By Sean Graesser, Costa Rica: For the fifth year in a row I’ve returned to the dry forests of Costa Rica’s Nicoya peninsula, a place where many of North American’s Neotropical migrants choose to spend their winters. Mixed in with the wide variety of tropical birds species that inhabit the peninsula, there’s a lot of biodiversity to be seen.
One of the main study subjects we focus on is hummingbirds, at our main base of operation, we have eleven species of hummingbirds that we study. Long term banding studies on the site fidelity of the hummingbird species is one of our main focuses. We look at the ten resident species and one migrant species; we have been fortunate enough to recapture two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that were previously banded in other years. Meaning this avian species that weights less than a penny traveled all the way to North America and back to Costa Rica traveling thousands of miles, while still being able to pick out the singular location amongst the ocean of green vegetation along the way.
We enjoy nice variety of colorful and unique native species in the area, many of them representing species not seen in North America. Some of the most striking species are the Motmot family, below is the Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa). Another boisterous and charismatic species on the peninsula is the Barred Antshrike (Thamnophilus doliatus), these small tenacious zebra striped birds give an almost raptor like appearance while zipping in and out of the forest.
I’ll be on the Nicoya Peninsula for a few weeks doing mostly avian research, but will be taking a plethora of MYN shots of any and all things that move. I’m going to post a few more entries through out my time here, so check back if you’re interested in seeing more of Costa Rica’s spectacular wildlife.