Friday, February 11, 2011

We've just got back from Costa Rica. Some might say it was a Bus-man's holiday,  but I don't think Bus-men are as excited by buses as we are by birds, bats and other wildlife*. I (Giselle) doubled my life list of birds in just two weeks. And it was the first time Rich birded abroad with his big camera.

We hired a 4x4 and chanced the earthquake displaced roads and unnerving over-taking opportunities to visit as many different amazing habitats as we could fit in. I was the navigator. Costa Rica has no road signs. And, furthermore, they've built new roads and not put them on maps. But I only got us lost twice, and we (Rich) figured it out both times. The roads shouldn't dissuade you from visiting Costa Rica though, and since I was only a passenger, I quite enjoyed them.

*Based on my sole experience of the angry  bus driver on the X25 from Blyth-Newcastle during the years 2003-2006 inclusive.

Violet-headed Hummingbird (c) Richard Brown

The hummingbirds were mental, and the ultimate ID Challenge, since they were so fast, and appeared a different colour at every angle.

Northern Jacana (c) Richard Brown

Since I've never birded abroad before, the species which I most wanted to see weren't necessarily Costa Rican endemics. Since buying my first guide to Waders of Europe and North America, I've desperately wanted to see a Northern Jacana and marvel at his lime green underwings. We visited a place called Palo Verde, which hosts the most extensive wetlands in Central America. And, a quick walk along a dubius boardwalk into a marsh where water hyacinth grew sensibly, we found hundreds of Jacanas! Contesting males, females and juveniles were all plodding around in the shallow marsh amongst Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Black-necked Stilt, Limpkin, Green Heron, Little Blue Heron, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Tri-coloured Heron, Glossy Ibis, White Ibis, Blue-winged Teal, Fulvous Whistling Ducks, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Muscovy Duck, Purple Gallinule, Anhinga, American Coot and Roseate Spoonbill. And that was all in the same binocular view. And to top it all off, soaring close to the water's surface was a Snail Kite! Fantastic!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic, fantastic photos from Costa Rica! Especially so because the rainy and dim understory conditions often make photography challenging in this country. You probably also have the best images of bats for Costa Rica anywhere on the web. I will have to link your site to my blog about birding in Costa Rica!