slowed us on the road and we made it to La Gamba by Sunrise so we missed some of the owls we hoped for such as Black and white and spectacled.

We did some stops at La Gamba before reaching Esquinas and from the various birds we got the highlight was boat billed heron as we only saw it here.

Once at Esquinas, we took the river bed trail which is the flatter, easiest doing trail and often the most productive. Here we got black faced antthrush, striped woodhaunter, black striped woodcreeper and 2 of our main targets; black cheeked ant-tanager and baird’s trogon. 
On the gardens we got great curassow which are common and quite tame at the gardens, spot-crowned euphonia, charming hummingbird, bronzy hermit, slaty tailed trogon and rufous tailed jacamar and more.
Back on the trail, this time we did the Ocelot trail and went counterclockwise, black bellied wren, sulphur rumped flycatcher, riverside wren, black hooded antshrike were the good birds of the trail.  This trail was quite slow, and it is quite steep which doesn make birding too easy. Still, by 11:00am our team had registered 112 species! not bad considering the weather was not on our side. A proof of the EXCELLENT birding quality here at Esquinas/La Gamba!

Band-tailed barbthroat was quite common at Esquinas.

 

Lunch time!

After a quick lunch stop we moved to La Gamba, we got some of the needed birds such as Rusty margined Flycatcher which is regular close to Esquinas just 500 meters before on the corral area, scrub greenlet, pale-breasted spinetail, red-breasted blackbird(meadowlark), brown-throated parakeet and more. Then it was time to move to our next site; Coto 47.

Rufous-winged woodpeckerThe first site we covered here at Coto 47 was Las Pangas sector (thanks to Daniel Hernandez for teaching me about this site), where we got sapphire-throated hummingbird, veraguan mango, Savannah hawk (thanks to Oscar’s good eye and persistence!) red-rumped woodpecker, slate colored seedeater, blue headed parrot and some more! boom! time to Move to the road that leads to La Campiña to look for fork tailed flycatcher and wattled jacana, the last one unfortunately was not seen as it seems to appear sporadically any where here at Coto 47 (there are vast wetlands here where it can turn up!).

This is got to be the worst photo of a Savannah hawk

Not 1 or 2 but 4 red rumped woodpeckers!

Now our last targets, our last minutes and our lart energy! lesser yellow headed vulture and grey-lined hawk, we drove to the La Papayera sector AKA the Villa Neily hospital road, we quickly succeeded with the hawk but were not lucky with the vulture. This also produced striped cuckoo and great antshrike which were new for the list.

 

Grey (gray) lined hawk, although this poor picture does not show good detail, the gray lines/barring on its wing,back and head/nape are quite visible and its call is different to what we are use to hear from its recent split Gray hawk.

Considering that the weather was not in our favor, and despite that some of the “easy” endemics such as fiery billed aracary and even some of the easy and common birds such as lesson’s motmot, thick-billed euphonia, slaty spinetail etc were not registered we felt we had an excellent day birding, our team recorded about 179 species which you can see on the list I extracted from eBird (such handy tool!) to that list I need to add barn and striped owls.

Cheers to Patrick O’Donnell and team who got approximately 230 species, the largest number scored for CR during the 2017 GBD!

 

Species Name May 13 May 14 May 15 May 16 May 17 May 18 May 19
Great Tinamou (Tinamus major) 4
(1)
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) 2
(1)
Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens) 2
(1)
Great Curassow (Crax rubra) 4
(1)
Marbled Wood-Quail (Odontophorus gujanensis) 2
(1)
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) 5
(2)
Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) 1
(1)
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum) 4
(2)
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 25
(2)
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) 1
(1)
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) 5
(3)
Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) 1
(1)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) 22
(3)
Green Heron (Butorides virescens) 8
(3)
Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius) 4
(2)
White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) 8
(2)
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) 33
(4)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 14
(4)
Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) 3
(1)
Savanna Hawk (Buteogallus meridionalis) 1
(1)
Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris) 5
(3)
Gray-lined Hawk (Buteo nitidus) 2
(1)
White-throated Crake (Laterallus albigularis) 2
(2)
Gray-cowled Wood-Rail (Aramides cajaneus) 3
(1)
Uniform Crake (Amaurolimnas concolor) 1
(1)
Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus) 2
(2)
Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis) 2
(1)
Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa) 16
(2)
Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) 5
(1)
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) 1
(1)
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) 1
(1)
Pale-vented Pigeon (Patagioenas cayennensis) 27
(2)
Short-billed Pigeon (Patagioenas nigrirostris) 8
(1)
Plain-breasted Ground-Dove (Columbina minuta) 3
(1)
Ruddy Ground-Dove (Columbina talpacoti) 26
(3)
Blue Ground-Dove (Claravis pretiosa) 13
(2)
Ruddy Quail-Dove (Geotrygon montana) 1
(1)
White-tipped Dove (Leptotila verreauxi) 17
(4)
Gray-chested Dove (Leptotila cassinii) 4
(1)
Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani) 34
(3)
Striped Cuckoo (Tapera naevia) 1
(1)
Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana) 2
(1)
Barn Owl (Tyto alba) 1
(1)
Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis) 2
(1)
White-collared Swift (Streptoprocne zonaris) 9
(1)
Costa Rican Swift (Chaetura fumosa) 7
(2)
Bronzy Hermit (Glaucis aeneus) 1
(1)
Band-tailed Barbthroat (Threnetes ruckeri) 4
(2)
Long-billed Hermit (Phaethornis longirostris) 4
(1)
Stripe-throated Hermit (Phaethornis striigularis) 2
(1)
Veraguan Mango (Anthracothorax veraguensis) 5
(1)
Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti) 1
(1)
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird (Phaeochroa cuvierii) 11
(3)
Crowned Woodnymph (Thalurania colombica) 5
(1)
Charming Hummingbird (Amazilia decora) 8
(1)
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl) 6
(3)
Sapphire-throated Hummingbird (Lepidopyga coeruleogularis) 3
(1)
Blue-throated Goldentail (Hylocharis eliciae) 4
(1)
Slaty-tailed Trogon (Trogon massena) 1
(1)
Baird’s Trogon (Trogon bairdii) 2
(1)
Gartered Trogon (Trogon caligatus) 1
(1)
Black-throated Trogon (Trogon rufus) 2
(1)
Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata) 2
(1)
Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona) 1
(1)
Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficauda) 2
(1)
Yellow-throated Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus) 6
(2)
Golden-naped Woodpecker (Melanerpes chrysauchen) 12
(3)
Red-crowned Woodpecker (Melanerpes rubricapillus) 22
(4)
Red-rumped Woodpecker (Veniliornis kirkii) 4
(1)
Rufous-winged Woodpecker (Piculus simplex) 2
(1)
Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus) 2
(1)
Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway) 6
(3)
Yellow-headed Caracara (Milvago chimachima) 10
(4)
Laughing Falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans) 1
(1)
Orange-chinned Parakeet (Brotogeris jugularis) 24
(2)
Brown-hooded Parrot (Pyrilia haematotis) 1
(1)
Blue-headed Parrot (Pionus menstruus) 6
(3)
Red-lored Parrot (Amazona autumnalis) 6
(3)
Brown-throated Parakeet (Eupsittula pertinax) 13
(3)
Crimson-fronted Parakeet (Psittacara finschi) 9
(2)
Great Antshrike (Taraba major) 2
(1)
Black-hooded Antshrike (Thamnophilus bridgesi) 4
(1)
Dot-winged Antwren (Microrhopias quixensis) 6
(1)
Dusky Antbird (Cercomacroides tyrannina) 2
(1)
Chestnut-backed Antbird (Poliocrania exsul) 8
(1)
Bicolored Antbird (Gymnopithys bicolor) 2
(1)
Black-faced Antthrush (Formicarius analis) 3
(1)
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper (Glyphorynchus spirurus) 3
(1)
Cocoa Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus susurrans) 9
(3)
Black-striped Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus) 7
(1)
Streak-headed Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) 6
(2)
Plain Xenops (Xenops minutus) 2
(1)
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner (Automolus ochrolaemus) 2
(1)
Striped Woodhaunter (Automolus subulatus) 1
(1)
Pale-breasted Spinetail (Synallaxis albescens) 4
(2)
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet (Camptostoma obsoletum) 2
(1)
Yellow Tyrannulet (Capsiempis flaveola) 6
(2)
Yellow-bellied Elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster) 4
(2)
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher (Mionectes oleagineus) 4
(2)
Paltry Tyrannulet (Zimmerius vilissimus) 5
(2)
Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant (Lophotriccus pileatus) 3
(1)
Northern Bentbill (Oncostoma cinereigulare) 2
(1)
Common Tody-Flycatcher (Todirostrum cinereum) 16
(4)
Eye-ringed Flatbill (Rhynchocyclus brevirostris) 2
(1)
Yellow-olive Flycatcher (Tolmomyias sulphurescens) 4
(2)
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher (Myiobius sulphureipygius) 1
(1)
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens) 1
(1)
Alder/Willow Flycatcher (Traill’s Flycatcher) (Empidonax alnorum/traillii) 2
(2)
Bright-rumped Attila (Attila spadiceus) 3
(1)
Rufous Mourner (Rhytipterna holerythra) 1
(1)
Dusky-capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer) 1
(1)
Myiarchus sp. (Myiarchus sp.) 4
(1)
Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus) 29
(4)
Boat-billed Flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua) 11
(4)
Rusty-margined Flycatcher (Myiozetetes cayanensis) 6
(2)
Social Flycatcher (Myiozetetes similis) 11
(4)
Gray-capped Flycatcher (Myiozetetes granadensis) 14
(4)
Streaked Flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculatus) 2
(2)
Piratic Flycatcher (Legatus leucophaius) 15
(4)
Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) 22
(3)
Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana) 1
(1)
Rufous Piha (Lipaugus unirufus) 1
(1)
Blue-crowned Manakin (Lepidothrix coronata) 1
(1)
Orange-collared Manakin (Manacus aurantiacus) 4
(1)
Red-capped Manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis) 3
(1)
Black-crowned Tityra (Tityra inquisitor) 1
(1)
Masked Tityra (Tityra semifasciata) 3
(1)
Scrub Greenlet (Hylophilus flavipes) 8
(3)
Green Shrike-Vireo (Vireolanius pulchellus) 1
(1)
Tawny-crowned Greenlet (Tunchiornis ochraceiceps) 4
(1)
Lesser Greenlet (Pachysylvia decurtata) 10
(1)
Southern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) 7
(2)
Gray-breasted Martin (Progne chalybea) 12
(2)
Mangrove Swallow (Tachycineta albilinea) 3
(1)
Scaly-breasted Wren (Microcerculus marginatus) 2
(1)
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) 14
(4)
Black-bellied Wren (Pheugopedius fasciatoventris) 3
(2)
Isthmian Wren (Cantorchilus elutus) 6
(3)
Riverside Wren (Cantorchilus semibadius) 6
(1)
Long-billed Gnatwren (Ramphocaenus melanurus) 2
(1)
Tropical Gnatcatcher (Polioptila plumbea) 1
(1)
Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) 1
(1)
Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi) 30
(4)
Tropical Mockingbird (Mimus gilvus) 2
(1)
Buff-rumped Warbler (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) 1
(1)
Gray-headed Tanager (Eucometis penicillata) 3
(1)
White-shouldered Tanager (Tachyphonus luctuosus) 2
(1)
White-throated Shrike-Tanager (Lanio leucothorax) 10
(2)
Cherrie’s Tanager (Ramphocelus costaricensis) 34
(4)
Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) 14
(4)
Palm Tanager (Thraupis palmarum) 19
(4)
Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata) 6
(2)
Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus) 1
(1)
tanager sp. (Thraupidae sp.) (Thraupidae sp. (tanager sp.)) 1
(1)
Blue-black Grassquit (Volatinia jacarina) 15
(4)
Ruddy-breasted Seedeater (Sporophila minuta) 1
(1)
Thick-billed Seed-Finch (Sporophila funerea) 2
(2)
Variable Seedeater (Sporophila corvina) 12
(3)
White-collared Seedeater (Sporophila torqueola) 21
(4)
Yellow-bellied Seedeater (Sporophila nigricollis) 7
(2)
Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) 6
(4)
Buff-throated Saltator (Saltator maximus) 10
(3)
Streaked Saltator (Saltator striatipectus) 1
(1)
Black-striped Sparrow (Arremonops conirostris) 14
(4)
Orange-billed Sparrow (Arremon aurantiirostris) 6
(1)
Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager (Habia atrimaxillaris) 8
(1)
Blue-black Grosbeak (Cyanocompsa cyanoides) 6
(2)
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) 1
(1)
Red-breasted Meadowlark (Sturnella militaris) 17
(2)
Melodious Blackbird (Dives dives) 3
(2)
Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) 24
(3)
Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus) 11
(2)
Scarlet-rumped Cacique (Cacicus uropygialis) 10
(1)
Crested Oropendola (Psarocolius decumanus)
Spot-crowned Euphonia (Euphonia imitans)

 

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Birding Carara National Park / Headquarter trails.

It is finally slow season to us who work in the tourism industry here in CR, it is also the start of the rainy season, and on the bitter side, the end of the NA bird migration.

We constantly joke on how the next few months we are restricted to see toucans, macaws, tanagers, cotingas and trogons, so warblers, waxwings, peeps, orioles, ducks, empids, hawks, buntings etc will be missed greatly, but oh well, I can live with that!

On April 26th, my friends Andres Chaves (socio) and Karen Castillo took the day and went to Carara National park, yes, our local patch where we go very, very often, but this time is different as it s not the same to lead a trip to clients than to do your own personal birding, our main interest was to look for the species we seldom see, but above all to play with our toys, cameras and recorders! In short, do what we love.

We were basically focused on the headquarter trails (Universal, Encuentro de ecosistemas, Quebrada bonita and Araceas) and rather passed on the lagoon trail. We were specifically looking for scaly-throated leaf-tosser,  long tailed woodcreeper, and yellow-billed cotinga.

We got to Carara at 7:15am and spent the entire day (Notice that Carara opens from 7:00am to 4:00pm from December to April and from 8:00am to 4:00pm from May to through November), soon after we entered we were lucky enough to spot a leaftosser, doing ti’s thing; tossing leafs from side to side in search for food, we tried to get some photos but despite our attempts this is the only one I could get, also recordings were ok as this is a bit of an elusive bird.

A bad quality photo but here is the leaftosser. Canon 50D + Canon 100-400 4-5.6 lens. ISO cranked way up to 3200 to at least get documentation photo.

 

One of the best things about birding Carara NP is that unlike other parks like Manuel Antonio this site is not too crowded and particularly now on slow season. The trails here consist on a series of loops, well maintained, with some gravel which allows a silent approach to birds, and are wide enough to allow the free pass to other walkers and use tripods etc but narrow enough to not disturb the habitat.

 

 

A recording I managed to get from the leaftosser. http://www.xeno-canto.org/366674

Green and black poison-dart frogs are very, very common during the transition to wet season. 

As we continued we got basically various mixed flocks where white-shoulder tanager was present, so it produced bay headed tanagers, lesser and tawny crowned greenlets, some woodcreepers, rufous-capped warblers, and more, also, we saw on various occasions small groups of chestnut backed antbirds foraging with river side, rufous breasted wrens, orange billed sparrows and many black-faced antthrushes, the last ones are common, but, today we saw at least 18 individuals (actually seen, plus those we heard) normally on a birding trip and points them 2 to 3 times then you flip the page to the next bird.

 

Call recording I got of Black-faced antthrush. http://www.xeno-canto.org/366685

Northern bentbill, picture taken using an iPhone 7 and a ATX Swarovski telescope #digiscoping. This little one was quite cooperative indeed but normally it is found above eye level and is quite active.

Gray headed tanager carrying food to its nest. Photo Taken using digi-scoping technique using Canon 50D + Swarovski TLS APO + Swarovski ATX 65mm telescope.

After various birds and hours later we were fortunate to find and group of army ants foraging (Eciton burchelli) and then we knew we were going to spend some good time there recording and photographing, however the colony was a bit small and we got basically chestnut backed antbirds, black faced antthrushes, northern barred, cocoa, streak headed and tawny winged woodcreepers, ruddy tailed flycatcher, white whiskered puffbird, lesson’s motmot (former blue crowned) and sulfur-rumped flycatcher.

Bicolored antbird, besst looked for with the ants.

Buff-throated foliage gleanner posed for the picture.

One of the at least 5 Tawny winged woodcreepers that attended the swarm.

White whiskered who?   We continued back and needed one more bird for Karen, streak chested antpitta which fortunately she got to see quite well, although we could not photograph we managed to get a recording, here a short recording of the bird calling naturally: http://www.xeno-canto.org/366688

 

We all had a fun time in the field and truly enjoyed Carara, as I always do no matter how many times I had been here, we now hope our next trip would be May 13th so we can join the global big day, I hope we can work that out.

Slaty tailed trogon excavating a nest inside a termite nest.

Male baird’s trogon. It is simple, Carara is trogon country.

food break!

Posing at the new Carara sign with friends Karen Castillo and Andres Chaves.

 

Birding Chirripo National park — First kilometer

Chirripo National park is home to Costa Rica’s highest peak, at 3821 masl, the hike to Chirripo is certainly the biggest challenge for any hiker in CR as it takes about 8-10hrs to reach up there going from +-1500masl to 3821m in one ascend! but nope, we did not do that! we covered the first kilometer that leads there as we had been looking for a middle elevation spot to offer birding trips from Manuel Antonio, and what a found!

Picture taken from the web for illustration purpose. chirripo . org

Picture taken from the web for illustration purpose. chirripo . org

Location in the country, google maps.

Location in the country, google maps.

My friends Andres Chaves, Karen Castillo, Manuel Cabalceta and I left Manuel Antonio at 4:00am as the drive is approximately 2hrs to 2hr15min. 98% of the drive is paved and only 8km are gravel road, not accessible to sedan vehicles (or at least one that belongs to you!) NO 4WD is needed just good ground clearance.

Right at the entrance is Hotel Uran www.hoteluran.com  which is extremely convenient to leave your car at the parking so you can have lunch when you return, no parking fee is charged.

Restaurant area

Restaurant area

We got to the site at 6:25am as we did a 15min stop at San Isidro for coffee and the fun began right at the hotel/park trail area, Snowy bellied hummingbird, magenta-throated woodstar, scintillant hummingbird and violet-headed hummingbird all around the Verbena planted there. Later many other species were seen such as sulphur winged parakeet, various flycatchers, warblers, tanagers were seen, all basically at the entrance.

Male violet headed H.

Male violet headed H.

Male magenta-throated woodstar

Male magenta-throated woodstar

 

Snowy bellied hummingbird, a regional endemic found in the intermontane valleys of the South Pacific (General and Coto Brus).

Snowy bellied hummingbird, a regional endemic found in the intermontane valleys of the South Pacific (General and Coto Brus).

 

Black phoebe, a fairly common flycatcher at middle elevations.

Black phoebe, a fairly common flycatcher at middle elevations.

Sulphur winged parrakeet, another regional endemic.

Sulphur winged parrakeet, another regional endemic.

It is important to mention that the first few kilometers of this trail can be done at any hour, any day at no cost. But certainly (and I know it is another topic here but just saying!) one can not simply attempt to climb the Chirripo without a fee and reservation.

The trail goes through some nice pastures, scrub and forest interior and edge, which makes it great to see mixed flocks inside the forest, but also those seen better in open areas such as honeycreepers, euphonias, tanagers, etc. It is not too strenuous but good shoes and maybe walking sticks are a good idea, specially for the walk down.

Entrance

Entrance

 

Cloud forest

streak-headed woodcreeper

 

White-throated spadebill

White-throated spadebill

We walk approx 650 meters each way and the morning flew by so quickly with little more that 90+ species. Then we had lunch at the Hotel Uran, prices are extremely reasonable and food is very good indeed. We were very pleased with this and do think that anyone staying near San Isidro should bird here, also, anyone staying in Manuel Antonio who wont visit Monteverde or Dota region area and are looking for a good birding spot that gathers pacific middle elevation species this is the place!

eBird list of what we saw http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S32558959

From left to right: Karen Castillo, Johan Chaves, Andres Chaves "Socio" and Manuel Cabalceta. Photo courtesy of Socio.

From left to right: Karen Castillo, Johan Chaves, Andres Chaves “Socio” and Manuel Cabalceta. Photo courtesy of Socio.

 

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