The most frequently heard song in my garden in April is always the melodic song of the Clay-colored Thrush, called Yigüirro in Costa Rican Spanish. Local tradition is that he is singing in the rainy season, begging God for rain and thus he usually goes near the top of trees to sing and why my photos seldom show him singing. It sounds like he is trying really hard to do a good job and loud! As locals say, “singing his heart out!” You can hear one recording on eBird, click the “Listen” Button.
But they do come down to the lower limbs occasionally for my photos, 🙂 with these two shots from two different days. Usually we have a light start of rain the middle of April scattered over several days with the “real” rain beginning in earnest in May when we can have a shower or more every afternoon through November.
This year we had the unusual experience of 4 days of showers in March! Climate change! I live in the “Central Valley” which would not be considered a “rainforest” like both coasts and their corresponding “slopes” where it rains year around and occasionally all day. I like visiting the rainforests but the Central Valley is better for daily living. 🙂
Yigüirro is the Costa Rican Spanish name for the English-named Clay-colored Thrush, like “the Robin of Costa Rica” (and Americans used to call it “Clay-colored Robin”). It is also the national bird of costa Rica because the early indigenous people said it was this bird that called in the rain at the beginning of rainy season, April-May, with its beautiful, melodious songs. Nice!
I’m not seeing as many birds anywhere this year which one naturalist said was because of the change in weather (El Niña) and a much wetter rainy season this year – I don’t know. But I thought the photo below of a wasp pestering the bird and another photo of the bird eating a berry were interesting enough to share, even if not high quality photos (bad light). But first a traditional portrait . . .
It seems like maybe there have been more than a usual number of immature or juvenile birds this week, so I’m featuring 5 today. 🙂
Tomorrow morning, I go on a guided bird hike and expect to get a lot more above the 35 species I’ve photographed on my own so far. 🙂 Plus, I’m taking a tour of the farm where 85% of the restaurant food is raised and that will probably be tomorrow night’s post! ?
I knew when I saw that huge tree outside my room that I would have a good chance of seeing birds even though it was windy much of this first week, but finding a nest of baby birds is always an extra treat. First I saw this Yigüirro (local Spanish name) or Clay-colored Thrush (English name) flying into the joint of a sawed-off limb on the tree. After further examination through my telephoto camera lens, and several shots of only the mother sitting on the nest, I managed to get a few shots of the babies’ open mouths and then watch the mother regularly return with food for them. Fun. I’ve asked the hotel to keep me in a room by the tree next week and beyond so I can continue to watch this little family grow. 🙂
“El gorjeo” or “tweeting” or “chirping” is what many of the birds are doing every morning now and earlier than usual, before sunrise! But none of the birds are singing as much as the Clay-colored Thrush or Yigüirro it is called here (feature photo), the National Bird of Costa Rica. Yigüirros have started their pre-rain singing earlier this year, which is usually in April. This chirping is why it is the National Bird with tradition saying they are calling in the May rains or the “green season” as it is called by many here. Hopefully this earlier singing means the rains will come earlier! Listen to a recording of song 🙂 And soon the wind stops blowing which is almost constantly now. I AM READY FOR GREEN SEASON! 🙂
In one sense it is a little like “Spring” in the north, but maybe a backwards spring as we move from hot-dry-windy to daily rains, cooler temps, greenness & more flowers. It is a tropical paradise that most tourists miss because they want to avoid rain. 🙂 But most of us who live here prefer it to the “dry season.”
“Don’t let the rainy season deter your visions of outdoor adventures! This is Costa Rica’s most beautiful time of the year, when every landscape explodes in vibrant colors, with blooming flowers and blossoming fruit trees, not to mention cooler temperatures.” ~costarica.com
But that was only the case for an hour or so Sunday morning for my early breakfast around 6 AM. By 7:30 or 8:00 the wind was blowing like normal this time of year, It is windy mid-December to Mid-March or later and I’m guessing later this year because the wind has been stronger. Since the “Windy Season” overlaps the “Dry Season” it creates a recipe for brush or grass fires, especially later in the season like right now. We had our annual grass fires in Roca Verde a week or so ago, so not as much dry grass left to burn. (I water my grass!) And as usual, we were fortunate to have no house on fire. Our local Atenas Bomberos (Firemen) are super good at stopping the fires quickly.
And my four morning birds are just ones that are very common in my yard, but it was nice to see them in my Cecropia tree at breakfast for a change! Maybe I should eat earlier every morning since it is less windy early. 🙂 They were . . .
Some trips I put more energy into getting many more bird photos, this year in South Caribe was more relaxed and slower, focusing a little more on culture and people, but here are my 10 birds and 1 nest photos representing 8 species with 3 having both male and female photos. My one “lifer” or first-time seen bird was the Gray-necked Wood-Rail.
Birds are still my first passion, but tomorrow I will share the “Other Animals” seen here this year including one of my better sloth photos shot near the hotel, as were most of the birds. I saw a few water birds from a distance but not as many as usually seen here. And I’m very pleased with my new Tamron 60mm lense which has really helped to zoom in on more birds!
The sound of birds stops the noise in my mind.
See my TRIP Photo Gallery: 2018 Caribe South, Puerto Viejofor many other kinds of photos from this fun trip and for more on the South Caribe see these other past trip galleries:
The National Bird of Costa Rica is known for singing in the rainy season in April and May, thus his honored position in Costa Rica, yet a simple bird. Seen here in my back garden, hiding behind a limb he thinks.
Adult Gray Hawk Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica First Sighting for Me in Costa Rica (1 in Nicaragua)
Juvenile Gray Hawk Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica
Female Collared Trogon Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica First Sighting for Me
Male Collared Trogon Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica First Sighting for Me
Chestnut-headed Oropendola in Poro Tree Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica
Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica First Sighting for Me
Red-faced Spinetail Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica First Sighting for Me
Common Chlorospingus Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica First Sighting for Me
Clay-colored Thrush or Yiqüirro The National Bird of Costa Rica Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica First Sighting for Me (only Southern in the past)
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica
Brown Jay Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica
Passerini Tanagers, Male & 2 Females
Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica
“The sharp thrill of seeing them reminded me of childhood happiness, gifts under the Christmas tree, perhaps, a kind of euphoria we adults manage to shut out most of the time. This is why I bird-watch, to recapture what it’s like to live in this moment, right now.”