Thursday, June 11, 2009

Harold’s On Top

Volunteers that attended the Caño Harold bird survey have strained necks this week due to the amount of head turning birds present on the canal. Yes, Caño Harold certainly came up trumps this week, and don’t Nico, Noelle, Tara and Louise just know it. The birders rocked up at National Park in the darkness, too dark to start the survey, this wasn’t a problem however, as it allowed the team to enjoy the tranquil sunrise over the small town of Tortuguero. Once the light levels had reached an optimum point, the survey began, and it began with great promise.

The first five birds encountered were all of different species, snowy egret, anhinga, green heron, little blue heron and a bare-throated tiger-heron. The aquatic trails continued to produce the goods, and, at the crossover of sectors, the birders were hit with a great surprise. Jack steered the canoe toward a long stretch of reeds, which is usually productive, and hugged the edges. Tara spotted some movement within the grass and had a sneaky peek; what she saw was a very shy and timid purple gallinule. The elegant bird had no reason to be so coy, when a bird looks as beautiful as the purple gallinule it should show its colours and milk the attention. However, this certain individual felt much more comfortable to sit ticked away in the long reeds.

Boat-billed heron

The action never looked like slowing down, and it never did, soon enough the team were hit with several kingfishers, including the ditsy American pygmy. One bird the team were really looking out for, one that would make a certain Noelle Diaz very happy, was the boat-billed heron. They needn’t of peered hard into the highly vegetated waterside trees, trying to spot the silhouette of the boat-billed heron, as it was the bird who would eventually give itself up. “Quack!”, or some noise like that, protruded from some low hanging shrubbery, sure enough the bird squad had found themselves a solitary and docile boat-billed heron. The group was overjoyed, and able to get some great snaps of the bird that was within touching distance. Two more boat-billeds were seen, with Noelle spotting an individual that was well hidden far into the vegetation.

So on it went, with more and more birds and more and more species being added to the data book, including a very mischievous looking rufescent tiger-heron. At the end of the close to four hour long survey, which took place on a gloriously sunny day, the team collected a tally of 52 birds, with 15 species being encountered in all; not a bad day at the office!