World Large Day has change into an annual collective occasion in Might that encourages 1000’s of individuals to observe birds on the identical date. So far as selling birding goes, the one factor higher could be October Gobal Large Day! In Costa Rica (and, I collect, another tropical locations), our native birding group will get concerned in each GBDs however we’re particularly happy with the one in October as a result of for these of us on the flyway approach south of northern breeding grounds, the tenth month is our “Might migration”.
It is after we see extra migrants and subsequently, after we can see extra species in someday of all out binge birding. Rivers of raptors, aerial streams of Chimney Swifts and swallows, warblers, shorebirds, and extra (oh my!). If there is a draw back, October can also be after we can get heavy rains, particularly from tropical storms and hurricanes within the Caribbean. In mountains Costa Rica, that may translate to such disasters as flooding, landslides, and street closures. It makes October birding unpredictable and for October World Large Day, all we will hope is for hurricanes to occur on one other date.
This yr, as luck would have it, we felt a few of the unwanted effects of Hurricane Julia on October Large Day. We had a number of rain in some elements of the nation, some locations had erosions, and birding was considerably restricted. Nonetheless, on the birding aspect of the coin, it may have been worse. Since many of the rain occurred the night of the eighth and the next morning, many websites had good climate on the morning of October World Large Day and due to that, native birders nonetheless managed to determine effectively over 700 species in Costa Rica (!) .
Personally, I needed to attempt for a critical Large Day on October eighth however as a lot as I stared at climate forecasts and yearned for them to vary, I needed to settle for that rain regarded fairly possible at numerous factors and instances on the Large Day route. There was no level in attempting for critical numbers if it was going to rain, particularly within the evening and at daybreak. Fortuitously, my companion and I had a back-up plan, one which was extra relaxed than an all out Large Day and that may additionally carry us to one in all our favourite areas of Costa Rica, the southern Caribbean zone.
This could be a lengthy drive from San Jose, particularly with street development and gradual and seemingly everlasting truck visitors, however when you get there, the voyage is value it. A number of fantastic and accessible rainforest habitat full of resident species and a great deal of migrants, a good looking coast with possibilities for different birds, and plenty of selections for lodging and good delicacies, the southern Caribbean is enjoyable, birdy, and improbable. To not point out, this a part of the nation might be much less affected by rain and storms in October than different areas.
On October eighth, 2022, that good climate held out and we had a beautiful day of birding in Costa Rica. Consistent with GBD norms, I additionally made eBird lists, together with a visit report. We began at 4:30 am and ended later that eveing with a last complete of 154 species. This is a quick abstract of that good day of birding:
That is an inviting gravel street located close to Punta Uva that passes by lowland rainforest and a few small farms. There’s a number of potential and I had by no means had the prospect to hen there earlier than daybreak. I am grateful to have lastly gotten that chance on October 8 and look ahead to doing extra pre-dawn birding on that street and different websites within the space. Purchase why pre-dawn? Why be on the market within the tropical darkish once you might be fortunately asleep?
Birds in fact! To correctly assess owls, different evening birds, and the daybreak refrain, you actually should be out and about by 4:30. 4 could be even higher and when you have a thermal imager, then you definitely would possibly even need to begin at midnight (I do know, that is excessive however Large Day birding is what it’s).
Pre-dawn birding for us on October 8 gave 4 owl species, a Frequent Potoo (not so frequent), after which a bunch of species proper at and simply after daybreak. I appreciated listening to the calls of the birds waking up, of seeing migrants Swainson’s Thrushes from distant boreal locations cloaked with conifers hopping on a gravel street in lowland rainforest. The calling Collared Forest-Falcon was additionally cool, so was Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer (the species on the high of this submit), and so had been the 120 different plus species we had from 4:30 to eight simply on that one street.
After Paradise Highway, we drove to the Degustibus bakery (my favourite Italian bakery within the space), bought goodies and headed again to our rented log cabin at Olguita’s Place in Punta Uva. We loved breakfast and a few relaxation whereas watching and including White-lined Tanager, Northern Waterthrushand different birds, together with a Prothonotary feeding on an unidentified unique fallen fruit (I child you not, these Golden Swamp Warbler can get create and loopy in Costa Rica).
Finally, we made our technique to the close by seashore, noticing a gaggle of Jap Kingbirds hanging with a pair of Lengthy-tailed Tyrants en route. On the seashore itself, we had been met by stiff winds and dozens of weekenders. Because the folks drank beer and laughed on the seashore, we watched one man foolishly swimming in very tough waters whereas additionally scanning for birds. We did not see a lot however fortunately, the man didn’t drown and scanning ultimately did repay with a sudden flyby of two grownup Bridled Terns!
I had anticipated a jaeger or one thing else however certain, we may take Bridled Tern for the day. It is not a hen typically seen from shore in Costa Rica and we had fantastic seems to be. I am certain different good birds additionally flew previous sooner or later that day however the one different ones we noticed had been a younger Peregrine attacking and practically catching an unidentified peep, and frigatebirds far offshore. I could not assist however surprise in the event that they had been catching small migrants misplaced at sea.
Within the afternoon, we drove to the close by village of Manzanillo. This web site might be nice for migrants even whether it is shedding some habitat to housing. We picked up just a few extra birds, nothing loopy however just a few birds Nonetheless. The vegetation and soccer pitch (aka soccer area) are all the time value checking; on different days, Whistling Hero and different uncommon birds have been discovered right here, final yr we had a Grey Kingbird.
With nothing occurring within the village, we made a fast cease on the RECOPE Highway and picked up White-flanked Antwren and some extra species earlier than driving again to our cabin.
Extra Punta Uva adopted by Dinner
A last verify turned up a distant calling Laughing Falcon however not a lot else. I could not assist however surprise if the hurricane had really stopped migration to the north of us. That may have defined the shortage of swallows and different birds that ought to have been transferring by. After that, it was off to dinner at a close to Caribbean restaurant for a fantastic finish to a satisfying, easy-going October World Large Day in Costa Rica.