Text Box: Costa Rica Rare Bird Reports



December 2006:


27 & 29 – Julio Sánchez heard a Peg-billed Finch Acanthidops bairdii singing on the Sendero Camino in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve on the 27th. A bird was again singing on the 29th—this time the song came from trees near the reserve parking lot. Julio mentioned seeing lots of bamboo with ripening seeds in the Monteverde area and suggested that visiting birders be alert for this and other species that specialize on bamboo seeds, such as Slaty Finch Haplospiza rustica and Blue Seedeater Amaurospiza concolor.



20 – Daniel Martínez had a Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher Myiobius sulphureipygius turn up in his mist nets at the Kĕköldi Reserve, west of Puerto Viejo de Limón. It was the first time he had come across this species in six years of working in the southern Caribbean portion of CR. The net was in an area of second growth at about 150 m elevation.



19 – I discovered five Ring-necked Ducks Aythya collaris at the I.C.E. impoundment in San Miguel de Turrúcares.

There were four hens and a drake, all in basic plumage. Swimming in the same vicinity were four Lesser Scaup A. affinis (two drakes and two hens). Conrad Weston also reported that he has been seeing Lesser Scaup (he did not specify how many) between Moín and the mouth of the Matina River nearly every day recently.



16 – While visiting Las Cóncavas with my family, we found a group of four Tropical Mockingbirds Mimus gilvus in shrubs and pasture directly behind the convent.



06 – Luis Sandoval observed a male Northern Parula Parula americana on the campus of the Universidad de Costa Rica. The bird was foraging with about 20 Tennessee Warblers Vermivora peregrina in some trees alongside the creek near the “soda de Ciencias Económicas.”


Not far away, he also saw a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius.



05 – Leo Garrigues spotted a Forster’s Tern Sterna forsteri flying near the mouth of the Tarcoles River. Leo was doing a mangrove boat ride with Luis Campos.



03 – Julio Sánchez encountered a Rough-legged Tyrannulet Phyllomyias burmeisteri while participating in the Carara “Christmas” Bird Count. Julio’s route was the dirt road leading up past Hotel Villa Lapas to the village of Bijagual. The flycatcher was beside the road at the edge of a patch of advanced second-growth forest, at an elevation of about 500 meters.


Farther up the road, just beyond the bridge over the Tarcolitos River near Bijagual, Julio heard a Slate-colored Seedeater Sporophila schistacea singing, and discovered a male and a female in a small fragment of forest with some bamboo.



01 – Henry Kantrowitz saw “a beautiful adult Ornate Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus ornatus holding down an adult Green Iguana Iguana iguana. I watched it for about thirty seconds, then ran into the house to get the camera. When I came out it had evidently flown off to another location to eat its prey.” Henry lives on the old road to Punta Leona, about a kilometer and a half from the main highway going toward the beach. As the hawk-eagle flies, this isn’t far at all from Carara NP, but Henry mentioned that he talked with most of the guides in Carara and none of them had ever seen an Ornate Hawk-Eagle in the park. For that matter, in years of birding Carara, I’ve never seen or heard this species there, nor can I recall any reports from other birders.



November 2006:


28 – I spotted an adult female Townsend’s Warbler Dendroica townsendi foraging in the top of a tree in the garden of Savegre Mountain Hotel.



27 – Noel Ureña found a Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata down the road from the Savegre Mountain Hotel, by the covered bridge at the entrance to the camping area.



26 – Lance Barnett reported a Hooded Warbler Wilsonia citrina at El Rodeo Forest Reserve, west of Ciudad Colón.


Jim Zook had a juvenile female Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus at El Pelón de La Bajura.



25 – Jim Zook sighted a Pearl Kite Gampsonyx swainsonii between Liberia and Pijije.


Noel Ureña reported a Red-crowned Woodpecker Melanerpes rubricapillus in the gardens of Tilajari Resort (in the north central Caribbean lowlands). In CR, this species is only known from about Quepos south, on the Pacific side of the country. It’s close relative, the Hoffmann’s Woodpecker M. hoffmannii, has been spreading into the north central Caribbean lowlands in recent years. However, Noel stated that his bird was seen in good light and showed a red belly and nape—precisely the field marks that distinguish a Red-crowned from a Hoffmann’s Woodpecker! Very strange.



22 – Jim Zook again encountered a Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor flying with Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica, this time over a flooded rice field near Bagatzi, Guanacaste.


21 – Jim Zook was visiting Chomes in the late afternoon, when he saw a Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus perched in a tree. He took this photo before the bird flew off—accompanied by another individual of the same size and with a similar flight pattern, that might well have been a second Lark Sparrow! The site was about 200 meters after the houses by the entrance to the dikes on the southeast side of the village of Chomes. This is only the fifth record of the species in CR.


Earlier in the day, Jim had seen a Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii that was beening chased by a Gray Hawk Buteo nitidus near Pijije.


Daniel Martínez found five Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis (four females and a male in nonbreeding plumage) on an oxbow lake beside the road from Limón to Cahuita. The spot is by the first bridge south of the Limón airport.



20 – Jim Zook spotted a Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor flying over a flooded cane field with Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica near La Guinea, Guanacaste.



19 – Jim Zook found an adult female Hooded Warbler Wilsonia citrina in a patch of woods beside the main irrigation canal in Bagatzi, Guanacaste.



17 – Jim Zook observed a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis in Palo Verde NP.



11 – Robert Dean has been seeing a Hooded Warbler Wilsonia citrina in the shrubbery around his house in Santa Elena (near Monteverde) for the past week.



10 – Andy Walker reported a Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii in the low scrubby second growth sector at the bottom of Rancho Naturalista's grounds.



09 – Andy Walker witnessed a male Merlin Falco columbarius chasing a male Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus over the lodge at Rancho Naturalista. He also reported a sub-adult male Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris feeding in the Stachytarpheta hedge in front of the lodge.



08 – Rich Hoyer found two Spot-fronted Swifts Cypseloides cherriei in a flock of several dozen swifts that were foraging at the crossing of the Savegre River, south of Quepos. Both Chestnut-collared Swifts Streptoprocne rutila and Black Swifts Cypseloides niger were also identified in the flock.


At the summit of Irazú Volcano, Ernesto Carman and a group of birders from Rancho Naturalista encountered a Merlin Falco columbarius.


And at Rancho Naturalista, Herman Venegas had another Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmus on the Lower Trail system.



06 – Rich Hoyer and his WINGS group had a Sharpbill Oxyruncus cristatus just above the headquarters at Tapantí NP.



01 – Daniel Torres called to report that a Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo Neomorphus geoffroyi had been seen again at the Rain Forest Aerial Tram. It was still to be found at an ant swarm on 03 November, when Robert Dean and Dorothy MacKinnon got great looks.



October 2006:


During the final week of October, Ernesto Carman and Andy Walker sighted several uncommon migrants at Rancho Naturalista: Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmus, Chuck-will's-widow Caprimulgus carolinensis, Gray-cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus (2), and Bay-breasted Warbler Dendroica castanea (2).



03 – While visiting the Madrigal sector in the southern portion of Corcovado NP, Rayner Araya came upon a roosting Oilbird Steatornis caripensis!! He sent the following photos:


(The first image was taken with a flash, hence the eye-shine.)


The bird was on a horizontal branch about three meters above the ground when they found it at around 15:00.


Rayner reports that the nearest cave is about 8 km away at La Punta Salsipuedes. He also mentioned that another local guide supposedly found an Oilbird roosting in apparently that same general area in 2004.

Liz Jones of Bosque Río Tigre, upon hearing this news, wrote that, “Last January, our US guide Scott Olmstead saw a nightjar around dusk and he came back to the lodge very excited. He is a very astute birder and very self critical. He refused to look at the book before drawing it, just to keep the confusion out of the ID (good trick). And he also described it to me before looking in the book.


“Well, my first thought was an oilbird but after really analyzing, the final conclusion was Chuck-will's-widow.  But we may have been swayed by the rarity of the Oilbird...”


And thanks to Liz for passing along this link, where you can see 13 other images of this roosting Oilbird taken by James ???














For reports prior to this, please check the Gone Birding Newsletter.



Have you seen a rare bird in Costa Rica, or a species in an unexpected locality, or exhibiting odd behavior? If you have any noteworthy sightings, I (and the rest of the birding community) would appreciate hearing about them. Please send reports to Richard Garrigues gonebirdingcr@gmail.com and include pertinent details such as location (as precise as possible), date, time, and observers’ names. If you have digital images, all the better; however, please send images at file sizes of less than 500 kb.


Return to my home page.


[This web page is optimized for viewing at 1024 x 768 pixels.]