City Birding in Costa Rica- Advantages of Brushy Fields and Espresso Farms – 10,000 Birds

City Birding in Costa Rica- Advantages of Brushy Fields and Espresso Farms – 10,000 Birds

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 definitely 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 complicated 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!).

Pied Puffbird

Tropical forest is a should however these mossy inexperienced mansions aren’t the one locations the place birds happen. Further chicken 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 discipline and edge birding turns into particularly enjoyable in urbanized areas.

Residing within the crowded Central Valley, my associate Marilen and I are primarily located in an city zone. We’d have a couple of small farms close by and the present of a slim riparian zone out again however typically, the principle habitat is that of the fashionable 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 chicken are brushy fields and occasional farms. Sadly, the demand for housing places these remnant habitats beneath excessive stress. Generally seen as nugatory, particularly any good “weedy” discipline, they get eaten away by housing, little by little till it is as in the event that they by no means existed. We chicken them whereas we are able to. These are among the birds now we have seen, among the surprises now we have discovered:


Grey Hawk is the usual. Go birding close to espresso bushes and open fields and this tropical relative of the Purple-shouldered will in all probability name and fly into view. Maintain watching the sky, examine a kettle of Black Vultures and also you would possibly discover a Quick-tailed Hawkmanner up there, hiding in plain sight.

Maintain birding in inexperienced house and also you would possibly hear a Laughing Falconwould possibly see a White-tailed Kite doing its “Holy Spirit” hovering strikes. Chicken at evening and those self same grassy fields may host Striped and Barn Owls. Any massive bushes close by? Hear for the delicate notes of Tropical Screech Owl.

Crested Bobwhite and Southern Lapwings

Bobwhites persist. Not many, however judging by the whistling of their title within the neighborhood, small numbers nonetheless scratch the bottom beneath espresso bushes, nonetheless name from brushy fields. Lapwings are extra simply seen. Test any massive 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 have been shocked 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 by some means discovered their option to Calle Viquez. These pioneering sparrows share their patch with one other dry forest chicken, the Lesser Floor-Cuckoo!

Yellow-bellied Seedeater

The largest shock was Yellow-bellied Seedeater, a chicken that appears to be increasing to numerous components of Costa Rica. When birding or driving by its most well-liked tall grass habitat, I’ve heard its longspurish music in a number of locations together with the fields at Calle Viquez.

Painted Buntings, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, different Wintering Birds

Discover a brushy discipline through 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 jap USA, of maples and ash transferring within the breeze and this putting chicken singing its drunken robin music. My quite a few recollections of this lovely chicken bias my notion of it in Costa Rica, make me really feel prefer it’s misplaced despite the fact that it is completely at dwelling in leftover weedy heaps 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 will be widespread.

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 forwards and backwards. It takes the place of prinias in Asia, perhaps some “warblers” in Europe and Africa.

A big bunting in poorly veiled disguise, the male grosbeak is vivid. Primarily based on the quantity seen in city zones, they should be doing fairly properly in Costa Rica. As typically as I encounter this lovely chicken, I all the time take a re-assessment. Rising up in Niagara Falls, NY, this grosbeak was woefully out of vary, a chicken 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 chicken I could not wait to see. I ultimately caught up with it within the regular components of its vary, one of many extra memorable being the decidedly non-urban Comanche Nationwide Grasslands of jap Colorado.

Whereas working there on chicken tasks, 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 bushes 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 chicken 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 music. This threatened endemic wants as a lot inexperienced house as we are able to save, I hope we may give it just a little extra respiratory room.

In these instances of environmental disaster, as with each inexperienced house, even the ignored 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 other people, I hope we are able to preserve extra of these ignored habitats round.