Sunday, December 29, 2013

Visit to Estero Coyote

On the southern coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, where the Rio Bongo meets the Pacific ocean, is an estuary containing expansive coastal mangrove habitat.  Habitats such as these are home to a number of bird species found nowhere else but among mangroves, and many have received such apt names as Mangrove Black-Hawk and Mangrove Vireo.
A dense stand of Red Mangroves
We had barely penetrated the mangroves when we spotted our first mangrove endemic, the Mangrove Cuckoo.

Mangrove Cuckoo
Mangrove Black Hawk
On our way back from Playa Coyote and the estuary, we passed many hundreds of acres of grazed cattle pastures.  Their artificial presence notwithstanding, they can be good places to find grassland species like the Double-striped Thick-Knee, as well as wintering migrants like Eastern Meadowlarks and American Kestrels.
The bizarre-looking Double-striped Thick-knee; mostly nocturnal, these birds of dry grasslands use their relatively large eyes to hunt insects and small vertebrates at night.
Next week, after finishing our banding session at Reserva Nacional Cabo Blanco, the NPARS team is heading inland for a few days of birding in the cloud forests of Costa Rica.  We'll be writing the next few posts from Monteverde, a world-renowned birding destination, distinguished by birders for its assortment of rare endemic highland species.  Stay tuned!

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