Birds of the Tarcoles river in Costa Rica,the jewel of South America. Part 2.

If you read a description of the Tarcoles River on wikipedia it will tell you that it is a highly polluted river carrying a large percentage of the country’s waste. However, the banks of the river and the river itself is teeming with wildlife. My first view from the Tarcoles bridge was spellbinding: American crocodiles snowy egrets , grackles ,whistling ducks,woodstorks and black necked stilts to name a few. I was blown away by my first sight of this river.0G3A0317

The Tarcoles River taken from the bridge.”Watch the traffic!”

Wood storks and a flock of Black bellied whistling ducks

This blog is mostly about birds of the Tarcoles ; however you can’t ignore the American crocodiles which are huge. They open their mouths to stay cool in the heat. Apparently tour guides used to feed them chicken and they’ve never left the bridge. Nowadays Costa Ricans dissuade tourists from feeding wild animals as they are more aware of the impact on the ecology.

Crocs lying in the sun. They are there in huge numbers waiting for food from tourists


Female Nicaraguan Grackle


Willet and a spare tyre.


Yellow crowned night heron.

The night heron is a little bit of a misnomer in that they are common during the daylight. It has beautiful orange eyes and feeds mainly on crabs.


Green heron

The green heron is very common and is found near any body of water- ponds ,marshes and rivers.It has a rich brown neck, glossy greenish wings and bright yellow eyes. The one above has lost a claw.0G3A1301

Northern Jacana

The Jacana must have the longest toes. It has a distinctive yellow bill and yellow shield on its forehead and it feeds mainly on insects and small fish.


Little Blue Heron

The little blue heron is a common migrant and can be found in almost any wetland habitat in Costa Rica .The bird has a light blue bill with a black tip.

What I found amazing was the adaptability of wildlife which live and seemingly thrive on the murky , polluted banks of the Tarcoles. The amount of fish, crabs, worms and insects the river holds is fantastic and locals can be seen fishing the banks. How much longer the ecosystem can continue to sustain the rich life of the Tarcoles is another question.


Fishing the Tarcoles

I would love a job promoting this country. I only had a brief visit but it really is a birder’s paradise. Pura vida.



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