The estuary at San Jose Del Cabo

10,000 Birds

The first thing most people think of when the Baja, Mexico comes up, is “Cabo” or Cabo San Lucas, as it is officially called. For me, the southernmost end of the Baja, is all about the estuary in nearby San Jose Del Cabo. Birding Belding's Yellowthroat Mexico Northern Harrier San Jose Del Cabo White-faced IbisSquid Row, Cabo Crazies, and of course the Spring Break follies!

Profile of Peter Young, Animal Rights Activist

Critter News

From the San Jose Mercury News. Fascinating spotlight on an activist known for freeing imprisoned animals. He was himself eventually imprisoned for two years as a result.

Legal Efforts to Dismiss the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

Critter News

The defense demanded that the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) be struck down as unconstitutional before Judge Ronald Whyte of the United States District Court, Northern District of California in San Jose. I found this on the Twin Cities Indy Media blog. On July 13th, defense attorneys for Joseph Buddenberg, Maryam Khajavi, Nathan Pope and Adriana Stumpo (the AETA 4) presented oral arguments on their motion to dismiss the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

SRI Denies Access to the Humane Society

Critter News

From the San Jose Mercury News. The organization is supposed to check whether an animal that bites a human poses a continued threat, is vaccinated for such diseases as rabies, and might need to be quarantined, said John Conley, deputy director of public health for San Mateo County.The humane society was rebuffed twice by the research facility, first on Sunday after the incident was reported and again on Monday when it sent a representative to see the monkey.

Three Perfect Reasons to Bird Socorro, Costa Rica – Coffee, Proximity, and Quality

10,000 Birds

Even if you had to spend a few frustrating days stuck in the urban wonderland of San Jose and surroundings, you still share the streets and parks with screeching Crimson-fronted Parakeets. However, few people come to this beautiful country to be stuck in San Jose; some plane it here for the beach life, others for zip-lining and tropical adventure. Proximity – Although this area is fairly close to San Jose, the nearness in this case is all about the birds.

2018 62

A Dozen Quick and Easy Hummingbirds in Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

The following are twelve such species of hummingbirds easily seen after an hour or so drive from the San Jose area: Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. It more or less replaces the Rufous-tailed Hummingbird at higher elevations and is a common, easy bird to watch and take pictures of at the Volcan Restaurant and and other site in the hills above San Jose.

Solutions for the Top Five Complaints when Birding in Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

As soon as you leave the airport near San Jose, unless you are coming from the southeastern states during the summer months, you won’t help but notice the higher level of humidity. San Jose Traffic : Ouch! Most birding time in Costa Rica is spent away from San Jose so no problem there. If you have to bird from the San Jose area, you will miss out on the traffic by leaving at five in the morning to go birding anyways.

Counting Birds in the Cloud Forests of Coronado, Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

Located in the mountains that overlook crowded San Jose, this beautiful site acts as a welcome green escape for anyone interested in a cloud forest experience, and for the birder, you could hardly ask for more exciting birding so close to the capital. If you have a four wheel drive vehicle and find yourself in San Jose with a day to spare, pay a visit to Locos por el Bosque, bird count or not, the birding is worth the trip.

How to See 300 Bird Species in 3 Days

10,000 Birds

This is how we saw 300 plus species in three days on day trips out of the San Jose area and it’s only one of several options: High and middle elevations. Those happened in the form of a visit to Cope’s where we were treated to a nice selection of lowland species at close focus length in Jose’s birding oasis followed by soul satisfying views of roosting Spectacled and Crested Owls. Birds can be enjoyed in a wide variety of ways.

2018 70

Parrots in My Costa Rican Neighborhood

10,000 Birds

The most common urban parakeet, this is the one that has become adapted to nesting on buildings, including the center of San Jose. Costa Rica is a country situated well south of the Tropic of Cancer and like most places without a winter, parrots are an essential part of the local avifauna. With 18 species of native Psittacids to choose from, birding in Costa Rica is always a thrill, especially for someone who grew up in parrotless Niagara Falls, New York!

This Week in Bird(ing) News: Orange Is the New Beak, and a Dead Parrot (No Joke!)

10,000 Birds

Meanwhile, in San Jose, Calif., If you’ve got some downtime between barbecues and fireworks (or, outside of the U.S., obsessing over World Cup matches), here’s some bird news to peruse: Loss of suitable habitat , instead of insecticides, seems to be the culprit in declining numbers of grassland birds. Know what else kills grassland birds? Ill-timed mowing … which a petition aims to stop in New York’s Hudson Valley. officials are considering bird-friendly building regulations.

2014 56

Highlights from Birding Costa Rica, 2019

10,000 Birds

The Ornate Hawk-Eagle was noticed at the last minute on our drive towards San Jose through the dense rainforests of Braulio Carrillo National Park. San Vito Birding Club meeting. In May, thanks to an invitation from the San Vito Birding Club , a group that has done excellent work in promoting birding in that part of the country, Mary and I paid a visit to this excellent area in May. I write this on the final day of the year, the last bit of 2019.

Belding’s Yellowthroat, Endemic and Endangered!

10,000 Birds

The wet lands around San Jose Del Cabo and Todos Santos are the primary areas for the population, but I have seen them in Agua Caliente and as far north as La Purisima. I have no doubt that they could also be seen in the extensive marsh areas of Magdalena Bay, Puerto Lopez Mateo and even up to San Ignacio. Thru their hard work, much of the wetlands around Todos Santos and San Jose Del Cabo have been set aside for the future of this very pretty little bird.

2016 40

Foreign Languages on a Birding Trip

10,000 Birds

At some stage, almost standing still in a traffic jam on the highway towards San Jose, I was calling a fellow 10K beat writer Pat O’Donnell, enquiring about the chances to meet in my hotel. Don’t you hate it when you cannot communicate while birding overseas? Having mobility issues, I still remember birding from a van along a rather productive dirt road in Costa Rica ( Broad-billed Motmot , Lineated Woodpecker , Cocoa Woodcreeper , etc.), while the rest of the group took a hike.

2019 62

My Trip To Costa Rica with Lifer Tours Part 1

10,000 Birds

I began the trip with a rather long drive from the airport hotel in San Jose to Punta Uva on the southern Caribbean coast for a couple of “free” days before joining the actual tour. I recently returned from a twelve day birding tour of Costa Rica with Lifer Tours guided by an incredible birder, David Rodriquez.

2019 45

Aplomado Twitch in Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

Instead of freaking out the doves in farm fields up north, our bird flew over San Jose to make house just outside Cartago, one of the main cities in Costa Rica! Unlike San Jose, the inter-montane valley where Cartago is located has a more humid environment including open areas with marshes and fields of sedge. In Costa Rica, we don’t get many chances to chase birds.

Kicking Off the Bird Count Season at Cangreja, Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

One involves a windy, leisurely ride through mountains south of San Jose, the road eventually becoming gravel with occasional pot holes as it descends to Mastatal, the main village next to the park. December is a busy time in Costa Rica. The end of the scholastic year coincides with the commencement of the “summer”dry season and a host of festivities to celebrate Christmas and the New Year.

Expectations and Suggestions for Caribbean Lowland Birding in Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

In Costa Rica, that would mean the Sarapiqui area because this is where we find the closest Caribbean lowland forests to San Jose. It takes about four or four and a half hours to drive to Casa Calateas from the San Jose area. Costa Rica is situated right between two oceans. To the north of this mountainous isthmus, we have the Atlantic. In the other direction, the Pacific.

How Many Bird Species on Poas Volcano, Costa Rica?

10,000 Birds

I sample birding on Poas more often than at other sites in Costa Rica because it’s close to home and makes for a worthwhile guided day trip from the San Jose area. The Poas area offers up some easy, excellent birding, especially for birders staying in the San Jose area with just one or two free days. Flying in to Costa Rica is accompanied by porthole views of the Central Valley and the mountains that flank it.

An Absolute Beginner in Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

And in the late afternoon of Wednesday, October 11th, I landed at the Juan Santamaria airport of the capital San Jose (I’ll be honest with you – before I was invited to the country, I didn’t know the name of its capital). I have just returned from Costa Rica, the country about which I knew very little, despite it coming under my radar all the way back in 1999 when the “Africa – Birds & Birding” magazine published some of John Graham’s experiences from his visit in 1993.

Impressive Highland Birding in Costa Rica at El Toucanet

10,000 Birds

This beauty is fairly common in cloud forest, even on the volcanic slopes that overlook the urban conglomeration known as San Jose. As one might surmise, a “toucanet” is a small toucan. Although still large enough to be a menace to nesting birds, they aren’t as super sized as the “quintessential toucans”, the ones we see on cereal boxes and in advertising.

A Hummingbird Quest in Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

The original idea involved a roundabout trip that went from the San Jose area to the wet foothills and lowlands of the Caribbean slope, then back up to cloud forest, high-elevation forest, way back down to the hot habitats of the Pacific coast, and then up to San Jose. Last weekend, I went on a quest. The adventure was sort of like a search for treasure, except that the jewels were feisty, feathered sprites.

Zamora Estate… Avian-rich Eco-Luxury in Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

Zamora Estate protects acres of unspoiled habitat within one of the fastest growing sections of San Jose, a holding that has sustained four generations of the Zamora family. The estate would be attractive based on location alone, since no other lodging worthy of the appellation “eco-luxe” lies less than 20 minutes from the San Jose airport.

Volcanic Birding on Irazu, Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

It’s sort of stuck between San Jose and Cartago and since it’s a volcano, it doesn’t stop at dominating the skyline. Irazu is the name of a volcano in Costa Rica. In fitting with proper volcanic decorum, it must loom or lord over a nearby populace with either a hint or a fistful of menace. Fortunately, for the moment, Irazu’s menace is diminished to a very welcoming hint.

Caribbean Lowland Birding at Ara Ambigua Lodge, Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

Although a lot of beautiful rainforest was replaced by bananas, cattle pasture, and other ag-lands many years ago, at least we can still enjoy great birding at a number of sites, most of which are easily accessible including Sarapiqui, the most visited site in the lowlands north of San Jose. As with peninsulas and places situated on an isthmus, Costa Rica has more than one coast.

Avian Gems of the Caribbean Foothills

10,000 Birds

Located less than an hour’s drive from San Jose, this latter spot also offers some of the most exciting and accessible birding near the capital of Costa Rica. Want to know a good recipe for tons of different bird species? Mix high mountains with abundant water, add warm stable temperatures, throw in a pinch of dry areas, and blend it in a place where different evolutionary lineages meet.

2017 62

Are Puffbirds Real? and Other Pertinent Questions for Birding in Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

Some other insider questions to think about before birding in Costa Rica include things like, “How can I avoid traffic in San Jose?”, A successful birding adventure tends to include a fair bit of planning. It’s needed if “success” is synonymous with seeing a higher percentage of target birds (even if that just means any possible species), the trip being rather glitch free, and having abundant coffee available at all hours.

2018 47

La Paloma, The Doves of the Baja

10,000 Birds

These Ruddy Ground Doves were found in the saltwater lagoon near San Jose Del Cabo. The country of Mexico as a whole, is host to 27 different species of doves, with the California Baja Sure home to six. The Baja, as it is known, is a truly diverse area. There is of course the dry, cactus strewn desert areas, but with mountains up to 7000 feet, the habitat for our local birds is quite varied. We have expanse saltwater lagoons, Rocky ocean shores, and fresh water streams and lakes.

2016 40

The Little Big Year: Week 40 – Last week in CR, and The Quetzal!

10,000 Birds

We spent to bulk of the week in the San Isidro El General area, staying there as well as up in the Quizarra area. We had three nights in The Birders Retreat Air BnB, two nights in San Isidro proper, and then back to Quizarra to stay at the Valle de Luna BNB for our last night. Our trip to Costa Rica has come to an end, and sadly, it ended with one of the best weeks of birding in the entire year.

2018 67

Birdmania at the Cano Negro Bird Count, Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

That’s where most of Costa Rica’s population resides and because of that, it’s also why we headed out around dawn, happily leaving the long line of vehicles on their way to San Jose in the rear view mirror. One of our first was at the remnant marshes of El Silencio, a small site just off the San Ramon-la Fortuna road that is always worth checking. I have a confession to make. Last weekend, I went on a birding binge.

End of the Road Birding in Costa Rica at Luna Lodge

10,000 Birds

This foot-shaped piece of land in southern Costa Rica is just about as far from San Jose as you can go without leaving the country. For the birder, roads are an ironic boon. Whether made of asphalt, gravel, or dirt, they help us reach more birding sites in less time. In many places, roads bring us to ever distant nature but the downside is that roads also give access to people who would rather replace forests, wetlands, and grasslands with unsustainable housing and agriculture.

Where to Stay on Your First Day of Birding in Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

In Costa Rica, since winter doesn’t exist, June is kind of like every other month except that it rains more and the little summer of San Juan is right around the corner. If you want to go the relaxed route, don’t worry, there’s still plenty to see in hotel gardens in and near San Jose. It’s the end of June and up north, the birds are busy with their young, and taking full advantage of the summer’s arthropod bounty.

Easy, Bonus Birding at Cano Negro, Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

From San Jose, it takes four to four and a half hours but given the excellent birding opps on the way, you might want to allocate a bit more time. Since we took the very birdy route past San Ramon, we of course did, and ended up seeing several tanagers, and excellent looks at the Northern Schiffornis at the start of the Manuel Brenes road. There are lots of great birding sites in Costa Rica.

Birding Southern Baja: Todos Santos

10,000 Birds

Many gringos make their way to Baja California Sur every year, although the majority are probably heading to Cabo San Lucas to party and test the human limit of tequila endurance. Todos Santos lies about an hour northwest of the bad craziness of Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific side of the peninsula. For years I heard the estero at San Jose del Cabo was the place to go to see Belding’s Yellowthroat, another Baja endemic. A male Belding’s Yellowthroat.

2014 80

A Brief Guide to Birding Costa Rica in 2016

10,000 Birds

Well, it is around San Jose and on the Pacific slope but not on the Caribbean side of the mountains. Are you headed to Costa Rica this year? I hope so because the birding and biodiversity are fantastic, and the flight time from most places in the USA is less than six hours. In other words, it’s easier to bird than most might think.

2016 44

Little Big Year -Week 38: Our first week in Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

After landing in San Jose ay close to 10:00 PM, we made our way to our first Air BnB just north of the airport. Ah, Costa Rica, so long I have dreamed of visiting you and your amazing birds. Well, here I am, and so far I love this place. We will be here for three full weeks, so I should get to see most of the major habitat zones before we leave, if only the weather will help us out.

2018 45

Birding Morelia

10,000 Birds

One of the advantages of Morelia as a birding/tourist destination is that we receive direct flights from Houston on United, Dallas/Fort Worth on American, and Los Angeles, Oakland, San Jose (California), and Chicago/Midway on the Mexican carrier Volaris. If you are like me, you can get a fair amount of birding done while traveling with your non-birder spouse… as long as you make sure you visit places with lots of other interesting activities, to keep that spouse happy.

2019 67

And it’s a wrap….

10,000 Birds

I caught this Lark Sparrow at San Blas, near Magdalena Bay , just as the sun was setting. There is a small Federal Reserve, set aside on the white sandy beach near San Jose Del Cabo, in order to protect the nesting Least Terns. And so, here it is, the last story that I will be posting for 2016.

2016 56

How to Start and End a Birding Trip to Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

Since Costa Rica is a such a small place, heck, you can go even further afield without too much worries and stay at sites just 3 hours from San Jose at most. March is birding madness in Costa Rica. People with binos roam the forests in lightweight khaki clothes. They hold up traffic to stare into a flowering tree, take over hotels, and DEMAND easy access to bird feeders from the hot sunny coast to the high reaches of the misty paramo. Hell yeah!

2016 41

Collaborative list – February 2020

10,000 Birds

Embalse San Miguel, Turrúcares (acceso restringido). Embalse San Miguel, Turrúcares (acceso restringido). Embalse San Miguel, Turrúcares (acceso restringido). San Miguel to Virgen del Socorro road. Embalse San Miguel, Turrúcares (acceso restringido). Villa San Ignacio, Alajuela. Villa San Ignacio, Alajuela. Villa San Ignacio, Alajuela. Villa San Ignacio, Alajuela. San Luis Canopy. Villa San Ignacio, Alajuela.

2020 50