October World Massive Day in Costa Rica- an eBird Journey Report – 10,000 Birds


World Massive Day has turn out to be an annual collective occasion in Could that encourages 1000’s of individuals to observe birds on the identical date. So far as selling birding goes, the one factor higher could be October Gobal Massive Day! In Costa Rica (and, I collect, another tropical locations), our native birding group will get concerned in each GBDs however we’re particularly happy with the one in October as a result of for these of us on the flyway method south of northern breeding grounds, the tenth month is our “Could migration”.

It’s once we see extra migrants and due to this fact, once we can see extra species in at some point of all out binge birding. Rivers of raptors, aerial streams of Chimney Swifts and swallows, warblers, shorebirds, and extra (oh my!). If there’s a draw back, October can also be once we can get heavy rains, particularly from tropical storms and hurricanes within the Caribbean. In mountainous Costa Rica, that may translate to such disasters as flooding, landslides, and street closures. It makes October birding unpredictable and for October World Massive Day, all we will hope is for hurricanes to occur on one other date.

This yr, as luck would have it, we felt a few of the uncomfortable side effects of Hurricane Julia on October Massive Day. We had quite a lot of rain in some components of the nation, some locations had landslides, and birding was considerably restricted. Nonetheless, on the birding facet of the coin, it may have been worse. Since a lot of the rain occurred the night of the eighth and the next morning, many websites had good climate on the morning of October World Massive Day and due to that, native birders nonetheless managed to determine nicely over 700 species in Costa Rica (!).

Speckled Tanager was a kind of birds.

Personally, I wished to strive for a critical Massive Day on October eighth however as a lot as I stared at climate forecasts and yearned for them to vary, I needed to settle for that rain seemed fairly possible at varied factors and occasions on the Massive Day route. There was no level in attempting for critical numbers if it was going to rain, particularly within the night time and at daybreak. Thankfully, my accomplice and I had a back-up plan, one which was extra relaxed than an all out Massive Day and that will additionally convey us to considered one of our favourite areas of Costa Rica, the southern Caribbean zone.

This generally is a lengthy drive from San Jose, particularly with street development and gradual and seemingly everlasting truck site visitors, however when you get there, the voyage is price it. A number of great and accessible rainforest habitat full of resident species and a great deal of migrants, a gorgeous coast with possibilities for different birds, and lots of selections for lodging and good delicacies, the southern Caribbean is enjoyable, birdy, and improbable. To not point out, this a part of the nation will be much less affected by rain and storms in October than different areas.

On October eighth, 2022, that good climate held out and we had a beautiful day of birding in Costa Rica. In step with GBD norms, I additionally made eBird lists, together with a journey report. We began at 4:30 a.m. and ended later that eveing with a last whole of 154 species. Right here’s a short abstract of that good day of birding:

Paradise Street

That is an inviting gravel street located close to Punta Uva that passes via lowland rainforest and a few small farms. There’s quite a lot of potential and I had by no means had the possibility to hen there earlier than daybreak. I’m grateful to have lastly gotten that chance on October 8 and look ahead to doing extra pre-dawn birding on that street and different websites within the space. Purchase why pre-dawn? Why be on the market within the tropical darkish once you will be fortunately asleep?

Birds in fact! To correctly assess owls, different night time birds, and the daybreak refrain, you actually need to be out and about by 4:30. 4 can be even higher and you probably have a thermal imager, then you definately may even wish to begin at midnight (I do know, that’s excessive however Massive Day birding is what it’s).

Pre-dawn birding for us on October 8 gave 4 owl species, a Frequent Potoo (not so frequent), after which a bunch of species proper at and simply after daybreak. I appreciated listening to the calls of the birds waking up, of seeing migrant Swainson’s Thrushes from distant boreal locations cloaked with conifers hopping on a gravel street in lowland rainforest. The calling Collared Forest-Falcon was additionally cool, so was Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer (the species on the high of this submit), and so have been the 120 different plus species we had from 4:30 to eight simply on that one street.

Punta Uva

After Paradise Street, we drove to the Degustibus bakery (my favourite Italian bakery within the space), obtained goodies and headed again to our rented log cabin at Olguita’s Place in Punta Uva. We loved breakfast and a few relaxation whereas watching and including White-lined Tanager, Northern Waterthrush, and different birds, together with a Prothonotary feeding on an unidentifed unique fallen fruit (I child you not, these Golden Swamp Warbler can get create and loopy in Costa Rica).

Ultimately, we made our solution to the close by seaside, noticing a gaggle of Japanese Kingbirds hanging with a pair of Lengthy-tailed Tyrants en-route. On the seaside itself, we have been met by stiff winds and dozens of weekenders. Because the individuals drank beer and laughed on the seaside, we watched one man foolishly swimming in very tough waters whereas additionally scanning for birds. We didn’t see a lot however fortunately, the man didn’t drown and scanning ultimately did repay with a sudden flyby of two grownup Bridled Terns!

I had anticipated a jaeger or one thing else however positive, we may take Bridled Tern for the day. It’s not a hen usually seen from shore in Costa Rica and we had great appears. I’m positive different good birds additionally flew previous sooner or later that day however the one different ones we noticed have been a younger Peregrine attacking and practically catching an unidentifed peep, and frigatebirds far offshore. I couldn’t assist however marvel in the event that they have been catching small migrants misplaced at sea.


Within the afternoon, we drove to the close by village of Manzanillo. This web site will be nice for migrants even whether it is shedding some habitat to housing. We picked up just a few extra birds, nothing loopy however just a few birds nonetheless. The vegetation and soccer pitch (aka soccer area) are at all times price checking; on different days, Whistling Heron and different uncommon birds have been discovered right here, final yr we had a Grey Kingbird.

With nothing happening within the village, we made a fast cease on the RECOPE Street and picked up White-flanked Antwren and some extra species earlier than driving again to our cabin.

Male White-flanked Antwren

Extra Punta Uva adopted by Dinner

A last test turned up a distant calling Laughing Falcon however not a lot else. I couldn’t assist however marvel if the hurricane had really stopped migration to the north of us. That may have defined the shortage of swallows and different birds that ought to have been shifting via. After that, it was off to dinner at a close to Caribbean restaurant for a high quality finish to a satisfying, easy-going October World Massive Day in Costa Rica.


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