Today is “Global Big Day” of counting birds where you live to help science better see what is happening to the health of our planet. I was out from 5:30 AM to 7:15 AM along the border between our housing project, Roca Verde, and the adjacent farms on the border-line gravel road called Calle Nueva (literally “New Street”) that serves as one emergency evacuation road from Atenas along with being a great nature walk and road for bicycles.
I’ve had better days and worse days of birding on that road, so maybe “average” is what the scientists want! 🙂 I observed at least 60 birds of more than 12 species, which is the number of species I photographed. I only report on eBird what I get photos of, which is not the typical eBird user, but I feel more confident with my reports because of that and eBird has volunteer “checkers” to make sure I labeled a bird correctly. Of my 60 seen, 30 were one flock of parakeets! 🙂
It was overcast or cloudy almost the whole time I was out, meaning poor light and white skies as terrible backgrounds most of the time! Only one photo has even a semblance of a blue sky. That’s life! There were no “lifers” or first-time birds for me, though my first time in Roca Verde to see and photograph the Rufous-capped Warbler, and the photo included here is of him “warbling!” 🙂 The name link is to my gallery with shots of this bird from 4 other locations in Costa Rica and some are better shots. And then maybe a first for me at Roca Verde is the juvenile or “immature” Yellow-faced Grassquit which at that age does not have the bright yellow on his face.
Here’s my mostly weak photos against drab skies, but they show you what I saw today:
On this cloudy morning I walk up the hill above my house and back at less than an hour with these colorful photos even without sunshine. Nature is everywhere and my favorite way to celebrate “May Day” or May 1.
May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.
May Day Birds
May Day Flowers
May Day Vistas
I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.
Or almost no place better for birds than my home in the Roca Verde Neighborhood of Atenas, Costa Rica. My long-time intentions to do a photo book of birds photographed at home just got fulfilled!
Check out the free preview of this book of 80 photos of more than 40 species of birds found in my garden and neighborhood. Plus this book is bigger than my travel series books, a full 8 x 10 inches, making it acceptable as a “Coffee Table Book.” 🙂 The hardcover edition is printed on a higher quality of lustre photo paper, though the paperback edition is nice on standard paper. Enjoy! 🙂
I got usable photos of 19 species of birds from my little one-hour walk yesterday morning, 6-7 AM, in the neighborhood on Calle Nueva, the little country gravel/dirt road that separates Roca Verde neighborhood from the adjacent farmland. Nineteen is not bad and as good as some longer walks I take when at expensive birding lodges! 🙂 PLUS, if my identifications are correct, I got 3 new species, “lifers,” for me, though I may get corrected by an eBird expert reviewer after I post them on eBird. 🙂 The new ones are Giant Cowbird, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and a Yellow-green Vireo.
This road and my own street uphill above my house always yield a lot of birds early in the morning. And I have another neighborhood further away that I intend to try for even different birds, a place my birding friend Margaret found to be good.
Saturday AM Birds
Tropical Mockingbird Juvenile
“Every bird, every tree, every flower reminds me what a blessing and privilege it is just to be alive.”
― Marty Rubin
In an earlier post I introduced you to the little 5 km country lane behind our Roca Verde development and along the stream by that cow pasture in front of my house. It is called Calle Nueva which would be simply “New Street” in English and the 2018 blog post was titled Finishing the country road walk today . . . Then later I added a photo gallery: Walking Calle Nueva Atenas 2018. Same photos!
Yesterday I walked part of the road more slowly than I did with young man Jason Quesada back then. It was with another older person who is a birder from Canada! Totally different! We saw more than 15 species of birds just behind where I live and here are a few photos of some of them! Even got one lifer on this walk of about 2 hours, the Black-crowned Tityra, both male & female! CLICK A PHOTO TO ENLARGE.
And apologies for several washed out pictures with white sky. That was because I was not paying attention to details and accidentally turned the dial to “Manual” without setting the manual settings and wasn’t looking at the images on screen! Ugh! Sloppy old man!
Birds on Calle Nueva
Rose-breasted Becard Male
Black-crowned Tityra Male
Rose-breasted Becard Female
Olive Sparrow (almost like Stripe-headed)
Black-crowned Tityra Female
Interesting Flowers on Walk
Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong.
Both yesterday and today I went out around my house looking for birds about 6:20 to 6:40 AM, before breakfast. Both mornings I found birds with gray heads and yellow fronts! Yesterday (before going to Bosque Municipal) I got distant shots of the above Gray-crowned Yellowthroat (link is to Cornell’s “Neo-Tropical Birds”) seen in the cow pasture across the street from my house, my first of this species here, though I got better photos at Curi-Cancha Reserve, Monteverde last year, also in a meadow. Check ’em out!
A more common or more frequently seen-by-me-bird is this common flycatcher which has gray & yellow coloring like the above but is much larger. To learn more about him from Cornell’s “Neo-Tropical Birds,” click this name link, Gray-capped Flycatcheror go see my Gray-capped Flycatcher Photo Gallery (better photos than this). There are around 50 different species of birds here labeled some kind of “Flycatcher,” so a lot of variety! And yes, they do eat flies and other insects! 🙂
“Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.”
Just had to write this unique date down! It is one of the few dates that works for both Americans who write the month first and all the rest of the world who write the day first! Plus it just looks cool! All those twos and zeros! Say it like this: “O-two O-two, two-O two-O” 🙂
POSTSCRIPT: Larry Yarborough wrote in the comments below what I did not know about this unique date:
Today’s date is a rare eight-digit palindrome (reads same, forward and backward), 02/02/2020 — the only one of its kind this century: Aziz Inan, a University of Portland (Ore.) professor who has a website chronicling 500 years’ worth of palindromes, tells the Post about today’s rare configuration — where both MM/DD/YEAR and DD/MM/YEAR are palindromes.
“The previous eight-digit palindrome like this was 11/11/1111, 909 years ago. We’ll only have to wait another 101 years for 12/12/2121.” P.S. Today is “the 33rd day of the year, which is followed by 333 more days.” ~Thanks to Larry Yarborough for sharing this Axios Post!
The feature photo is of the cow pasture and tree line along a little stream across from my house. This morning at 6 I decided to walk over along that tree line with my camera looking for morning birds – nada! Not a one! As has been the case the other times I tried that very “birdy-looking” area. The water in the stream is quite polluted (gray water from houses nearby) which may be the reason for no birds or it was windy this morning, though that time of year. And I’ve never heard of cows scaring birds! But not one bird over there! (Maybe snakes?) I do better just sitting on my terrace! Though walking uphill like I did yesterday is even better! I will do that more often!
The dove below was on the power line in front of my house and the shot of something burning nearby was the only photo I made from the cow pasture. Sugar cane farmers are burning the remains of their fields after the harvest this month or occasionally someone burns trash, though they are not suppose to in the dry season! 🙂 ¡Pura vida!
Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream. ~Khalil Gibran
Glad to get back to nature posts after all the other stuff I’ve been posting the last week! And the featured photo above is a Passion Flower growing on a neighbor’s wall along the street uphill above my house.
In my Roca Verde neighborhood, and most neighborhoods across Costa Rica, we have “Snow Birds” or “winter residents” who come to visit or live here during the very cold months up north (Dec-Apr). One of those couples I met for the first time last year always stay in Roca Verde, just a few doors up the hill from me – she is a birder and he a relaxer. 🙂 They are from British Columbia, Canada.
Yesterday she showed me all birds she had photographed in Atenas in just one week, most right here in our neighborhood! Thus I was shamed into birding more in my own neighborhood and later some other places in Atenas – but it means getting up at 5:30 in the morning which I have not been doing much here. Mixed emotions!
This morning I spent just one hour, mostly between 6 & 7 and saw about 20 species of birds, photographing about 15 of them! ALL WITHIN 300 METERS OF MY HOUSE! For you Americans, that’s just 3 blocks, and all along the street in front of my house, up the hill. Of course I ran into Margaret who get out every morning early for birds and we birded together much of the time. I will not do it every day like her, but hopefully more often now!
By 7 there are not a lot of birds to see. It is the magical hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset that give the most birds! (Same thing on my trips!) And some of these birds from today have not come to my house or I haven’t seen them in my garden yet. CLICK AN IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT . . .
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
And as he created his magnificent houses always integrated with nature – I have tried to create views through all my windows & doors that bring nature in and take me out! I love traveling in the nature places of Costa Rica, but living in nature day to day keeps me going! The luckiest guy in the world!
Look through My Pura Vida Windows on life!
Terrace – My Biggest Window
Garden Door View
Living Room Window
Laundry Room Window
Office-Guest Room Window
I am Rich in Nature!
He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature. ~Socrates