Wednesday 27 November 2013

More from the Costa Rica highlands

The last of my Costa Rica photos to brighten a dull November night in Wales.
While we were here at the Costa Rica Bird Observatory Station at Madre Selva in the Highlands we were without internet so the end of the story still to tell.

This is the ringing table laid before the start of a busy day.
Migrant and resident birds are ringed with different rings so that means two sets of paperwork, rings and pliers. A journal sheet is kept recording which nets are used, weather, net round times, species caught, banders, visitors etc.The banding sheets themselves have more columns than the BTO red books including columns for codes of how birds were aged and sexed (in Spanish!)

The Optivisor is invaluable for studying the Hummingbirds caught. Species of Hummingbirds were all different to those we were catching on the Caribbean coast.
This Green Violet-ear was the largest.
 The White-throated Mountain-gems were the commonest species caught..
The bands are tiny and hard to read with the naked eye but retrap data is valuable as knowledge about moult and breeding cycles is still being researched.
This below is a Violet Sabrewing
Difficult to catch the iridescence but a very beautiful hummingbird including its tail.
An extra early start was needed to catch the following two species.
Firstly, a Dusky Nightjar which we understand had not been ringed before. They were often heard around the station but to see one in such detail is one of those priveleges that bird ringers have.
Here the wing being photographed for the CRBO archives of residents moult patterns.
The other bird was a Common Pauraque which are often seen around the lake at dawn. This was an adult female retrap ringed at the start of the year.
Another species of birds rarely ringed here were 2 Blue and White Swallows which roost under the eaves around the house. They pair for life and the two we caught were a male and female in the net together.
Flame-coloured Tanagers were the first birds to find the bananas on our newly built feeding station. We ringed this female
but not the bright red male who was often spotted in the pine trees behind the house.

The stay at Madre Selva was a wonderful but very different experience to our 6 weeks on the Caribbean coast. More resident birds and we didn't see snakes, Iguanas or brightly coloured frogs in our net rides but the variety of moths attracted to the outside light was fantastic considering the altitude of 2,500m.
This was the largest at over 5 inches,  Rothschildia sp.

This is Amastus Aconia
and this from the same family and also with a well-marked head - Amastus Suffusa.
The scenery in parts could be rural Wales

The mountain lakes are particularly beautiful.
Torrent Tyrannulets, Least Grebe and Black Phoebe were regularly spotted here.

While Richard spends another few weeks ringing with Ivan from Spain and Diego from Costa Rica...
I am back to the cold of a Welsh winter but that means the start of the lamping season. Last night we caught 2 Woodcock. One was a retrap from March this year having found its way back to the same field.

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