International Huge Day has change into an annual collective occasion in Could that encourages 1000’s of individuals to look at birds on the identical date. So far as selling birding goes, the one factor higher may be October Gobal Huge Day! In Costa Rica (and, I collect, another tropical locations), our native birding neighborhood 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 after we see extra migrants and subsequently, after 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 also be after 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 International Huge Day, all we will hope is for hurricanes to occur on one other date.
This 12 months, as luck would have it, we felt a few of the unwanted effects of Hurricane Julia on October Huge Day. We had a variety of rain in some components 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 a lot of the rain occurred the night of the eighth and the next morning, many websites had good climate on the morning of October International Huge Day and due to that, native birders nonetheless managed to establish properly over 700 species in Costa Rica (!).
Personally, I wished to strive for a severe Huge 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 probably at numerous factors and instances on the Huge Day route. There was no level in making an attempt for severe numbers if it was going to rain, particularly within the night time and at daybreak. Fortuitously, my associate and I had a back-up plan, one which was extra relaxed than an all out Huge Day and that will additionally deliver us to one in every of our favourite areas of Costa Rica, the southern Caribbean zone.
This could be a lengthy drive from San Jose, particularly with street building and gradual and seemingly everlasting truck visitors, however when you get there, the voyage is value it. A lot of fantastic and accessible rainforest habitat stuffed with resident species and a great deal of migrants, a wonderful coast with probabilities for different birds, and plenty of selections for lodging and good delicacies, the southern Caribbean is enjoyable, birdy, and incredible. 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 line 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 remaining 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 by means of lowland rainforest and a few small farms. There’s a variety of potential and I had by no means had the possibility to chook 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 whenever you will be fortunately asleep?
Birds in fact! To correctly assess owls, different night time birds, and the daybreak refrain, you actually should be out and about by 4:30. 4 could be even higher and when you’ve got a thermal imager, you then may even need to begin at midnight (I do know, that’s excessive however Huge Day birding is what it’s).
Pre-dawn birding for us on October 8 gave 4 owl species, a Widespread Potoo (not so widespread), 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 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 prime 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), 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 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).
Finally, we made our solution to the close by seashore, noticing a bunch 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 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 certain, we might take Bridled Tern for the day. It’s not a chook usually seen from shore in Costa Rica and we had fantastic appears to be like. I’m 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 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 dropping 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 Heron and different uncommon birds have been discovered right here, final 12 months we had a Grey Kingbird.
With nothing happening 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 remaining verify 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 may have defined the shortage of swallows and different birds that ought to have been shifting by means of. After that, it was off to dinner at a close to Caribbean restaurant for a high quality finish to a satisfying, easy-going October International Huge Day in Costa Rica.