December will not be the best month for chook counts, no less than not in Costa Rica. Sure, we do have heat, tropical climate and a flowery assortment of resident and wintering species. Neither is there any trudging via snow looking for additional hardy species or visits to feeders with the hope of discovering a grackle or Purple-winged Blackbird that did not fly south. Nonetheless, in Costa Rica, regardless of being splendidly heat in December, the birding isn’t as simple as one may anticipate.
You see, December can be when chilly fronts are likely to soak the Caribbean facet of the nation. Whereas heavy rains can’t examine with blizzards or the dearth of species within the frozen lands, fixed rain does current challenges to chook counts. Even so, we nonetheless handle to discover a heck of plenty of birds, even on counts the place fixed rain may be very a lot anticipated.
One such occasion is the chook rely at Arenal, a day usually replete with various levels of rain. The moist climate is anticipated and but this yr, maybe as a result of the rely was held a bit later than traditional, we lucked out with a sizzling, sunny day! Given the rain dodging we have now needed to do on previous Arenal bird counts, I admit that it was a bit unusual to defend the eyes from goold previous helios whereas searching for warblers within the cover. It was bizarre to place ourselves with the solar behind our backs so we may get higher seems at dozens of low flying swifts. It was a pleasant change from needing to plan the rely day round when and the place the rain would fall.
Possible due to different chook counts being held across the identical time, we had fewer members in 2022. This not noted of a route or two and should have contributed to a decrease general species whole than anticipated however we nonetheless managed to report greater than 300 species, we nonetheless noticed a number of nice birds on a memorable day of birding in the Arenal area.
These had been a number of the highlights.
The Rely Assembly
The night earlier than the rely takes place, we at all times have a gathering. This can be a mini occasion replete with espresso, pastries, and some distributors promoting tremendous cool chook artwork, shirts, earrings, and posters. A few displays had been additionally given; one by Diego Quesada of Birding Experiences relating to rely routes, and one other given by Juan Diego Vargas of Lifer Tours that offered attention-grabbing and novel details about the rely species, the Keel-billed Motmot. This latter speak was glorious, Marilen and I had been sorry to have to depart early so we may have sufficient supper time and early loads of sleep earlier than an extended day of birding.
This mega lastly made it onto a rely day record when two had been seen by native information Beto Palma at a big ant swarm at Pocosol within the Kids’s Everlasting Rainforest.
All doable quail-doves had been discovered. After we take note of the sneaky, shy nature of those stunning little doves, that is fairly the accomplishment. These species could be:
- Ruddy Quail-Dove- a chook of humid lowland and foothill habitats not encountered fairly often round Arenal.
- Violaceous Quail-Dove– a uncommon and elusive chook that might flip up however isn’t anticipated. This was one we discovered and possibly the very best species of the rely.
- Chiriqui Quail-Dove– a chook of center elevation habitats. Not less than one was recorded by the courageous people who trekked up and into the humid forests of Cerro Perdidos.
- Purplish-backed Quail-Dove– A foothill species and the one most anticipated at a number of websites close to Arenal.
Raptors and Swifts
24 species of diurnal raptors had been recorded together with Bicolored Hawk, each Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks (uncommon birds in Costa Rica), and Black and Ornate Hawk-Eagles.
The swift motion was additionally glorious, no less than on our route. Within the morning and even throughout mid-day, dozens of swifts coursed via the skies. White-collared was the most typical however we additionally had many superb seems at Chestnut-collared together with a number of Grey-rumped, two Lesser Swallow-tailed proper on the finish of the day, and views of each elusive species- White-chinned and Spot-fronted Swifts!
16 Hummingbird Species
Fairly a number of hummingbirds had been round. These had been largely Rufous-tailed however we additionally had Black-crested Coquette, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, and different species together with the one White-tipped Sicklebill of the rely. No Snowcap however no less than there have been a number of different good birds to have a look at.
Finca Luna Nueva and the Soltis Heart
As they’ve at all times finished on previous counts, Finca Luna Nueva graciously offered our group with room and board for an evening. Staying in a cushty room and having fun with glorious, regionally offered wholesome delicacies is a uncommon deal with for a chook rely! I can’t specific sufficient how good the meals is at Luna Nueva. The encircling habitat can be good for birds and as traditional, we recorded greater than 100 species by breakfast together with Pied Puffbird (new for the rely record), Rufous-winged Woodpecker, Inexperienced Ibis, Scarlet Macaw, and varied different species of humid second progress and rainforest.
Many thanks additionally go to the Soltis Center for permitting us to enter and chook the foothill rainforests of this glorious web site. Earlier than getting into the forest, we watched the hummingbird motion at Porterweed bushes and flowering bushes and picked up hovering Barred Hawk, Brief-tailed Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, and Black Hawk-Eagle. Contained in the forest, we did effectively with discovering a gaggle of White-fronted Nunbirds flocking with Scarlet-rumped Caciques, Chestnut-headed Oropendolas, Rufous Mourner, and some different birds. Then, we did even higher by discovering a primary for the rely and uncommon Violaceous Quail-Dove!
Lack of time meant we couldn’t search for Lanceolated Monklet on the waterfall space however we nonetheless did effectively.
Rely Totals and eBird Journey Report
The ultimate whole for all routes was 307 species and our group had 152 species together with 12 not recorded on another route. Congrats go to the rely organizers and all of the members who helped make the 2022 Arenal Rely a beautiful and memorable day of birding. If you happen to go birding in Costa Rica, you’ll see quite a bit round Arenal!