New England Coastal BIrds

New England Coastal BIrds

Friday, October 28, 2016

Krausman's Woodcarving Studio 2016 Costa Rica "Pura Vida" Birdcarving Extravaganza!!

                               Krausman's Woodcarving Studio 25th Anniversary

                                                             Costa Rica!

        Day 6, Tuesday, Oct 4, 2016,- Pacific slopes and coast!

          This morning, everyone met outside at 6:00 am, it will be a busy day, Many of us who would be heading down to the Pacific side for zip-lining and the mangrove boat tour would have breakfast now before we left at 7:00 am. Marino would be taking others on a few short two-hour trips to the mirador for Quetzals, and then return for breakfast at 8:00 am. Then he would be bringing others up to Savegre's special bird viewing platform on the high slopes on the north side of the Savegre road. The classroom would be open for anyone that went on the trip yesterday could get caught up (after a little local birding of course)! :^)

      With the buses loaded, we all headed out for the long day trip! I was looking forward to this, the boat ride on the Rio Tarcoles is one of my favorite trips and one of my favorite locations in Costa Rica. Originally I wanted to have everyone go to Turu ba ri in Orotina for their famous "superman" zip line over the Rio Tarcoles gorge, amazing! They also have a cable tram ride over the river gorge, plenty of land to go birding, and a restaurant. Jen and I really like this place! However, because we were starting our trip from Savegre, it would add at least another hour to the already three hour ride. So I chose a zip-line park in Jaco which was a little closer.

      The "road birding" along the lowland areas south of Jaco in the area of the Palm Oil plantations was exceptional.....too bad we couldn't stop!! :^) We saw many species of Doves, Flycatchers, Parakeets, Grackles, and literally dozens and dozens of Hawk (mostly Roadside Hawk and Gray Hawk) and Yellow-headed Caracara, with a few Crested Caracara mixed in with the Black and Turkey Vultures.

           San Jose airport (red arrow), Savegre Hotel (blue arrow) Jaco zip-line park (orange arrow)

        Arriving at the zip-line park after a long ride, everyone was anxious to get started! Some were anxious and fearless, others may have needed a little time to get up the nerve! Me, well, I couldn't go, I was the official photographer !:^) Once everyone checked in at the office, it was time to put on their harness' and meet on the instructions platform-

            Some of us decided to take a break and watch all the fun!........ (Vanessa, Beny and Pam)-

        When everyone understood the instructions from their guides/instructors, everyone piled into the trailer behind the tractor and started the long drive accent up the steep mountain road to the starting platform. Jim and I rode along to take photographs of everybody going down the lines down the steep mountain slope. This is the road we all traveled up to the main platform-

      The zip-lines were set up with many platforms. Everyone would go from platform to platform until the last one ending down on the bottom near the office. This was the longest and steepest line. One by one, each person made their decent down the first line-

      After the last one zipped down the mountain, Jim and I drove back down the mountain road in a 4WD truck. Since it would be a little while before everyone would be zipping down the last line, we had some time for a little birding around the main buildings and the "finish line"! Jen and I walked around a little on the grounds and a short rainforest trail through the property. We did see a few birds such as this Crested Caracara that flew across the field-

                                    We also saw millions of Leaf-cutter Ants-

                                 And a small flock of Gray-headed Chachalaca-

                              A pair of Inca Doves perched on the platform guide-lines-

                                                               Social Flycatcher-

          A pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks loafed the day away in the small pond by the office-

    But the real prize was a dozen Turquoise-browed Motmot that were in the trees near the compost area behind the buildings-


           After forty-five minutes, the first of the group started zipping down the long stretch to the last platform-

      Judging by the large smiles on everyone's faces, it appears that they all had a good time! :^)

       We all packed back into the buses for a half-hour drive to the estuary of the Tarcoles River for lunch, and then to the boats for the Crocodile Mangrove Tour. Since Beny knew the owner, the Captain and the guide, I asked Beny if he could arrange with them that the tour be more centered on birds.......and they were happy to oblige us!

               San Jose airport (red arrow), Savegre (blue arrow) and the Mangrove estuary, Rio Tarcoles (orange arrow)

         The lower reaches of the Rio Tarcoles above the Crocodile Bridge and a mile upriver from the Mangrove estuary-

     On the way to the restaurant and the boat dock it looked like it was going to rain later in the day. The clouds were starting to build, and since it was the rainy season, Beny suggested that we have a quick lunch and then go on the boats to try and beat the rain.

      And that is just what we did. We began boarding the boat.

         We wouldn't have to go very far to see the first salt water Crocodiles.....there was a massive one with a much younger and smaller one sunning itself on the opposite shore of the river-

     When we were all aboard, they Captain started down river. It wasn't long before we started seeing birds!

                                                                Spotted Sandpiper-    

                                                   Yellow-crowned Night-Heron-

               In the middle of the river on a sandbar, a bird that I have been hoping to see and a species that is very rare on the Rio Tarcoles: a pair of Southern Lapwings! So rare are they on the river that we were told that they have only been recorded once every few years here......what a great find!

                                       Beautiful pair of birds......too bad the river is polluted!

              A pair of Muscovey Ducks......yeah I know, they are domesticated park ducks up here in the US. But in Costa Rica they are a wild species like Mallards in North America!-

                                            Pair of immature Neotropic Cormorants-

       About a quarter of a mile down river, we headed up into one of the estuaries of the Mangroves. These are Red Mangrove, the most salt-tolerant species of Mangroves. The wood from these trees is harder than Ebony!

        As we started up the estuary on the north side of the river, we started seeing many shorebirds feeding along the muddy shoreline: Black-necked Stilt, Black-bellied Plover, American Golden Plover, Semi-palmated Sandpiper. Western Sandpiper, Semi-palmated Plover, and a few of these Wilson's Plover. Being from New England, I never get to see this species, so this was a real exciting treat for me!-

         And we saw quite a few of another favorite Shorebird species of mine: Whimbrel-

         The boat slowed down as we approached another corner of the estuary. Roosting in a tree hanging over the water were five Boat-billed Herons......another great find with an exciting bird species-

                             This one is really watching us, look at the large eye!-

                         But this one could care less about just kept preening!

        The Captain tried to maneuver the boat back and forth in the current so everyone could get a better look at the Herons. As the boat drifted forward with the current, in a small opening in the branches not more than twenty-five feet from the boat was this stunning adult Mangrove Black Hawk with its plumage shimmering in the sun. I was really excited to see this bird, it is tied with the Ornate Hawk-Eagle as my favorite Hawk species. A truly magnificent species of Hawk!-

                                        As expected, Iguanas were very plentiful-

                                       A Ringed Kingfisher was loafing in the sun-

             But the Kingfisher treasure goes to this little jewel, the Green Kinfisher. What a beauty!-

            Jen and I were very happy to see plenty of White Ibis. We both like this species and always enjoy watching them. (immature on the left, adult on the right)-

        We started out of the mangrove estuary creek and back into the main river. We were headed for the mouth of the river where the sandbars are built up. We took a turn south and almost immediately......

                    ......and a loud excited "over there" was shouted as everyone started pointing over towards the shoreline.......

            .......Scarlet Macaws!!! In the small trees at the mouth of a small mangrove estuary creek were four Macaws having a good time and squawking as loud as can be. This is one of the birds that everyone on board hoped to see. And here they were only forty yards away! No matter how many times Jen and I see these birds in the wild, they are as exciting and beautiful as the first time we saw them! Just incredible!-

               I think I can say with much certainty, lots of pictures were taken of these birds!

       While everyone was hypnotized by the Macaw show, a Green Heron walked down the shoreline next to the boat-

       After ten minutes of absorbing as much of the Macaw showing as we could, the Captain headed down towards the mouth of the Rio Tarcoles where it runs into the Gulf of Nicoya.-

     On the large sandbar on the north side of the river delta, a huge salt water Crocodile slides back into the water as the boat approached-

                               The sandbar was full of resting birds: Brown Pelicans........

                                 ..........Neotropic Cormorants, Great Egrets..........

                                            ........and more Brown Pelicans!- 

                                   And a few more Neotropic Cormorants-

                          On a distant sandbar were Black Vultures, Wood Storks.........

           ......and more Brown Pelicans, Neotropic Cormorants, and a small flock of  Royal Terns with smaller Tern species (probably Common Terns) mixed in, a few Laughing Gulls and a single Franklin's Gull that I could see in my binoculars-

             On the sandbar near the boat, a gathering of Black Vultures-

         We stayed at the sandbar at the mouth of the  river for about ten minutes. It was getting closer to the time that we had to start heading back. We stopped back at the tree where the Scarlet Macaws were, and while we watched, a few Macaws flew in to join the others-

                     On the way back to the dock, more White Ibis-

                        And a few beautiful Little Blue Herons-

       And we had a great up close encounter with five feeding Black-necked Stilts-

                                  ........and another Green Heron-

                  This Snowy Egret was so fixated on fishing that it didn't pay any attention to us-

        In competing with the Macaws for "the most exciting moments of the boat trip" would have to go to this pair of massive 16 foot salt water Crocodiles that swam up to the boat. They swam up and down the starboard side of the boat and seemed fixated on Robert Rankins and Jim Krausman!! Keep your hands in the boat!! :^)

    We watched these incredibly huge reptiles for five minutes and then it was time to conclude this incredible boat trip! What a great time! After disembarking the boat, we walked up the road the short distance to the restaurant and the "un-filling stations".  The ice cold bottled water, Coke and Ginger Ale was quite refreshing from being in the hot and humid air.

       After our quick refreshments, we headed out down the road a short ride to the souvenir and woodshop Maravillas.

      In the store were everything expected in a souvenir shop: t-shirts, hats, cups, clothes, scarfs, etc, but also the store was filled with spectacular wood sculptures and carvings produced by Master Carver and Sculptor Arnoldo Jimenes.....................

                 ............finishing one of his magnificent carved tables depicting a Costa Rican village scene. He carved these tables from Cedro (aka Spanish Cedar, a tree in the Mahogany family-used for cigar humidors). It gets the name "cedar" from the spicy aroma of the wood. The clean and fine details produced from his carving tools, gouges and skews showed the high level of his skill. Jim Krausman and I watched him work for fifteen minutes and marveled at his tremendous skills. His work was beautifully impressive! If anyone is ever in the Tarcoles/Jaco area, you definitely need to stop by Maravillas shop and enjoy, or maybe take home one or more of his beautiful carvings and sculptures!

                                      Incredible details.....................


                Senior Jimenes also masterfully sculpts and carves many species of Costa Rican wildlife such as this impressive Iguana.

      After a half-hour stop at Maravillas, it was time to head back up the mountain to Savegre. We were very lucky the rain held off during our mangrove boat ride even though the northeastern sky looked ominous with dark rain clouds. The rain started just as we boarded the buses to leave.

      We made it back to Savegre for a late dinner. We talked with the others that stayed at Savegre today about our exciting day on the Pacific side. In the conversations, we found out that another (the fourth) National Newspaper had come to Savegre for another article about the Krausman's birdcarving class in Costa Rica!

      After relaxing in the lounge for a while, Jen and I, and Pam and Jim decided it was time to take long hot showers and turn in for the night. We told everyone Buenas Nochas and Hasta manana, and walked back to our cabins. By now the rain was barely misting, it was a fantastic day!

      Tomorrow will again be a busy day: I will be back instructing my class moving the Trogon along with new plumage areas and techniques (and catching others up who went on the tours today). The third day tour will leave early in the morning and travel to Cartago and Turrialba to explore the dormant Irazu volcano, a stop at the  Basilica of our Lady of the Angels, Cartago, and then on to Lancaster Orchid Gardens. And of course, Marino will be busy with short birding excursions around the Hotel.

        Today's Bird list, Road Birding, Jaco, Rio Tarcoles- Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigatebird, Neotropic Cormorant, Royal Tern, Common Tern, Laughing Gull, Franklin's Gull, Great Blue Heron, Wood Stork, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Muscovey Duck, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Glossy Ibis, White Ibis, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture,  Mangrove Black Hawk, Roadside Hawk, Gray Hawk, Swallow-tailed Kite, White-tailed Kite, Crested Caracara, Yellow-headed Caracara, Whimbrel, Black-necked Stilt, Southern Lapwing, Semi-palmated Plover, Wilson's Plover, Semi-palmated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Black-bellied Plover, American Golden Plover, Greater Yellowlegs, Ruddy Turnstone, Red-bellied Pigeon, Inca Dove, White-winged Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Orange-chinned Parakeet, White-crowned Parrot, Scarlet Macaw, Red-lored Parrot, Groove-billed Ani, Great-tailed Grackle, White-collared Swift, Black Swift, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Golden-naped Woodpecker, Great Kiskadee, Tropical Kingbird, Social Flycatcher, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Mangrove Swallow, Costa Rican Yellow Warbler, (and) many small to medium-sized passerines seen along the road but unidentified.

                    Krausman's 25th Anniversary Birdcarving Seminar, Costa Rica!!!!!!!

     Day 7, Wednesday, Oct 05, 2016  Continues....... click on "Older Posts" below right>