Birds / 07.11.2010

[caption id="attachment_1814" align="alignleft" width="240"] Gray-headed Tanager at Playa Piro[/caption] So how do birds survive in a tropical rainforest when it rains a lot?  Let me be clearer; when it rains nearly every day for 2 weeks straight?  The rainy season here in Costa Rica lasts from May to November increasing in the amount of rainfall as the season progresses.  October and November are notorious for being the wettest months of the year. Well, the pattern seems to be holding up this year as expected.  Over the last few weeks the...

Community Outreach, Environmental Education / 05.11.2010

In October, Friends of the Osa’s Environmental Education program, working with ACEPESA (Central American Association for the Economy, Health and Environment), started conducting workshops in the community of La Palma, Costa Rica.  These workshops are designed to raise awareness about appropriate water management and are part of a larger project, "Capacity building in coastal communities of the Golfo Dulce to improve sanitation conditions." The objective of this project is to contribute to community awareness about the responsible use of water resources and the proper management of wastewater through the...

Sea Turtles, Volunteers and Visitors / 04.11.2010

We’ve completed another month of the sea turtle conservation program on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica and we’re getting close to the end of the nesting season. After 4 months of tireless work by our field coordinators, field assistants and volunteers, we have registered a total of 1233 sea turtle nests, between Piro and Carate (Fig. 1). As I mentioned earlier, for logistical reasons, we cannot gather daily information from all beaches and visits to Rio Oro beach have been very limited, so this number of sea turtle nests should...

Birds / 31.10.2010

[caption id="attachment_1774" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Female Rufous-tailed Jacamar"][/caption] Some might say that the Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficacauda) is reminiscent of a Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher for its similar color patterns and heavy bill whereas others might see this bird and think of it as an oversized hummingbird.   Whatever side you fall on it’s a species that you can’t seem to get enough of and is hard to turn away from for its brilliant colors and sassy attitude. There are 15 species of jacamar in Tropical America which belong in their own family Galbulidae...

Birds / 24.10.2010

[caption id="attachment_1751" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Red-legged Honeycreeper"][/caption] The Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus) can be found here on the Osa Peninsula and can often be seen wandering through humid forest canopies and open areas with its other Honeycreeper relatives the Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza), the Shining Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes lucidus) and the Blue Dacnis (Dacnis cayana).  For those novice birders trying to get their bird bearings here in the tropics, one can at first glance mistake the Blue Dacnis or the Shining Honeycreeper for a Red-legged Honeycreeper.  At least I did the...

Birds / 17.10.2010

[caption id="attachment_1702" align="alignleft" width="197" caption="Male Turquoise Cotinga. Photo by Ulises Quintero"][/caption] This week as promised I am bringing you the Turquoise Cotinga (Cotinga ridgwayi).  This is definitely one of those species of bird that makes you go "WOW" when you see it.  This is also one of Costa Rica's most sensitive species to loss of forest habitat.  BirdLife International has this Cotinga species listed as Vulnerable which puts it one step away from be considered Endangered.  It is a regional endemic only found on the Pacific slope of...

Community Outreach, Land Conservation and Forest Restoration / 12.10.2010

On September 26th, Friends of the Osa participated in the second annual Puerto Jiménez mangrove and beach cleanup. This activity is part of a global Ocean Conservancy initiative, with  Terra Nostra as the Costa Rican organizer and the Puerto Jiménez Environmental Coalition as the local organizer. We had around 60 participants, including students, girl scouts, Frontier volunteers, community members, hotel staff from Lapa Rios, Bosque del Cabo, El Remanso and other local organizations such as ASCONA.  In total, we cleaned 1.5km of beach and 0.5km of mangrove. Looking at the results...

Birds / 10.10.2010

[caption id="attachment_1640" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Riverside Wren Nest. Photo by Jim Tamarack and Cheryl Chip"][/caption] A few weeks ago I posted a birder’s challenge question where I asked you to tell me how the Riverside Wren (Thryothorus semibadius) was positioned in its nest (go to the archived story here).  Here is the recap and your responses. Since Riverside Wrens are known at times for roosting inside their nests during all seasons of the year with sometimes two or three individuals at a time we wondered about this particular wren when...

Birds / 03.10.2010

Have you ever sat and marveled at the wonder of bird migration; the journey that birds undertake between their winter and summer homes?  Well if so, you’re not alone, and it is a cause for celebration!  Each year hundreds of thousands of people gather to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) in support of migratory bird conservation. You may be asking yourself, why a post on a day normally held in May.  Aha, that all depends on where you are in the hemisphere.  Because there is more than one...

Birds / 26.09.2010

[caption id="attachment_1483" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Pale-billed Woodpecker Male. Photograph by Alan Dahl"][/caption] Of the eight woodpecker species that are found on the Osa Peninsula, the Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis) is the largest with a length of 35 cm (14 inches) rivaling only the superficially similar, and range overlapping Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus).  In fact, the Pale-billed Woodpecker is most closely related to the extremely elusive north temperate species the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, both belonging to the same genus, Campephilus.  This species ranges from southern Mexico to Western Panama. The Pale-billed is...