eBirder of the Month

Guillermo Saborio, September eBirder of the Month

Please join us in congratulating Guillermo Saborio of Santa Ana, Costa Rica, winner of the September 2017 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Our September winner was drawn from eBirders who submitted 15 or more eligible checklists with flyover codes in September. Guillermo’s name was drawn randomly from the 488 eligible eBirders who achieved the September challenge threshold. Guillermo will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for his eBirding efforts. Read more to see Guillermo’s full story!

September was an excellent month for me and now that I have won the eBirder of the Month award, it is even more so.

I started the month by visiting the Caribbean of Costa Rica, my country, along with 2 colleagues; Mckoy Umaña and José Pablo Castillo. On the way we made a mandatory stop for all birders in the Braulio Carrillo National Park, there awaited Fernando Burgalin, another friend. That morning I had a couple of very good Lifers, the first one was a little White-crowned Manakin (Dixiphia pipra) and a little later the Bare-necked Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus glabricollis) there is always the excitement of seeing a new bird, but when you seeing such an extraordinary species the adrenaline goes to the top.

At noon we continue to the sector of Guápiles, there we lived another great experience, I was able to meet the Semiplumbeous Hawk (Leucopternis semiplumbeus) and observed a large group of hundreds of Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) in migration, which of course we entered with the code: Flyover.

The next day we went to EARTH University for the first day of the annual Cerulean Warblers count, the main reason for our visit to the Caribbean. This count has been made for 12 years and is a project led by Ernest Carman, a great birder of Costa Rica who I met a year ago. Thanks to him and his project of La Lechucita Parda I saw the Aegolius ridgwayi. At EARTH we started counting around 7am, finding almost 100 species but only 1 individual of Cerulean Warbler. Although it was not what we expected, I left very happy because I took another pair of lifers; the Purple-throated Fruitcrow (Querula purpurata) and the Tiny Hawk, a little raptor I had been longing to see.

In the afternoon we went to Las Brisas Nature Reserve, where Ernesto started the study/count of Ceruleans along with other colleagues years ago. These birds migrate from the forests of eastern North America to Colombia, Venezuela and other southern countries. In their passage in theory they pass through much of Central America, but curiously they concentrate in the area of Las Brisas more than most. That day in the afternoon the group saw 20 Ceruleans, for me it was not Lifer but we could appreciate well the variety of males, females and juveniles. Something that I had not had a chance at before, and the best of all is that I could take some photographs.

At the end of the count we all met in a pizzeria since Ernesto wanted to thank us for the collaboration and to award prizes of a contest. To my surprise I got the second place for a photograph of a female and I won a coffee mug and a packet of Café Cristina that would be my first prize for birding, I love that coffee brand so it was a great prize.

Before leaving, Ernesto led us to another Las Brisas property and I was able to see the Rufescent Tiger-Heron to end that great weekend.

In the next few days I did not go out much, but I kept sending eBird lists. It’s something I usually do, even if I do not visit ‘special’ places to observe birds, I think it’s important to contribute data whenever one can.

In the middle of the September independence is celebrated in Costa Rica, and I took advantage of the weekend to visit the La Fortuna area with my family. There I met up with Jorge Gabriel Campos, a friend who lives there and knows the area very well. In the evening we visited the Path of Bogarín, a place where it is very common to observe Uniform Crake, where we had one although I did not manage to photograph it. That was my last lifer of the month. At night we went to an area called Peninsula to look for owls, and even though we only saw a Mottled Owl, we were able to record 2 types of different vocalizations and add them to eBird. On the way back to the hotel the car broke down and we could not continue to bird. As it was a holiday, I did not find any mechanic to help me, luckily at the hotel we stayed we had chosen eBird, it is another great application of this application.

The rest of the month, I could not go anywhere outside the city, but I kept sending lists from my house, as I do every day. Keep birding!