Monday, February 23, 2009

Swainson's Hawks wintering in Guanacaste

During a recent two week trip to Guanacaste I ran across a group of 102 Swainson's Hawks sitting on the ground in a recently tilled field that was being flooded by irrigation waters. This was on February 11 in the rice and sugar cane fields just West of the entrance to Palo Verde NP. The wind was really blowing hard and the birds appeared to be resting more than looking for food. I see Swainson's Hawks regularly in this area during the winter months but usually in flocks of 10-20. Never seen a group this big outside of migration periods. The majority of these birds appeared to be dark morph individuals. In early January Richard Garrigues sent me a note he received from a visiting Canadian birder (Ian Platt) who on January 1 saw a group of 35 mostly light morph birds kiting and circling over the east end of the Liberia airport.

There were also a good number (15+) of Tree Swallows mingling with hundreds of Barn Swallows over the flooded rice fields near the entrance to Palo Verde NP, a fairly unusual sight.

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