Return to Turrialba – changes in birds

After two months in Europe and a re-acquaintance with all things German, we are very happy to be back home in Costa Rica.  The weather has brought much less rain than usual.  The birds seem to have changed, since the following usually common species have barely appeared here at the house on the slopes of the volcano in September and October:

  • Cattle egret (only a couple of sightings)
  • Grayish and Buff-throated saltators (no sightings)
  • Red-billed pigeon (heard maybe once, very strange; perhaps it’s the relatively warm weather)

The Rock doves have disappeared from the church roof and from my listings.  I think the villagers have cleaned out the back of the church where they were nesting.  Plain wren now seems to be appearing much more frequently.

Owls are very loud at night; chiefly it’s the Bare-shanked screech-owl (it still roosts in the same tree as ever during the day) and the Tropical screech-owl, but there are other loud calls that I cannot recognise.  I badly need a set of recordings of Costa Rican bird-calls to help me with this.  One likely candidate (according to descriptions of vocalisations in Garrigues & Dean and in Stiles & Skutch) is the Costa Rican pygmy-owl.

My big windows continue to cause problems as birds crash into them.  I found a dead Red-eyed vireo and a White-tipped dove earlier this week.

Red-eyed vireo accident victim

Red-eyed vireo accident victim

A Stripe-throated hermit, a species I had not identified at the house before, came inside and was almost killed by the cat.  Luckily I freed it and it flew off unharmed.  It had been admiring its reflection in the windows for several days.  Tour guide Jorge Fernández Aguilar, who lives lower down in the village, has this species regularly at his heliconia, so perhaps I’ve just been overlooking it.  At 1200 m altitude I believe we are at the limit of its lowland range.

I discovered on a blog site that I should be reporting to e-Bird any sightings of Golden-winged warblers, so I sent in last migration season’s reports (mid-November to late March).  I look forward to this species appearing again in the next few weeks.

The garden ponds that I have just put in are attracting lots of bathers, chiefly Great kiskadees and Social flycatchers.

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