On Thursday, March 12, two days after the birth in far-away London of our granddaughter Lara, the Turrialba Volcano erupted and spewed large quantities of ash as never before since 1866. Of course, in those times almost no one lived in the area and the eruption went almost unnoticed.
The situation appears to be becoming gradually more worrisome. One family had to be evacuated this time, and livelihoods are now greatly at risk at La Central and other high-elevation dairy locations. Only the first one kilometer of the volcano road from La Pastora is now accessible. For birders, this means that the only accesses to highland species are for four-wheel drive vehicles only. What the consequences will be for bird life is as yet unknown, and all we can do for the moment is document bird populations and carefully note any changes.
Here’s what the view was from the dairyland:
And from the nearest large town to the west, Cartago:
After almost two weeks of calm, the volcano is today spouting much bigger columns of steam than previously. I have so far noted no migration of highland species down to our elevations, but the populations of birds such as the Volcano Junco (Junco vulcani) and the Timberline Wren (Thryorchilus browni) must surely have been affected.