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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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South east specialties: Birding La Gamba, Esquinas rainforest lodge and Coto 47.

The Southern Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica has  a tremendous contrast in habitats, ranging from wetlands such as the Terraba-Sierpe river, mangroves, foothills, the pristine forest at Corcovado National Park (one of the most bio-diverse sites in the country) and Golfo Dulce area, Piedras Blancas National park, etc, but also land devastated by the mono-culture of palm oil, rice fields and even bananas back in the day! However, sites such as Coto 47 are great for some of the newer Panamanian invasive species such as Sapphire-throated hummingbird, wattled jacana, rusty margined flycatcher, Savanna hawk, and in matter of time might surprise birders with one or two new records for the country such as the long-time-waited crimson backed tanager (if it doesn’t show up at San Vito area first!).

it only takes a look at Google map to see the amount of mono-cultures near Villa Neily-Paso Canoas area.

it only takes a look at Google map to see the amount of mono-cultures near Villa Neily-Paso Canoas area.

The small town of La Gamba is the gateway to the wonderful Esquinas rainforest lodge, an excellent option to stay “in” the forest. The road that leads there produces quality species, on September 7th 2016 my friend Karen and I went to bird this site, and as any time I come here was pleased with the birds seen. The soonest one lives route 1 and drives on the gravel road to La Gamba is a great site for the some what rare red-rumped woodpecker, which I had seen there on other occasions. Various Flycatchers, blue headed parrots, scrub greenlet, tanagers and more where pretty active there.

 

Male red-rumped woodpecker

Male red-rumped woodpecker

Now, while rusty margined flycatcher can be seen basically along this road  the most reliable site I know is closer to town, once at La Gamba town, take the turn to the right past the school (Notice the MINAE 9KM sign on your right) and drive for about 650 meters, basically right after crossing the second bridge (under construction the day we visited), it had nested here 2 years ago.

We saw about 4 adults and 1 juvenile bird, interestingly juvs looks much social flycatchers but no rusty margins but do have the yellow crown as adult RMFC.

Rusty margined Flycatcher, notice the margins, blacker face than Social FC.

Rusty margined Flycatcher, notice the margins, blacker face than Social FC.

Social Flycather, grayer head, back not as brown as RMFC.

Social Flycather, grayer head, back not as brown as RMFC.

 

Gray capped Flycatcher

Gray capped Flycatcher

 

1st bridge after turning right.

1st bridge after turning right.

Juv Bare throated tiger-heron

Juv Bare throated tiger-heron, this is what Karen was up to on the above picture!

After 2.5hrs we spent on La Gamba we moved to Esquinas lodge, the staff is always welcoming here! we quickly looked for our main target which we got easily; Black cheeked ant-tanager, although it can show up in any trail this time we found 2 with a small mixed flock near the entrance of La Trocha trail, were a pair of great curassows welcomed us!

 

 

Black-cheeked ant-tanager

Black-cheeked ant-tanager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Esquinas rainforest trail map

Esquinas rainforest trail map

After that we then moved to Coto 47, south of Villa Neily, here our targets were Savanna hawk, sapphire throated hummingbird and also the Jacana which I have failed at least 5 times already, and had not heard resent report here lately, I wonder…

 

No hummingbird nor Jacana but we got great looks of the hawk, despite the rainy weather. Located very near the tree on which it nested 2 years ago (First confirmed nest for CR).

This part brought so many memories of the many times I went there with my Friend Roy Orozco in search for these targets, last time we promised we would return to take revenge with the savanna hawk, so this photo is dedicated to the memory of my best friend, I cannot accept the fact he is no longer with us.

savanna-hawk-coto-47_1000x667

the road to Savanna hawk.

the road to Savanna hawk.

 

 

 

Another trip to South pacific CR. Coto 47 and La gamba areas.

This December 1st my wife and I went to bird-watch some areas of southern pacific; Coto 47 and La gamba, I went to Coto 47 since there were possibilities of seen the rare wattled jacana, as well as the already locally common brown throated parakeet, the uncommon yellow bellied seedeater and some others.

This bridge is located about 1.5 Km from the paved road’s end. Look here for stilts and various egrets.

To get to coto 47, once on the town of Ciudad neily make a right off the route 1st before crossing the Neily bridge, follow the secondary paved road until you cross 2 bridges, you will soon see some marshes mostly on the right hand side of the road. This is where the birding is done. Purple gallinules are abundant here as one of the plants they feed on (thalia geniculata) is abundant in the locality.

Keep an eye on this marantace species, hummingbird seed on its flowers, several mangoes came to visit nonetheless I could tell if they were green breasted or veraguan mango, notice the 2 species overlap territory here.

Look for hummingbirds here, purple gallinules are abundant here.

Southern lapwings, several seedearters such as white collared and variable were very common as well as blue black grassquits, but no yellow bellied seed eaters unfortunately. The birding here is very basic and expect to see species associated to marshes and grasslands such as jacanas, gallinules, herons, anies, grackles etc, due to the extreme heat and humidity we were there only about 2hrs.

I have personally never seen so many lapwings together than here.

We did get to see the brown throated parakeets, this Panamanian invasive is now well established in this area and often can be seen feeding of the fruits from the african palm oil plantations.  I do can say the highlight of the day was spotting a male Sapphire throated hummingbird, this rare hummingbird has been reported only in the southern boarder with Panama with some scattered views on Coto and la gamba are (4 reports on ebird only). We had great looks of the hummingbird, the combination of blue throat and remarkably forked tailed is unmistakable.

Again, we saw some females and juveniles mango/hummingbirds, nonetheless it was hard to confirm whether they were veraguan or green breasted mangoes.

We saw the brown-throated parakeets 2 Km after the paved road ended, on the palm oil fields, I suggest to do stops so you go out of the car and listen, while they might look similar to the abundant crimson fronted parakeet on flight (particularly if high up) their call is totally different.  Here is the xeno-canto link to their call.

Eating palm oil fruit

Brown throated parakeet

This is the ebird list of what we saw that day

Coto 47 Marshes, CR-P
Dec 1, 2013 8:30 AM – 10:45 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
46 species

Anhinga X
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret X
Little Blue Heron X
Cattle Egret X
White Ibis X
Black Vulture X
Turkey Vulture X
Roadside Hawk X
Rufous-necked Wood-Rail 1
Purple Gallinule X
Northern Jacana 6
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Striped Cuckoo X
Smooth-billed Ani X
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird X
Sapphire-throated Hummingbird 1 1 Male individual. Unmistakable, blue throat and breast, a very noticeable forked tail. red bill with black tip.
Amazon Kingfisher 1
Green Kingfisher 2
Fiery-billed Aracari X
Red-crowned Woodpecker 2
Crested Caracara X
Yellow-headed Caracara X
Peregrine Falcon 1
Crimson-fronted Parakeet X
Brown-throated Parakeet 4
Blue-headed Parrot X
Social Flycatcher X
Tropical Kingbird X
Fork-tailed Flycatcher 2
Lesser Greenlet X
Gray-breasted Martin X
House Wren X
Plain Wren X
Cherrie’s Tanager X
Blue-gray Tanager X
Blue-black Grassquit X
Variable Seedeater X
White-collared Seedeater X
Bananaquit X
Buff-throated Saltator 1
Melodious Blackbird X
Great-tailed Grackle X
Bronzed Cowbird X
Orchard Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 2

We stayed in Rio claro as the next morning we planned to go to La Gamba to try luck with the yellow bellied seed eater, but we had the same luck, no yellow bellied seed eater for us to see, nonetheless we did see a few ruddy breasted seedeaters. Very confident with our presence, it allowed us close views of it. The highlight of La gamba was to see a male veraguan mango, this hummingbird is extremely similar to green breasted mango and often times because it moves a lot (all hummingbirds do so 🙂 it is very hard to distinguish one or another. We had one male parched on a branch for a few seconds and I was able to get videos so I could confirm ID.

Slaty spinetail

Ruddy breasted seedeater

Red breasted blackbird

Here is the list of what we saw at La Gamba:

La Gamba, CR-P

Dec 2, 2013 7:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
44 species

Bare-throated Tiger-Heron 1
Little Blue Heron 2
White Ibis X
Pearl Kite 1
White-throated Crake 1
Purple Gallinule 2
Pale-vented Pigeon X
Ruddy Ground-Dove X
White-tipped Dove X
Striped Cuckoo X
Smooth-billed Ani X
Veraguan Mango 1 1 adult male
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird X
Fiery-billed Aracari X
Red-crowned Woodpecker X
Crested Caracara X
Yellow-headed Caracara X
Crimson-fronted Parakeet X
Brown-throated Parakeet X
Yellow-bellied Elaenia X
Paltry Tyrannulet 1
Common Tody-Flycatcher X
Great Kiskadee X
Boat-billed Flycatcher X
Fork-tailed Flycatcher 3
Lesser Greenlet X
Gray-breasted Martin X
House Wren X
Plain Wren X
Tennessee Warbler X
Yellow Warbler X
Cherrie’s Tanager X
Blue-gray Tanager X
Palm Tanager X
Blue-black Grassquit X
Thick-billed Seed-Finch X
Bananaquit X
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
Red-breasted Blackbird 2
Melodious Blackbird X
Great-tailed Grackle X
Bronzed Cowbird X
Baltimore Oriole X

A beautiful fork tailed flycatcher, they seem to be common here

After La gamba we went again to Esquinas rain-forest lodge (We were here last Nov 11th), the trails here are excellent and great for those seeking for forest interior species, including the endemic black cheeked ant-tanager, this seems to be a very reliable place to see it as we saw 5 of them with little effort on the waterfall trail.

Here is the list of what we saw in 40 minutes or so, including a new-to-me black striped woodcreeper.

Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, CR-P
Dec 2, 2013 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.5 kilometer(s)
16 species (+1 other taxa)

hawk sp. 1
Violet-headed Hummingbird 1
Fiery-billed Aracari X
Black-mandibled Toucan 2
Black-hooded Antshrike X
Black-striped Woodcreeper 1
Great Kiskadee X
Boat-billed Flycatcher X
Red-capped Manakin 1
Lesser Greenlet X
Riverside Wren X
Clay-colored Thrush X
Yellow Warbler X
Cherrie’s Tanager X
Bananaquit X
Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager 3
Spot-crowned Euphonia X

At the end I had 4 new species for my list; Sapphire throated hummingbird, brown throated parakeet, veraguan mango and black striped woodcreeper, and 5 for my wife including the ruby-throated hummingbird.

One of the great things of birding is that nature can offer other beauties to see, here a male white nosed coati at Esquinas rainforest lodge

white nosed coati AKA coati-mundi

Birding southern pacific CR: La gamba and Esquinas Lodge

On November 11th my wife and I went to bird the area of La Gamba in search for specific species which are often seen there: Black cheeked ant-tanager, rusty margined flycatcher, brown throated parakeet, and wattled jacana.

To Get here, as you drive south on route 2, once you reach the town of Piedras blancas, continue about 5 km until you pass the police station located on the left hand side of the road as you head south, take the next right once you pass the police station, there are signs that lead to Esquinas rainforest lodge.

The road to La Gamba

Once we got off the route 2 we pulled over and went out to explore the small cattle field on the left had side,we soon saw crimson fronted parakeets, a few tropical kingbirds and great kiskadee, I have never seen kiskadees, social flycatchers and gray capped flycatchers so detailed like that day, one of our target species, the rusty margined flycatcher is very similar to social FC,

Orange chinned parakeets showed up (they always do 😉 as well as crimson fronted parakeets, then I noticed there were 2 pearl kites in a tree in the distance, they are fairly common here and it is a very reliable place to find this small kite.

2 pearl kites

Tropical Kingbird

After checking the spot for 15 minutes we found a few social flycatchers and gray capped flycatchers perched on the utility wires and excitement invaded me for one second, here it is! oh! wait, nope, its just another social FC I said to my wife.

Gray capped flycatcher

Then we saw a blue headed parrot, fairly common in the southern pacific,

Blue headed parrot

Crimson fronted parakeet, an abundant species, here are 2 adults feeding juvenile.

Blue gray tanager

After seeing various common species a then notice 2 “social flycatchers flew by and perched on a small tree about 20 meters from us, but then it vocalized, a call I had never heard before from a social FC so I check and what a surprise! there were 2 Rusty margined flycatchers, a new for both of us

Rusty margined flycatcher

This photo is not good unfortunately (I use a Samsung smart phone for camera) but it clearly shows the brown on the wing,, white ring on the head and black cheeks, it recalls a miniature great kiskadee with a small beak.

These is the small pasture where we saw the rusty margined FC.

Then a few other species came out for us in the trees on the right hand side loaded with mistletoe.

Paltry tyrannulet

Blue dacnis

a glimpse of a shinning honeycreeper

Then we moved on a couple of KMs and found a few small marshes and abandoned rice paddies so we stopped as we hoped to find the rare wattled jacana.

We found a pair of southern lapwings

Southern lapwing

Fork tailed flycatcher

I really enjoyed seeing the fork tailed flycatcher, I had only seen it once before in my town, close to Quepos, interestingly Quepos is a little out of its range since is mostly found in the southern pacific and close to Cartago based on R Guarrigues, nonetheless ebird posting suggest some scattered views on the northern zone, northern pacific and southern Caribbean, I wonder how many of this reports re accurate/reliable and has not been scissor tail flycatchers.

Fork tailed flycatcher

2×1

Road side hawk

Great egret

Then we came across a pair of plain wrens who were alarmed since their nest was close, here a plain wren giving me an evil eye.

The plain wren giving me an evil eye…

…and then its back!!

Common tody-flycatcher was very common

common tody-flycatcher

Variable seedeater

Here is the list of what we saw along the road: 80 species in

La Gamba, CR-P
Nov 11, 2013 7:30 AM – 10:45 AM
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 kilometer(s)
Comments:    Bird watching the road from route 2 to the town of La gamba
80 species

Great Blue Heron  X
Great Egret  3
Little Blue Heron  X
Cattle Egret  X
White Ibis  9
Black Vulture  X
Turkey Vulture  X
Pearl Kite  3
Roadside Hawk  2
Gray-necked Wood-Rail  X
Purple Gallinule  1
Northern Jacana  2
Inca Dove  2
Ruddy Ground-Dove  X
Blue Ground-Dove  1
White-tipped Dove  2
Striped Cuckoo  4    3 heard 1 seen
Smooth-billed Ani  X
Groove-billed Ani  4
White-collared Swift  X
Long-billed Hermit  1
Stripe-throated Hermit  2
Charming Hummingbird  1
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird  X
Ringed Kingfisher  1
Fiery-billed Aracari  2
Black-mandibled Toucan  2
Red-crowned Woodpecker  X
Lineated Woodpecker  2
Crested Caracara  X
Yellow-headed Caracara  X
Laughing Falcon  2
Crimson-fronted Parakeet  100
Orange-chinned Parakeet  6
Blue-headed Parrot  2
White-crowned Parrot  X
Yellow-bellied Elaenia  X
Paltry Tyrannulet  X
Great Kiskadee  X
Boat-billed Flycatcher  X
Rusty-margined Flycatcher  2    Great views at them, vocalized. 2 Adults perched on  a dead branch close to palm oil plantation, close to small river.
Social Flycatcher  X
Gray-capped Flycatcher  X
Tropical Kingbird  X
Fork-tailed Flycatcher  3
Black-crowned Tityra  2
Masked Tityra  X
Yellow-throated Vireo  X
Red-eyed Vireo  2
Lesser Greenlet  X
Gray-breasted Martin  X
House Wren  X
Black-bellied Wren  1
Plain Wren  2
Riverside Wren  X
Clay-colored Thrush  X
Tennessee Warbler  X
Yellow Warbler  X
Chestnut-sided Warbler  X
Cherrie’s Tanager  X
Blue-gray Tanager  X
Blue Dacnis  1
Shining Honeycreeper  X
Green Honeycreeper  X
Blue-black Grassquit  X
Variable Seedeater  X
White-collared Seedeater  6
Bananaquit  X
Buff-throated Saltator  X
Black-striped Sparrow  3
Summer Tanager  X
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  2
Blue-black Grosbeak  2
Melodious Blackbird  X
Great-tailed Grackle  X
Shiny Cowbird  8
Baltimore Oriole  X
Yellow-crowned Euphonia  X
Thick-billed Euphonia  2
Spot-crowned Euphonia  X

Esquinas Rainforest lodge.

We got here about 11:00am, the place looks great! I hope I would spend a few nights here in the near future and explore the little visited Piedras  Blancas national park.

we signed up and picked up a trail map, I asked the receptionist if she knew about the black cheeked ant-tanager and she said yes, she pointed me the trail where it has been seen frequently, it its basically the first 200m of the ocelot trail.

Esquinas rain-forest lodge trail map

We checked the 200m suggested and there was no activity, after 500 meters we saw a female black throated torgon and a violet headed hummingbird

Female black throated trogon

violet headed hummingbird

We turned around to head back since it was going to rain very soon, in our way back we saw a few long billed hermits, some spot crowned euphonias, and a red capped manakin, the trail finally had some life!

Red capped manakin

There was a riverside wren calling not far from us, I decided to wait so we could see this common wren, chestnut backed antbird started to call, a buff throated foliage gleaner came to light, so I realized we found a small mixed flock, and finally our main target bird was there with them! a black cheeked ant-tanager

A bad picture of black cheeked ant-tanager

It was impossible to get a good photo (digi-scoping) since it keeps moving all the time, how ever, it did granted great views through the binoculars, this is the bird (new-to-me) I proposed myself I would find for 2013. The bird is endemic to the golfo dulce area only, and it is relatively common there.

Here is the celebration picture

This is what we saw in the lodge trails:

Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, CR-P
Nov 11, 2013 10:50 AM – 12:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 kilometer(s)
Comments:    searching for black cheeked anttanager, found on ocelot trail
30 species

Turkey Vulture  X
Long-billed Hermit  2
Stripe-throated Hermit  1
Violet-headed Hummingbird  1
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird  X
Blue-throated Goldentail  1
Black-throated Trogon  1
Black-hooded Antshrike  2
Chestnut-backed Antbird  6
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner  2
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher  X
Paltry Tyrannulet  X
Common Tody-Flycatcher  X
Black-tailed Flycatcher  2
Social Flycatcher  X
Gray-capped Flycatcher  X
Red-capped Manakin  1
Tawny-crowned Greenlet  2
Lesser Greenlet  X
Riverside Wren  4
Clay-colored Thrush  X
Tennessee Warbler  X
Chestnut-sided Warbler  X
Cherrie’s Tanager  X
Blue-gray Tanager  X
Blue-black Grassquit  1
Bananaquit  X
Orange-billed Sparrow  X
Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager  5
Spot-crowned Euphonia  3

At the end of the day we had 3 new species for us: Black tailed flycatcher, rusty margined flycatcher and black faced ant-tanager.

We still have to go back very soon before the end of the month as we did not see the brown throated parakeet and wattled jacana and there are some spots to bird there still.

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