Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Canal Bird Surveys Summary!

The last five weeks have passed remarkably quickly, with all of our surveys running smoothly.

I will attempt to bring you up to date on one of my favorite subjects here in the Costa Rican rainforest: the birds. More noticeably, our canal birds surveys.

Sirena is a beautiful location but doesn’t really yield much in the way of study species, we know this but we can’t quite bring ourselves to stop visiting it’s charming meandering course through mature, majestic forest. Interestingly enough we have recorded White Nosed Coati (Nasua narica)in the trees on the banks of this waterway in our canal incidentals database. The Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus) made a welcome appearance too.

Central is a much more open canal which is frustratingly wide if you should find yourself furiously trying to row the canoe across it’s expanse to see just which kingfisher that is that’s sitting in the shade over there! As always, we have seen lots of Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa) over the course of the last five weeks, recording them 19 times. I’m delighted to add that the White Throated Crake (Laterallus albigularis) made an appearance already this phase too. Of the kingfishers the Amazon (Chloroceryle amazona) was most often seen (7 times). But worthy of note was the re-appearance of the Limpkin (Aramus guarauna), a favourite from a couple of phases ago. Birds of prey make worthy incidental recordings on this canal, most noticeably the Plumbeous Kite (Ictinia plumbea) and the Black-Collared Hawk (Busarellus nigricollis).

I enjoy Califonia for a paddle around. In fact, my last survey there was just this week and it was a wonderful day for a survey. We had light rain at the outset but as the day went on the sun came out and warmed us up, some-what dazzling us on the water for our return to base, magic! The Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa) made the most appearances here (surprise surprise) with an amazing 29 recordings over four surveys. We’ve also seen 20 Bare-Throated Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum) up here within the last five weeks, closely followed by the Green Heron (Butorides virescens) at 18 sightings. I’m pleased to note that the Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica), the Green Ibis (Mesembrinibis cayennensis) and the Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) have all made occassional appearances in this phase. A pair of Grey-Headed Kite (Leptodon cayenensis) were recorded over this canal in our incidentals.

Surveys on Sierpe Viejo are always popular, having to push the canoe through a thick reed-bed near the start always manages to surprise the new volunteers but unite the group in their search for the best records in this hidden waterway. We’ve seen a fair few juvenile Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa) here just to keep the volunteers on their toes for identifications! This canal has given us more species diversity in three surveys than all the others have in four. A few of the species that we don’t see all that often were recorded here, amongst them the White-throated Crake (Laterallus albigularis), American Pygmy Kingfisher (Chloroceryle aenea), Green Ibis (Mesembrinibis cayennensis), and Boat-Billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius). It’s always a pleasure to see things that we don’t get a chance to see all that often and, speaking of which, a Three-Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) was recorded here a couple of weeks ago.

Hopefully the next five weeks will yield some interesting results with some new volunteers!