November is that transition between fall and winter, the time of lead-gray skies, gull flocks and hints of snow. In Niagara, scan the cold waves chopping the lake and you could spot a big white owl flying in from the north. Keep watching the hundreds of ducks on the move, you could see an eider, will likely test the numb level limit of your hands. But the freeze test might be worth it, you could see something truly crazy (like an unbelievable Short-tailed Shearwater apparently!).
The August migrants are long gone from the north but I can tell you where they went. I know where the Baltimore Orioles are living it up, where the Wilson’s Warblers are chipping and the Prothonotary’s are holding sway. We’re seeing plenty in Costa Rica, here’s some other news for November, maybe even for the upcoming high season too:
The avocet has landed! We don’t get very many of these extra elegant birds, not in Costa Rica. One turns up every so often but the event ain’t annual. As with most past sightings, 2023’s avocet appeared on the Pacific Coast. Local birders have been twitching it at one of the better spots for shorebirds; Ensenada Refuge.
I hope it stays long enough for us to see it too. Heck, I hope it stays all winter. If you see one, even if it doesn’t seem all that exciting, please eBird it, local birders will be sending gratitude.
Other birds that Costa Rica isn’t known for are Palm Warbler, Prairie Warbler, and Black-throated Blue Warbler. Recently, all three species have been seen, hopefully they’ stick around too. We don’t get too many of this trio of Caribbean wintering birds, it would be nice to catch up.
In all likelihood, there’s surely more of these and other rare wintering warblers in Costa Rica. The problem is they could be anywhere, a “place” where we just don’t have people birding. One can only pish so much. How to find those birds? All you can do is get out birding, keep birding, be fast on the bino draw, and go with the birding flow.
Corso has Been Good
I’ve had the pleasure of stopping at the Corso Farm on several recent occasions. Each visit has been pretty productive, has yielded several hummingbirds. The best have been Scintillant Hummingbird and Magenta-throated Woodstar. The woodstar comes and goes but the Scintillants are usually present.
Their minute dimensions might keep them hiding from the other hummingbirds but keep watching, they’ll eventually come out.
Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo at Pocosol…
This mega is always at that site but will you see it? Of course that is the constant and most important birding question. Recently, one was seen with a youngster, right next to the station! I think that’s a pretty good sign they’ll be around.
If you visit, give yourself enough time to find those ants. They’ll be lots of other birds to look at too! Check out my birding site guide for Costa Rica to learn more about this fantastic site and hundreds of other key places to go birding in Costa Rica.
Lots of Rain this Month- Be Prepared
Last but not least, there’s been a lot of rain going on. That’s expected for November but it’s still worth mentioning. You see, these rains can cause landslides and they always generate local flooding.
They’ll probably be gone in a month but if birding Costa Rica in the meantime, keep an eye on weather conditions, limit time on Route 32, and be extra careful around Parrita, Ciudad Neily, and most areas on the Pacific Coast.
I suppose that’s about it for now. I could also mention that there’s awesome tanager flocks, calling antbirds, soaring Ornate Hawk-Eagles, and more but as newsworthy as they sound, when birding in Costa Rica, those and hundreds of other birds are wonderfully regular. Get ready for your trip with the Costa Rica Birds Field Guide app, I hope to see you here!