If you’re ever in Siquirres….

If you’re ever in Siquirres, the small town located where the main highway to Limón from San José meets the road from Turrialba, check out a tiny stream that flows through the town centre diagonally opposite a road junction in front of the Palí Siquirres supermarket. The stream is visible only at this point for about 100 metres, since the rest of it flows under the cement of the town centre! The variety of bird species that can be found here in a very small and heavily populated area is quite surprising, and at the same time the birds are amazingly tolerant of people.


Tricolored Heron in the centre of Siquirres, courtesy of John Beer

Star of the show at this week’s brief visit was an immature Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor). It would be interesting to know if this is a migrant or one of the few individuals of this species that stays in Costa Rica year-round. We must wait until June to see!

Just as unexpected in this environment is the regular presence of the tiny Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla). The yellow legs so clearly seen in John Beer’s photo below ensure that there can be no confusion with Semipalmated or Western Sandpiper. Like the Tricolored Heron, this bird is mostly a migrant here and is well-known to North American birders. It is perhaps of greater interest to Costa Rican bird enthusiasts. Today we saw only a single bird, but John offers this photo of one of a pair that are regularly present.


Least Sandpiper in an unexpected location

Four more heron species accompanied the Tricolored on this particular visit. John reports that they can be found at this location regularly. So if you want to see and photograph common heron species while you’re strolling through Siquirres town centre, you will find Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron and, of course, Green Heron, all beautiful birds and very easy to see at close range. Check out the tin roofs next to the little stream!


Up on the roof! Little Blue Heron


And here, on a hot in roof, a Great Egret and a Snowy Egret:


An added treat, for me at least, was a Mangrove Swallow (Tachycineta albilinea) sitting on a nearby wire. It is a primarily a lowland species, so here in Turrialba it is found rather irregularly and I rarely get to see it. It looks pretty much like our common Blue-and-white Swallow until you spot the clean white rump.


Mangrove Swallow, town centre of Siquirres, courtesy of John Beer

Checklist for the very brief visit can be found at:



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