World Large Day has turn into an annual collective occasion in Could that encourages 1000’s of individuals to observe birds on the identical date. So far as selling birding goes, the one factor higher is perhaps 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 method south of northern breeding grounds, the tenth month is our “Could migration”.
It’s once we see extra migrants and subsequently, once we can see extra species in in the future of all out binge birding. Rivers of raptors, aerial streams of Chimney Swifts and swallows, warblers, shorebirds, and extra (oh my!). If there’s a draw back, October can be once we can get heavy rains, particularly from tropical storms and hurricanes within the Caribbean. In mountainous 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 among the uncomfortable side effects of Hurricane Julia on October Large Day. We had lots of rain in some elements of the nation, some locations had landslides, and birding was considerably restricted. Nonetheless, on the birding facet of the coin, it might 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 establish properly over 700 species in Costa Rica (!).
Personally, I wished to attempt for a severe 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 seemed fairly seemingly at varied factors and instances on the Large Day route. There was no level in making an attempt for severe numbers if it was going to rain, particularly within the evening and at daybreak. Happily, my accomplice 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 is usually a lengthy drive from San Jose, particularly with street development and sluggish and seemingly everlasting truck site visitors, however when you get there, the voyage is value it. A number of fantastic and accessible rainforest habitat crammed with resident species and a great deal of migrants, an exquisite coast with possibilities for different birds, and plenty of decisions for lodging and good delicacies, the southern Caribbean is enjoyable, birdy, and implausible. To not point out, this a part of the nation will 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. In step with GBD norms, I additionally made eBird lists, together with a journey report. We began at 4:30 a.m. and ended later that eveing with a last complete of 154 species. Right here’s a quick abstract of that good day of birding:
That is an inviting gravel street located close to Punta Uva that passes via lowland rainforest and a few small farms. There’s lots of potential and I had by no means had the possibility to chicken there earlier than daybreak. I’m grateful to have lastly gotten that chance on October 8 and sit up for 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 will 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 may even wish to begin at midnight (I do know, that’s excessive however Large Day birding is what it’s).
Pre-dawn birding for us on October 8 gave 4 owl species, a Widespread Potoo (not so frequent), after which a number of species proper at and simply after daybreak. I appreciated listening to the calls of the birds waking up, of seeing migrant 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 put up), 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), obtained 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 Waterthrush, and different birds, together with a Prothonotary feeding on an unidentifed unique fallen fruit (I child you not, these Golden Swamp Warbler can get create and loopy in Costa Rica).
Ultimately, we made our technique to the close by seaside, noticing a gaggle of Jap Kingbirds hanging with a pair of Lengthy-tailed Tyrants en-route. On the seaside itself, we had been met by stiff winds and dozens of weekenders. Because the folks drank beer and laughed on the seaside, we watched one man foolishly swimming in very tough waters whereas additionally scanning for birds. We didn’t 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 positive, we might take Bridled Tern for the day. It’s not a chicken usually seen from shore in Costa Rica and we had fantastic appears. I’m positive different good birds additionally flew previous in some unspecified time in the future that day however the one different ones we noticed had been a younger Peregrine attacking and practically catching an unidentifed peep, and frigatebirds far offshore. I couldn’t assist however marvel 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 website will be nice for migrants even whether it is shedding some habitat to housing. We picked up a couple of extra birds, nothing loopy however a couple of birds nonetheless. The vegetation and soccer pitch (aka soccer subject) are all the time value checking; on different days, Whistling Heron and different uncommon birds have been discovered right here, final yr we had a Grey Kingbird.
With nothing happening within the village, we made a rapid 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 examine turned up a distant calling Laughing Falcon however not a lot else. I couldn’t assist however marvel if the hurricane had really stopped migration to the north of us. That might have defined the dearth of swallows and different birds that ought to have been transferring via. After that, it was off to dinner at a close to Caribbean restaurant for a positive finish to a satisfying, easy-going October World Large Day in Costa Rica.