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Costa Rica Day 58

4th March 2022

The highlight of the day was not a bird but this River Otter that I observed for a good twenty minutes on the West Pond at close range.

Heavy overnight rain continued throughout the day with the odd sunny spell. And again the weather conditions played it’s part as I ticked off three new species for the patch, King Vulture, Great Blue Heron and Cocoa Woodcreeper but it was a mammal that stole the show. However, it wasn’t easy birding holding an umbrella most of the time.

At 06.00, I said farewell to Justin, who I enjoyed the company with in the last three days down at the patch, as he headed towards town in the heavy rain for the bus to San Jose as he had to be in Panama tomorrow. Shortly after, I could see a clearing in the weather and also headed for the center to do some food shopping. Leaving the market, a Great Blue Heron flew low south with good numbers of hirundines hawking in the dark sky. As the heron is uncommon in the area, like the hirundines, I guess it was brought down with the weather but no swifts. I almost got soaked to the bone but just made it in time as I returned and stepped into the hostel. Shortly after 10.00, there was another break from the rain and I made my ways to the patch, a minutes walk away.

Immediately on arriving at the west pond, the Purple Gallinule was still present at the far side and there the 25 Black Swift were still feeding. I rushed to shelter as a heavy down pour arrived but with my umbrella, I could continue to make my ways steadily towards the north side. By the time I had reached the latter area, the rain had eased off and after twenty minutes, Black and Turkey Vulture took the skies and mixed in with them were 2 King Vulture! The first patch tick of the day. They both flew off NW but otherwise it was pretty quiet, except for the Tropical Pewee, from the north perimeter towards the east of the river. It wasn’t until I got to the edge of the primary forest that I saw my first bird of note in the last hour and another patch tick and well over due, Cocoa Woodcreeper that was followed by a Streak-headed Woodcreeper.

It will be interesting to see how long this Purple Gallinule sticks around as it looks like this rain is set into next week

The same flock of 25 Black Swift from yesterday were still present as I guess the weather hasn’t allowed them to continue their journey north

2 King Vulture rising with Turkey and Black Vulture over the banana plantation

This Cocoa Woodcreeper at the edge of the primary forest was a well over due and the second patch tick of the day

This Streak-headed Woodcreeper was also in the same area.

I walked slowly along the river and found the pair of Rufous-tailed Jacamar bonding together. There was also a single Olive-green and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and the Broad-billed Motmot. While on the river, I heard a Louisiana Waterthrush and got good views of it but not quicker enough with my camera. The waterthrush was only the second site record after an individual nearly two months ago. I returned the way I came along the river and without knowing it was there, I kicked a Great Blue Heron that flew out north low behind the trees but the Bare-throated Tiger Heron that was also on the river, just looked at me and moved to the far side. Both must of dropped in while I was at the other side and I guess the GB Heron is possibly the same individual I saw early over town. I thought that maybe the GB Heron might of found the ponds and made my ways towards them all. The East Pond was the first I checked out and there was no sign. Standing on the bank, I could see movement in the water below me and I slowly edged my way towards it. Whatever it was, I could hear it munching on somethin, as that’s what it sounded like. Wow! There, poking it’s head out, half hidden from cover, was a River Otter gettin stuck into a frog! It showed off at very close range, like I at to back off a little to focus on to it with my camera to at least get a record shot as it was well hidden in among the vegetation. Twenty minutes later, it dived under the water and just disappeared. The heron was forgotten and my mission now was to try and see it again. I guessed that it might of gone to the center pool and made my ways around along the path. It was bucketing it down and as I approached the latter pond, holding my umbrella at the same time, I found myself firing off shots at family of Russet-napped Wood Rail!! A female with two young, probably two weeks old. Later I caught up with the same family again crossing the path next to the west pond. Rain or shine, the patch, just 6 hectors, just keeps on amazing me with the otter followed by the family of wood rail. The forecast is that the rain is here into next week but with my trusty umbrella, I’ll still be out there, digging deep for those hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

This Broad-billed Motmot is possibly the male from the pair that were here before I left a month ago. Hopefully a female is on a nest nearby.

This Yellow-olive Flycatcher showed very well

At the same time, this Yellow-bellied Flycatcher kept it’s distance on the otherside if the river

Just managed to get a record shot of this first for the patch, Great Blue Heron, before it flew off low north from the river

While this Bare-throated Tiger Heron stayed put on the river

Cracking views of this River Otter chomping on a frog but as it was hanging out hidden away by the vegetation, getting a pic proved to be hard work

As suspected, confirmation of the Russet-napped Wood Rail breeding with this female and two young, probably two weeks old. One of them checking me out, peeking over his mom as they crossed the channel There could more wood rail chicks in the area in the next month as I observed a pair together together only a few days ago

An hour later I caught up with them again crossing the path next to the west pool

These 2 Piratic Flycatcher were at the east side

The 2 Orange-billed Sparrow were still at the edge of the primary forest

Less numbers of Chestnut-sided Warbler but I think that was to do with me not doin that much birding, due to the weather conditions and holding the umbrella also and I didn’t cover the centre of the patch.

Well worth watching

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Author: Kris Webb 10

I love to throw sticks at trees! I also can’t get enough of music! I also blog about my observations on Scilly and wherever I go around the world and what’s sometimes on my mind. I’ve visited over 30 countries and some more times than once. I’ve worked and volunteered in Nepal, USA, Peru, Gambia, Costa Rica, 3x Australia, and refugee camps in Palestine The profile image is one I took while in Palestine of a brave Israeli holding high the Palestinian flag in front of the Israeli Offensive Forces during protests in Belin

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