Nature Notes

September 30, 2008

Save the Albatross

Filed under: Conservation — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am

Most of the species of Albatross are headed for extinction!!!

Black-footed Albatross

Black-footed Albatross


It can’t be put plainer than that. This family has always been in a precarious position because they tend to breed on small isolated islands which are vulnerable to introduced predators. However, the threat that is bringing them to annihilation is long line fishing. Long lining is the practice of setting out a single line, sometimes over 100km. long, with thousands of baited hooks. These baited hooks attract thousands of albatross and other seabirds who are caught and dragged till they drown. More than 300,000 seabirds are being killed each year, and over twenty species are facing extinction including most albatross species. These species reproduce in small numbers and the kill rate by long line fishing vastly outnumbers new births.

Save the Albatross

The Save the Albatross Campagn, supported by organizations such as Birdlife International and the RSPB, are publicizing the problem and promoting solutions. These solutions include changing the fishing methods so that they are not attracting seabirds, legislation, and policing pirate fishing operations.

Tomorrow: Some good news from Argentina

If you would like to be informed of future Seabird posts, Click Here.

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September 29, 2008

Braulio Carrillo N.P., Costa Rica

Filed under: Birds,Costa Rica — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Silver-throated Tanager

Silver-throated Tanager

This National Park is an area of untouched rain forest on the eastern or Caribbean slopes of the central mountain range. It is within 20km. of the capital, San Jose, although I found it more convenient to stay in the town of Guápiles, a pleasant town to the east of the park. The park is located in one of he most rugged areas of Costa Rica and can be wet as well, so dress accordingly. There are also reports of theft from parked cars, take precautions.

There is an aerial tram to take you above the canopy. It can be fun but don’t expect to see a lot of birds as it seemed pretty barren, although we did see a Tiny Hawk which was an unexpected surprise.

Some bird you might see include Broad-billed Motmot, Lattice-tailed Trogon, Dot-winged Antwren, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Plain-Brown and Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Black-cheeked, Pale-billed and Lineated Woodpeckers, Buff-throated Saltator and Scarlet-rumped Cacique.

Tanagers are well represented such as Gray-headed, Silver-throated, Speckled, Bay-headed and White-shouldered Tanager.


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September 28, 2008

White-faced Capuchin from Costa Rica

Filed under: Animals,Costa Rica — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
White-faced Capuchin

White-faced Capuchin

Do you remember Marcel from the sitcom “Friends”? That was a White-faced Capuchin (Cebus capucinus) also known as a White-throated Capuchin. An intelligent animal living in large groups of up to 40 animals. It is found in Central and South America. Most of these images were taken in Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica.

White-faced Capuchin White-faced Capuchin White-faced Capuchin White-faced Capuchin
White-faced Capuchin White-faced Capuchin White-faced Capuchin

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September 27, 2008

Birding Carara N.P.: Costa Rica

Filed under: Birds,Costa Rica — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Boat-billed Heron

Boat-billed Heron

The Carara National Park is my favorite wildlife area in Costa Rica. It is located on the central part of the Pacific coast and includes a large amount of primary growth as well as secondary growth and the rich diversity of the Tarcol River.

There is a short trail by the main entrance and a 4.5 km trail by the river called the Vigilancia Trail. The park doesn’t open until 7 A.M. but it is common practice for birders to go in early and pay on the way out. By 9 A.M. tour buses arrive and the park becomes more crowded.

The parks main attraction are breeding pairs of Scarlet Macaws who frequently stage raucus squacking flyovers. If you take an early walk along the Vigilancia Trail, you could see a long list of birds including Barred and Black-hooded Antshrikes, Slaty and Dot-winged Antwren, and Dusky Antbird. There is a an Orange-collared Manakin lek within the first kilometer of the trail entrance, listen for the telltale snapping similar to a person snapping their fingers.

The most common hummingbirds are Long-tailed Hermits and Scaly-breasted Hummingbirds. Make sure you check the river at all the lookout spots as you go. Northern Jacana feed along the edges, and there is a Boat-billed Heron colony as well as Bare-throated Tiger-Heron and Anhinga. At least five species of Trogon are in the area, although you would be very lucky to see all of Black-headed, Baird’s, Slaty-headed, Violaceous and Black-throated.


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September 25, 2008

Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica

Filed under: Birds,Costa Rica — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am

Costa Rica Surfer

One of the first national parks of Costa Rica,Santa Rosa National Park contains some of the little remaining area of tropical dry forest habitat throughout all of Central America. Its beaches attract both Pacific Ridley Sea Turtles and surfers.

The road into the park is a good place to view Dusky-capped, Brown-crested and Great-crested Flycatchers, as well as Roadside Hawks and Common Black-Hawks.

The campground and administration buildings are good for Yellow-naped Parrot, Crested Guan, and Great Currasow. There is a chance to see Elegant Trogon although it is not common.There is a cement trough that holds water in the area and it attracts Hoffman’s Woodpecker, White-throated Magpie-Jays, Common Ground Doves as well as White-tipped, White-winged and Inca Doves.

Farther in, there are a few useful trails including Sendero Palo Seco and you may find Plain-capped Starthroat, White-lored Gnatcatcher, Red-legged Honeycreeper, and Blue Dacnis. Orange-chinned  Parakeet and White-crowned Parrots may make a squawking fly past.

When you reach the beach, keep an eye open for Brown Booby.


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September 24, 2008

Palo Verde N. P., Costa Rica

Filed under: Animals,Birds,Costa Rica — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:39 am
Wood Stork

Wood Stork

Palo Verde National Park comprises 13,058 ha. of varied habitats in the lower Tempisque River basin which includes important wetlands and woodlands.

I would recommend taking the boat trip which runs by Bird Island, a breeding site for Cattle Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills , Wood Storks, Anhingas, Great Egrets, and Black-crowned Night-Herons. Great Blue Heron and Bare-throated Tiger Heron may also be seen as well as Neotropic Cormorant and Amazon
Kingfisher
. Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks and Northern Jacanas are resident.

Mammals include Collared Peccaries, White-faced Capuchin Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, White-nosed Coatis, White-tailed Deer, and Variegated Squirrels.

You may also expect to see some large Iguana sunning themselves on the mangrove banks.

 


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September 23, 2008

Birding the Arenal area, Costa Rica

Filed under: Animals,Birds,Costa Rica — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano

The Arenal area is a magnet for tourists who come to see the active volcano but it is also a great birding destination.

In the area around the mountain, you may see Swallow-tailed Kite, White Hawk, Crested Caracara, Rufous Nightjar, Tropical Screech-Owl, Red-billed Pigeon, and Black-cheeked and Hoffmann’s Woodpecker.

Cliff and Blue-and-white Swallow are seen with Tropical Pewee, Greater Kiskadee, Common Tody Flycatcher and Yellow Tyrannulet. Cinnamon and Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds are common and there are Silver-throated, Palm, Crimson-collared, Passerini’s and Blue-gray Tanager.

A Yellow-throated Vireo moved through light woodland while a Buff-rumped Warbler was giving its characteristic tail bob in deeper forest. In open areas, Baltimore Orioles were common as were Giant Cowbird and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Buntings were represented by Variable Seedeater, Yellow-faced Grassquit, and Black-striped Sparrow.

A band of roving Coatimundi provided comic relief as they investigated any car that slowed.


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September 22, 2008

Birding Golfito, Costa Rica

Filed under: Birds,Costa Rica — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Swallow-tailed Kite with Gecko

Swallow-tailed Kite with Gecko

Golfito, which is near the Panama border at the most southern part of Costa Rica, was an important port at the beginning of the twentieth century. This was due to the extensive production of the United Banana Company in the area. It declined after the demise of the company in 1985 but has increasingly become a tourist attraction.

The road going north from the town produced Swallow-tailed Kite, Black-mandibled Toucan, Purple-crowned Fairy, Panama Flycatcher, White-throated Thrush, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Royal and Sandwich Terns, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Grayish Saltator, Blue-crowned Motmot, Lesser Nighthawk, and Blue Ground-Dove.


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