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 . . .
Here’s the first five portraits with more coming, though all fifty-something birds I’ve photographed will not be good enough for what I’m calling a “portrait” or “a close-up” of just one bird. Plus other types of photos are coming from Maquenque over the next few days or week, even though I return home tomorrow.
Last week (Feb. 2) I tried to see what birds would come around my terrace as the sun starts setting around 5 pm, with camera in hand of course! 🙂 There were several other birds, but I managed to capture only five, and of those only the Clay-colored Thrush (feature photo) was in good light, but regardless, here’s five common birds often around my house with the Oropendola staying near the tops of tall trees and not photographed as often. The Doves and Chachalacas are seen more in the mornings. Others are “special” or more rarely seen.
It could be either good news or bad news, and I hope good news! I just read that a baby Yigüirro can fly at one week of age (they were older) and are usually independent by three weeks old, thus, even if motivated a little early by the noise and lights of a rock concert Saturday night, I think they flew away and are safe somewhere.
Below is what the nest looks like mid-day Monday from Room 407 and the second photo what it looked like mid-day Friday from the same Room 407. The concert was Saturday night with the band only 30 meters away. so if the birds were still there then, the band could certainly have been their motivation to “grow up” and fly away. 🙂 I hope so! We will probably never know. But still glad I left my “nest” before the concert! Or I might have tried to fly away too. 🙂
My last photo this week of the baby Yigüirros and Mom. I’ll check again tomorrow when I return, but they should be growing fast since all the mother does is bring them food all day! 🙂 I’m enjoying this opportunity to watch a nest which doesn’t happen real often.
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. 🙂
Yigüirro or Clay-colored Thrush (eBird link) in English (at one time called “Clay-colored Robin”) is one of the most common birds in Costa Rica, found everywhere, and is also the National Bird, not because of his/her beauty or color (we have so many more colorful), but because he/she sings so beautifully in late April and early May before the rainy season begins. Tradition is that the Yigüirro sings in the rain every year and thus is loved by farmers and gardeners alike and became the national bird.
This weak photo is of a juvenile or young adult made on that cloudy overcast day. They vary in color from this rich dark brown to a lighter brown with a lighter colored breast, sort of creamy white and more rarely a touch of yellow, but always that same beak! I’m calling it “The Robin of Costa Rica” BECAUSE it is as common here as the American Robin (my gallery) was during my days in the States. 🙂
“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