Laughing Gull at Cachí

If you own a car in Costa Rica you quickly become familiar with the annual trip to the nearest RITEVE location for the legally required technical inspection. This time I decided to include a short stop at the Cachí Dam (Embalse Cachí) on my way back to Turrialba from the RITEVE station in Cartago. Just after the ruins of the church at Ujarrás the small road continues and dead-ends at a lakeside resort called Charrarra. The site covers many hectars and is very beautiful. Though I was there only a short time, I think that it basically has two types of bird habitat, woodland (many pines and eucalyptus) and, of primary interest, lakeshore. It tries to reconcile a place for family fun and relaxation with an ecological commitment.

I managed a list of 25 species (see my list at eBird) from a very short walk and then an hour of lunch with binoculars scanning the dam. The only bird of great interest that I found was a first-winter Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla). Although it is by far the commonest gull in Costa Rica, it is usually strictly coastal and this seems to be one of very few sightings in our area. Its plumage was quite similar to that shown in the photo below.

First-winter Laughing Gull

First-winter Laughing Gull – Laughing Gull Juvenile” by Mr.TinDC is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Although the Charrarra location affords excellent lake views, I cannot wholeheartedly endorse it. Much of my brief stay was marred by a high-speed motor-boat that ploughed repeatedly around that section of the lake. Charrarra has definite pretensions to concern for the ecology and would be better served by banning the use of such toys.

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