Wet season birding in Costa Rica is just getting started and it’s late. Usually, our tropical downpours get their rain thing on by April. Not this year. Up until the past week, we’ve seen very little rain and even the showers that have occurred haven’t been the soaking events they should be.
Looking at nearby mountains, I have seen more rain falling up that way but we should have had more by now, everywhere. In Costa Rica, abundant water keeps the biodiversity gears moving, it boosts productivity that our resident bird species rely on. Like I was saying, though, the rains have started, let’s hope we keep on getting that precipitation on a daily basis.
On another, related note, here’s some of the latest in birding news for Costa Rica:
Lanceolated Monklet at Arenal Observatory Lodge
Last week, fellow guide and friend Anthony Arce saw a Lanceolated Monklet perched on a roadside wire just as he was leaving the lodge with a client. If you happen to be birding around there, this was on the entrance road between the Casona and the main gate.
This isn’t the first time the reclusive mini puffbird has been seen at the lodge but there have been very few sightings from this birding hotspot. His sighting is a reminder of how unobtrusive and local this species can be. It’s also a reminder to have bird species in mind even if they aren’t recorded that often on eBird.
In the case of the monklet, several pairs probably occur on the Observatory Lodge property. As is typical for this species, they are probably overlooked and just occur in spots that don’t get as much coverage.
Local guides should give a solid search for them along ravines around there and other suitable spots, especially near waterfalls. As with all birds, they occur where the habitat is, monklets are just naturally hard to find.
Photo Sessions of Blue-and-Gold Tanager Nest at the San Luis Canopy
Another fantastic find happened in the form of a nesting Blue-and-Gold Tanager. This uncommon near endemic can be a challenge. As is typical for local species, you gotta know where to look for them and even then, the birds can be elusive.
In Costa Rica, one good spot for this species is the San Luis Canopy area and vicinity. On a recent visit, Lifer Tours owner and birding guide Juan Diego Vargas found that one was nesting at this cloud forest hotspot.
Amazingly, it is literally nesting at the San Luis Canopy, as in right by the main buildings. He spoke with the owners about and they have been building a photography hide to accommodate visiting birders.
This hide can be safely visited and offers close views without affecting the birds. Photo sessions for this rare opportunity can be booked at the Ground Cuckoo site.
It’s a Good Time to See Swifts
I think I say this every year but it’s worth repeating. The wet season is the best time for seeing swifts in Costa Rica. I don’t mean the usual White-collared and Vaux’s Swifts, I’m talking about getting good looks at those other swift species in the field guide.
Those would be Chestnut-collared Swift, and Black, Spot-fronted and White-chinned Swifts. During the sunny days of the dry season, often, these birds are flying too high for adequate looks, and the Black Swift might be off wintering in the Amazon.
Go birding in Costa Rica in the wet season and you might see all of them flying within reasonable binocular distance. Heck, you might even identify them without binos during a walk in your neighborhood!
I had that happen just the other day. During a late afternoon walk on a cloudy day, there were a couple of calling Black Swifts and two Spot-fronteds that flew low, just over the houses. There were also several Chestnut-collared flying around with the usual Vaux’s and White-collareds.
Seeing these swifts nice and low and identifiable is all about cloud cover. Approaching storms are good too.
New Update for the Costa Rica Birds Field Guide App
Lastly, we recently finished another update for the Costa Rica Birds Field Guide app. As with the recently updated Panama Birds Field Guide app, our Costa Rica birding app now includes tips on how to see each species.
A few examples of text for:
and Harpy Eagle.
Since I have also included bird species not yet on the list for Costa Rica but which are good candidates for occurring, this is what I wrote for Garganey.
There are also additional photos and a filter to show regional endemics along with other features to personalize the app to your needs.
If you are headed to Costa Rica soon, I hope this information helps with your trip. The birds are waiting, a lot of them.