hawk-watching in Costa Rica

Hawk Watching Trip to Raptor Ridge

February 13, 2014 by Nick Hawkins No Comment

I recently spent a couple of days doing some hawk watching and general birding up at Raptor Ridge with Larry Landstrom and Ruth Rodriguez. We had some great bird watching with the skies around the mountain filled with raptors. We had many looks at the pair of white hawks that nest nearby and we also had good sightings of King Vulture, with two being seen at the same time. It seems like the presence of  King Vulture in Tambor Bay may be greater then we previously thought. Other species sighted include short-tailed hawk, zone-tailed hawk, plumbeous kite, broad-winged hawk, gray hawk and even a bat falcon! You can CLICK HERE to see more photos on facebook.

White hawk in Tambor bay, Costa Rica

The pair of white hawks are nesting nearby, although exactly where we are not sure.

King vulture soaring in Costa Rica

King Vulture passing overhead

As if that wasn’t enough, the canopy of the trees below the watch site were alive with activity. Red-legged honeycreeper, yellow throated euphonia, western tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak, and painted bunting were just a few of the species we recorded in one fruiting tree.

Long-tailed Manakin

Long-tailed Manakin

Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting

Red-legged Honeycreeper

Red-legged Honeycreeper

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Western Tanager in Costa RIca

Western Tanager

yellow throated euphonia at raptor ridge

Yellow-throated Euphonia

In the early morning, Larry and I set out along the trail system and encountered a large flock of birds that were feeding above a swarm of army ants. The flock contained many species; gray headed and red-crowned ant-tanagers, ruddy, northern barred, streaked and olivaceous woodcreeper, blue-crowned motmot, long-tailed manakin, barred antshrike and yellow-billed cacique. We even caught a glimpse of the elegant trogon.

Other birds of interest included a grayish saltator that was very vocal around the property and black-and-white owls that were heard throughout the night.

It will be interesting to spend more time at this location during spring hawk migration, when thousands of migrant raptors push northward to their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada.  It appears that little is known about hawk migration on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. Please stay tuned for news of upcoming events related to hawk watching at Raptor Ridge!

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