Costa Rica is a Theme

Can't seem to get away from Costa Rica at the moment! Tonight I met Alex Villegas from Costa Rica who has recorded the calls of 92 species of frogs in that country--and that's not even all of them.

Hawk Owl's Nest has been documenting his recent adventures in Costa Rica. If you haven't seen the photo of his magpie jay, go look now. It's like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy got hold of a blue jay and tweaked it a little.

Carrol Henderson is tempting me to distraction with more photos from his latest Costa Rica trip. Isn't the above black and white owl adorable! If I were a small mammal, I would be honored to be eaten by such a cool looking raptor!

While Carrol was in Costa Rica he saw many birds that breed in the states including this wood thrush. Some of you may know that wood thrushes have been in decline. The most common early theories that I head bandied about were saying that migratory habitat loss and cowbirds were the problem (cowbirds lay their eggs in other birds nest, disturbing the nesting success of of the host species). But Clay told me that John Fitzpatrick gave a talk explaining that acid rain had caused an imbalance in soil, causing a decline in slugs, an important food source for wood thrushes.

I have a special place for wood thrushes. When I was 13, we moved to a house with a good sized yard and a woods next to it. I remember in spring and summer hearing a bird that we could never see. One morning, my mom and I decided that we were going to find this gorgeous singer to identify it. We followed and followed with our binos as the bird kept flying away tucking itself int he canopy. Finally, we caught a glimpse of the white chest with black spots and brown back. We were surprised that such a pretty bird, was fairly brown. It took us a long time to follow it and finally see it, but we always enjoyed listening to him sing. Once I remember waking up right before dawn and hearing hundreds of robins singing and one lone wood thrush making his song known.

You can visit the fabulous Lang Elliot's site here to hear the sweet song of the wood thrush.