Costa Rican birds, bye-bye!


This video is called Amazing hummingbirdsCosta Rica.

31 March 2014.

After yesterday, today departure from Costa Rica.

To Panama and beyond.

Early in the morning on the bird table: clay-coloured thrush and blue-grey tanager.

Also buff-throated saltator and rufous-collared sparrow.

This video from Colombia is called Buff-throated Saltator, Silver-throated & Lemon-rumped Tanagers.

On our way to the airport: great-tailed grackles.

15:00, Panamanian time: a great-tailed grackle flies past a window at Panama City airport. Like when this journey began; closing the circle.

Blue-crowned motmot and white-eared ground sparrows in Costa Rica


This is a video about a blue-crowned motmot; recorded in Alajuela in Costa Rica.

After the Escher art in the botanical garden in Heredia, Costa Rica on 30 March 2014, there were, of course, birds.

First, a black vulture flying overhead.

Blue-crowned motmot, 30 March 2014

Then, much closer, a blue-crowned motmot. First, on the lawn just before our feet; then in a nearby bush.

Twenty minutes later, at 11:55, two motmots.

A Hoffmann’s woodpecker.

Hours later, at 16:43, a female Baltimore oriole.

This video is from Costa Rica is about a clay-coloured thrush. Called yigüirro, it is the national bird of Costa Rica. It occurs in this garden as well.

Clay-coloured thrush, 30 March 2014

A clay-coloured thrush washed itself in a birdbath.

White-eared ground sparrows, 30 March 2014

Then, late in the afternoon, two special birds at another birdbath: white-eared ground sparrows. In Costa Rica, they live only in the Central Valley. Because of their skulking habits, and ‘best seen at near … dusk’, many people don’t see them there.

White-eared ground sparrow, 30 March 2014

So, a fine end to our last full day in Costa Rica.

Stay tuned for the blog post on our last Costa Rican early morning, 31 March!

Escher art in Costa Rica


Metamorphosis III, 30 March 2014

Still 30 March 2014, in the botanical garden of Heredia in Costa Rica. Not just birds in that garden; art as well. This art, based on the woodcut print Metamorphosis III by Dutch artist M.C. Escher, was in one of the garden buildings; a round gazebo.

Escher, Metamorphosis III reptiles, 30 March 2014

In Escher’s work, reptile forms slowly morph into other forms.

Escher, Metamorphosis III more reptiles, 30 March 2014

Escher, Metamorphosis III bees, 30 March 2014

And bees morph into other insects.

Escher, Metamorphosis III birds, 30 March 2014

And birds into fish.

Escher, Metamorphosis III birds and mammals, 30 March 2014

And birds into mammals.

Escher, Metamorphosis III yet more reptiles, 30 March 2014

Until we were back at the reptiles again.

Baltimore orioles and summer tanagers in Costa Rica


This is a rufous-collared sparrow video. One of the bird species in Santo Domingo de Heredia in Costa Rica. An individual often sang, sitting on top of a bronze stork sculpture in the botanical garden. I fondly remember this species from Quito in Ecuador, a long time ago.

30 March 2014. After yesterday, our second full day in Santo Domingo de Heredia. And our last full day in Costa Rica.

A Montezuma oropendola feeding on a flower in a tree.

In the same tree, a Hoffmann’s woodpecker.

A Finsch’s parakeets flock flies past. These birds live only in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western Panama.

A rufous-tailed hummingbird.

Baltimore oriole male, 30 March 2014

Male Baltimore orioles.

Baltimore oriole female, 30 March 2014

And females.

Baltimore oriole female close to flower, 30 March 2014

Baltimore oriole female closer to flower, 30 March 2014

White-winged dove, 30 March 2014

7:35: a white-winged dove.

Summer tanager male, 30 March 2014

Five minutes later: a summer tanager male.

There is a summer tanager female as well.

Blue-grey tanager, 30 March 2014

A blue-grey tanager builds its nest.

A buff-throated saltator sings.

An Inca dove.

Rufous-naped wren, Costa Rica, 30 March 2014

A rufous-naped wren.

Variegated squirrel, 30 March 2014

10:38: a variegated squirrel feeding.

Great-tailed grackle female, 30 March 2014

10:45 a female great-tailed grackle drinks at a bird bath.

A list of birds in this garden is here.

Stay tuned, as there will be more on birds and other subjects in Costa Rica on 30 March!

Costa Rica among best football World Cup 8 countries, bird video


This is a video about a clay-coloured thrush, the national bird of Costa Rica, singing.

The Costa Rican football team has proceeded to the best eight teams of the World Cup in Brazil.

After regular time and extra time it was Costa Rica and Greece both one goal each.

However, then Costa Rica scored five out of five penalty kicks; while Costa Rican goalkeeper Navas stopped one of the five Greek penalties.

As congratulations, this Costa Rican wildlife video.

Costa Rica will now play the Netherlands.

Costa Rican botanical garden flowers


Flowers, Costa Rica, 29 March 2014

In the botanical garden in Heredia in Costa Rica on 29 March 2014, there were of course not only these birds, but also plants and flowers. Like these ones.

Bougainvillea, 29 March 2014

And this Bougainvillea. Is it Bougainvillea spectabilis (originally from the Atlantic coast of Brazil, but introduced to many other countries)?

Bougainvillea flowers, 29 March 2014

And these Bougainvillea flowers.

Flower, in Costa Rica, 29 March 2014

Jabuticaba, 29 March 2014

The garden is specialized in the original flora of the now densely populated Central Valley of Costa Rica, but there are also South American species. Like this Jabuticaba and its fruits.

Cornstalk dracaena, also present, is originally from Africa. While Thunbergia is originally from Africa and Asia.

There is a flowering Bauhinia purpurea, aka Phanera purpurea tree.

Flower, Costa Rica, 29 March 2014

Flowers, in Costa Rica, 29 March 2014

There were orchids as well.

Orchid, 29 March 2014

Motmot, orioles and squirrel cuckoo in Costa Rica


Buff-throated saltator, 29 March 2014

Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica 29 March 2014; after our arrival there on 28 March. Many birds in the botanical garden; like this buff-throated saltator.

6:05 in the morning: a blue-grey tanager. They are building a nest here.

Clay-coloured thrush, Costa Rica, 29 March 2014

A clay-coloured thrush.

A rufous-collared sparrow. I fondly remember this species from Quito in Ecuador; and from earlier this March in Costa Rica.

A great kiskadee in a tree.

This is a great kiskadee video.

Vaux’ swifts fly overhead.

Baltimore oriole male, 29 March 2014

A male Baltimore oriole in a tree.

A rufous-naped wren.

A grey saltator.

A Hoffmann’s woodpecker.

A white-tailed kite flying.

A rufous-capped warbler; and a Tennessee warbler.

A rufous-tailed hummingbird.

A variegated squirrel jumps from one tree to another tree.

Blue-crowned motmot, 29 March 2014

A blue-crowned motmot in a tree.

This is a video about a blue-crowned motmot; recorded in Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Blue-crowned motmots, 29 March 2014

Soon, two blue-crowned motmots in the tree.

Then, only one again.

An Inca dove on a roof.

Squirrel cuckoo, 29 March 2014

A squirrel cuckoo.

Squirrel cuckoo on tree, 29 March 2014

Summer tanager female, 29 March 2014

A female summer tanager.

A tropical kingbird.

Orchard orioles, male and female, 29 March 2014

A male and a female orchard oriole.

Orchard oriole, male, 29 March 2014

The male sings.

A rufous-crowned sparrow sings from the top of a bronze stork sculpture.

A white-winged dove.

8:52. It is a bit warmer now, which means better conditions for soaring birds. A black vulture circles overhead.

9:40. An orchid bee flying.

9:58. A zebra longwing butterfly.

Blue-crowned motmot in bush, 29 March 2014

11:02. A blue-crowned motmot again. It lands on a lawn, then flies back into a bush.

16:10. Dozens of Finsch’s parakeets, flying and calling.

A great-tailed grackle.

White-eared ground sparrows. This is a rare and skulking species. In Costa Rica, it is endemic to the Central Valley.

17:30, half an hour before sunset: red-billed pigeons in a tree.

Turtle, shark migration from Costa Rica to Ecuador


This is called Sea Turtle Migration Video.

From Wildlife Extra:

First evidence of an important marine migration corridor between Costa Rica and Ecuador

Sanjay, a 53k (117lb) male endangered green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas agassizii), recently made history when he completed a 14-day migration from the Cocos Island Marine National Park in Costa Rica to the Galapagos Marine Reserve in Ecuador.

Sanjay is the first turtle to directly link these two protected marine areas, proving the connectivity of the Eastern Tropical Pacific, as well as highlighting the importance of protecting migration routes.

“It’s truly remarkable,” said Alex Hearn, conservation science director for the Turtle Island Restoration Network, based in California.

“Sanjay knew where he was headed, and made a beeline from one marine protected area to the next.

“These protected areas of ocean are hot spots for endangered green sea turtles, but we also need to think about their migratory corridors between protected areas.”

Sanjay was one of three green sea turtles tagged at Cocos Island in June during a joint 10-day research expedition by the Turtle Island Restoration Network and Programa Testauracion de Tiburones y Tortugas Marinas (PRETOMA) of Costa Rica.

Since 2009, the two organisations have tagged over 100 turtles and several species of sharks in a programme to understand how endangered turtles and sharks use the Cocos Island and Galapagos National Parks marine protected areas, and to see if their is biological connectivity between those new sanctuaries.

Sanjay is the first turtle to have been documented moving between these two marine protected areas and joins several hammerhead sharks, a silky shark and a Galapagos shark that have spent time at both of these reserves.

“Finally seeing a turtle move from Cocos Island directly to Galapagos is absolutely amazing,” said Maike Heidemeyer from PRETOMA. “Especially because preliminary genetic research results suggest that there is a connection between the green turtles at Cocos Island and the Galapagos.”

Green sea turtles, like Sanjay, play an important role in the Eastern Tropical Pacific ecosystem, but little is known about the geographic distribution of juveniles and males, despite the fact that nesting sites for female turtles have been identified in the Galapagos, mainland Mexico and Revillagigedo Islands, as well in the Northern Pacific of Costa Rica.

At Cocos Island, two different populations of turtles occur: the black-to gray coloured Eastern Pacific green turtles (also known as “black turtles”) and Western Pacific populations. Both populations are considered by some to be subspecies, but there is no official taxonomic division.

“These species are protected while they are in the reserves, but as soon as they swim beyond the no-fishing zone, they are being hammered by industrial fishing vessels that set millions of hooks in the region,” said Todd Steiner, executive director of Turtle Island, biologist and co-primary investigator of the Cocos research programme.

“Our goal is to collect the necessary scientific data to understand the migratory routes and advocate for ‘swimways’ to protect these endangered species throughout their migration.”

“The route that Sanjay followed is riddled with longline fishing gear,” said Randall Arauz of PRETOMA.

“Several international initiatives exist to improve marine conservation in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, and its time for these initiatives to translate into direct actions that ultimately protect these turtles from unsustainable fishing practices.”

Satellite, acoustic and genetic information is currently being analysed and will be officially published later in the year.

Sea turtle Sanjay is on the move again, the latest ping suggests that he is headed to green sea turtle nesting grounds at Isabela Island.

Sanjay’s migration track can be seen on this map.

Costa Rican warbler, parrots and squirrel


Rufous-capped warbler, 28 March 2014

Still 28 March 2013 in Costa Rica. After the indigenous people’s museum in San José, we arrived in a beautiful botanical garden in Santo Domingo de Heredia; where this rufous-capped warbler was.

Before we had seen that warbler, at 5pm, we had seen crimson-fronted parakeets flying.

Ten minutes later, a singing clay-coloured thrush.

And a rufous-naped wren.

Variegated squirrel, 28 March 2014

A variegated squirrel in a tree.

In ponds in the garden live two rare frog species.

Agalychnis annae, the blue-sided tree frog, used to be common in Costa Rica, the only country where it occurs. Now, it is threatened, living only at a few places in the densely populated Central Valley, like here.

This video is about blue-sided tree frogs in a terrarium.

Forrer’s grass frog is another species in this garden.