Costa Rica is greater than cloud forest with mega worthy quetzals, greater than rainforest with fancy Keel-billed Toucans and luscious Inexperienced Honeycreepers.
These are actually two of a number of birdy habitats on this bio-wonderland. They’re locations the place we make investments most of our birding time and rightly so; mature tropical forests are the place we discover the very best variety of species. These advanced and superb bio-webs are the place the antbirds are, the place quail-doves and wood-quails and tinamous lurk. Woodcreepers, puffbirds, and extra (oh my!).
Tropical forest is a should however these mossy inexperienced mansions aren’t the one locations the place birds happen. Further hen species desire the sun-drenched vegetation of open fields and different edge habitats. Not an enormous quantity, particularly in comparison with forest communities, however nonetheless sufficient to make the birding in Costa Rica fascinating. Such area and edge birding turns into particularly enjoyable in urbanized areas.
Dwelling within the crowded Central Valley, my companion Marilen and I are primarily located in an city zone. We would have a couple of small farms close by and the reward of a slender riparian zone out again however on the whole, the primary habitat is that of the trendy human form; housing and streets (lamposts included). Even so, by benefit of inexperienced areas and gardens, fairly a couple of birds persist.
Two habitats particularly enjoyable to hen are brushy fields and low farms. Sadly, the demand for housing places these remnant habitats underneath excessive stress. Generally considered as nugatory, particularly any good “weedy” area, they get eaten away by housing, little by little till it’s as in the event that they by no means existed. We hen them whereas we will. These are a few of the birds we now have seen, a few of the surprises we now have discovered:
Grey Hawk is the usual. Go birding close to espresso bushes and open fields and this tropical relative of the Crimson-shouldered will in all probability name and fly into view. Preserve watching the sky, examine a kettle of Black Vultures and also you would possibly discover a Brief-tailed Hawk, means up there, hiding in plain sight.
Preserve birding in inexperienced house and also you would possibly hear a Laughing Falcon, would possibly see a White-tailed Kite doing its “Holy Spirit” hovering strikes. Hen at night time and those self same grassy fields may host Striped and Barn Owls. Any huge timber close by? Hear for the refined notes of Tropical Screech Owl.
Crested Bobwhite and Southern Lapwings
Bobwhites persist. Not many, however judging by the whistling of their identify within the neighborhood, small numbers nonetheless scratch the bottom beneath espresso bushes, nonetheless name from brushy fields. Lapwings are extra simply seen. Examine any giant open space and also you would possibly see one or two, you usually tend to hear their loud yipping calls as they flap over the city panorama.
Stripe-headed Sparrow and Different Dry Forest Birds
We had been stunned to seek out this dry forest species in one of many higher brushy fields close to us. Usually present in a lot drier landscapes at decrease elevations, a couple of of this sparrow in some way discovered their option to Calle Viquez. These pioneering sparrows share their patch with one other dry forest hen, the Lesser Floor-Cuckoo!
The largest shock was Yellow-bellied Seedeater, a hen that appears to be increasing to numerous elements of Costa Rica. When birding or driving by its most popular tall grass habitat, I’ve heard its longspurish tune in a number of locations together with the fields at Calle Viquez.
Painted Buntings, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, different Wintering Birds
Discover a brushy area in the course of the winter months and you may also discover these colourful species. All the time a sight to behold, the bunting jogs my memory of seeing its image as a child and questioning the way it could possibly be actual. The grosbeak makes me consider summer season deciduous forests within the japanese USA, of maples and ash shifting within the breeze and this putting hen singing its drunken robin tune. My quite a few reminiscences of this lovely hen bias my notion of it in Costa Rica, make me really feel prefer it’s misplaced although it’s completely at house in leftover weedy tons in Heredia and montane gardens. The species has been flying to those inexperienced corners for 1000’s of years.
The grass additionally hosts many Yellow Warblers, Tennessees can seem too and through migration, Dickcissels may be frequent.
Warblings of Grey-crowned Yellowthroat and Blue Grosbeak Within the Fields
Overgrown fields are additionally good locations to see two related sounding but very completely different birds; Grey-crowned Yellowthroat and Blue Grosbeak. The yellowthroat is bigger than the Widespread. Pish and it’ll in all probability perch up and throw its tail backwards and forwards. It takes the place of prinias in Asia, possibly some “warblers” in Europe and Africa.
A big bunting in poorly veiled disguise, the male grosbeak is vivid. Based mostly on the quantity seen in city zones, they should be doing fairly nicely in Costa Rica. As typically as I encounter this lovely hen, I at all times take a re-assessment. Rising up in Niagara Falls, NY, this grosbeak was woefully out of vary, a hen that lived just a bit bit south of my bicycle birding grounds. Being simply out of attain turned it right into a a lot wished species, a hen I couldn’t wait to see. I ultimately caught up with it within the regular elements of its vary, one of many extra memorable being the decidedly non-urban Comanche Nationwide Grasslands of japanese Colorado.
Whereas working there on hen initiatives, a number of pairs of this lovely species lived within the vivid inexperienced grass of a riparian zone tucked into the center of a small canyon. I used to look over the peaceable canyon stream and picture Comanche and Cheyenne peoples listening to the ancestors of those self same birds 200 years earlier than my time. I look out my door and picture folks in Costa Rica from 200 years in the past listening to the voices of the ancestors of the Blue Grosbeak I at the moment hearken to, every break of daybreak.
Melodies of Yellow-green Vireos and Whispering Cabanis’s Floor-Sparrow within the Espresso
On espresso farms, so long as shade timber are current, Yellow-green Vireos sing. They solely go to within the moist season however when they’re round, any little bit of woods will do. Within the Central Valley, the phrases of this little hen are one of many precept avian sounds of the wet season. Down low, you would possibly hear the Cabanis’s Floor-Sparrow, would possibly discover its inconspicuous ticking calls or easy tune. This threatened endemic wants as a lot inexperienced house as we will save, I hope we may give it a little bit extra respiration room.
In these occasions of environmental disaster, as with each inexperienced house, even the missed locations, even the weedy fields have worth. These organic reservoirs can host a stunning quantity of life, in addition they soak up water and assist clear the air. For the sake of birds and folks, I hope we will maintain extra of these missed habitats round.