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Cool Birds and Canals

January 20, 2012

I still have pictures from Costa Rica to share with you.  Here are a few more from Tortuguero.

Great kiskadees, hanging out in the yard at the CCC

They were one of the most common species seen and heard.  One of their calls is “Kis-ka-dee” and another call sounds like (to me, at least)  “Pit-sul.”  For most field jobs I am used to using a 4-letter alpha code based off the English common name but in Costa Rica they use a 6-letter code based off the latin name (because Spanish-speaking volunteers often don’t know the English name.)  Kiskadee’s code is PITSUL.  So their calls made it very easy to identify them!   You can hear one here, although this is an Argentinian bird and his accent is a little different.   [Chai came running over when I listened to their calls!]

Social flycatcher, a smaller relative of the kiskadee, audible here

Montezuma oropendola

A big flock of these would fly into the CCC yard, often late in the afternoon, and make all sorts of noise as they fed high in the trees.  This photo is highly cropped– they never came low and besides the light seemed to always be terrible.  But it is their calls that I will remember the best.  They are extremely cool sounding birds.  You can listen to them here, but really, you should go to Costa Rica and hear them yourself. ;)

Black-cheeked woodpecker, whose calls reminded me of their cousin the red-bellied woodpecker (same genus) that I heard long ago in Florida.

Gray-necked wood-rail

This is a terrible photo, taken with a little point and shoot camera, but it was my life gray-necked wood-rail.  It was sunning itself on a log not too far from our banding area the first time I went to the Aeropuerto banding site– when I saw it, glowing in the sun,  I almost fell off my chair.   They actually were quite common at INBio; they would often dash across the path in front of me and we heard them frequently early in the morning.  The field guide likened their call to “drunken chickens.”  I’m not so sure, but you can listen for yourself.

  And now onto the canals.  As I mentioned before, Tortuguero is on an island and you can only reach it by boat (or plane.)

The most common route in involves an hour-long boat ride along a network of rivers & canals.

(For the story of my first trip in, see here)

A view of one of the canals

The farthest back bump of trees is the Cerro, the only hill in the area.

A taste of the rainy season, as seen from the dock at Caño Palma, one of our banding sites.

What’s a cool bird you’ve heard while travelling?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennie Frances permalink
    January 21, 2012 8:52 am

    Lovely photos. The rainy season looks rather rainy :)
    Missy and Millie said” what is that awful noise” when I listened to the bird songs! Pretty birds.

  2. January 21, 2012 2:38 pm

    I think they do sound like drunk chickens! Or what I would imagine drunk chickens sound like. Great GREAT photos, as per usual, Jillian!

    I remember those Oropendolas making the most god-awful LOUD noises in Panama. But they are some of the coolest birds and have by far the most awsome nests around. Of course, I haven’t seen the Bower Birds yet….

  3. Carol B. permalink
    January 22, 2012 11:26 am

    Have enjoyed your posts about Costa Rica. We leave soon to join family doing bird banding in the same areas in which you worked. Can’t wait to explore Tortuguero and meet the dogs of Tortuguero as well! Thanks for all the info and fine pictures! Do the folks on your blog get free cookies??!!??

    Carol Bratton
    Stanardsville, VA

  4. July 2, 2012 4:33 pm

    lovely! I love the sound of ‘new’ birds when travelling, really makes a place feel exotic. The Bellbird of New Zealand is a particular favourite sound, and the haunting Curlews on the Orkney Isles.

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