Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stormy weather

A couple of days ago, it started raining here in Tortuguero, on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, and it hasn't stopped since. The rain has been heavy at times, which even caused a power outage for most of the morning today.

As the rain was letting up a bit towards midday, I thought I'd venture out on the beach to see what's doing.

Immediately I realized that the birding there was as fabulous as it was difficult. Strong winds, darkness from heavy overcast skies combined with the rain made for very poor visibility. But there was a good number of birds out there, especially Laughing Gull was abundant. There was a constant stream of laughers heading southeast parallel to the beach, and I think I saw nearly a thousand individuals in about an hour's time.

Black Noddy
Other birds seen were two jaeger spp., a Common Tern, a couple of sulids, and this bird, a Black Noddy. Unlike the others, this is a true pelagic and not normally seen from the beach here.

The sulids were likely Brown Boobies, a species that I see regularly off the beach here, even in calm weather. Although I wouldn't rule out Red-footed Booby. Last Sunday, someone brought in a sickly booby, which died later that day. Despite its yellow legs and feet, certain measurements (specifically tarsus and tail) and plumage characters (uniform dark plumage, light tip to dark tail) pointed in the direction of the locally much rarer, because much more pelagic, Red-footed Booby.

Brown Booby
This bird, however, I believe is a juvenile Brown Booby.

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