Protect Caribbean Rainforest in Costa Rica

 
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Dec 27, 2012

Uncommon Sightings of Migratory Birds

Red Knot - by Kate Holmes
Red Knot - by Kate Holmes

We hope you are all having a fantastic holiday. Thank you for your support to this project in 2012, we are happy to announce we will be continuing into 2013 thanks to your donations.

This month has been an exciting and challenging month for birding at GVI Jalova. It is the time of year when migratory birds arrive, resident birds abound and juvenile individuals present difficult plumage succession. Staff enjoys the challenge and volunteers marvel at the variety that Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast has to offer. There have been two noteworthy sightings for this month. The first is a relative of the gulls who breed on Arctic coasts - the pomarine jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus; pictured). This aggressive aerial-master harasses other seabirds, forcing them to disgorge their food which they snap up on the wing. They are rare and sporadic to Costa Rica, and most records are for the Pacific coast. It was with great pleasure then that we watched this aerial acrobat move in with stealth and swiftness to the great distress of a mixed flock of terns and gulls. In the air the juvenile jaeger was incredible to watch. Academically, it is an exciting record for Tortuguero National Park's coastline.

The second notable sighting has been a very thrilling one. We were very delighted when we discovered that the ‘new bird’ recorded on one of our regular shorebird surveys was a red knot (Calidri scanutus; pictured) – the first record for the Caribbean coast! Somewhat more reserved than the jaeger, the knot moved slowly through the driftwood on the high-tide line feeding on invertebrates. It was almost as though he was thinking.

Rare bird reports have been sent to both the iNaturlist website (used by the IUCN to maintain up-to-date conservation threat status’) and to the Asociación  Ornithológica de Costa Rica. Without the hard work and enthusiasm of dedicated staff, volunteers & donors it is likely that these rare bird sightings would go overlooked. Range shifts & extensions of migratory species are important, not only for the conservation of the species themselves, but also for considering habitat conservation within their summer breeding grounds, and also when considering the effects of climate change.

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Project Leader

Steve Gwenin

Field Director
Exeter, Devon United Kingdom

Where is this project located?

Map of Protect Caribbean Rainforest in Costa Rica