This past spring I decided to visit Arcata California a week after their annual Godwit Festival in April since I could not make the sanctuary festival.. The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the City of Arcata’s innovative wastewater treatment facility. The sanctuary is 307 acres, including freshwater marshes, salt marsh, tidal sloughs, grassy uplands, mudflats, brackish marsh, approximately 5 miles of walking and biking paths and an Interpretive Center. Located at the north end of Humboldt Bay, the sanctuary is situated along the Pacific Flyway, a major migratory route for thousands of birds that breed in the far north and winter in California, Mexico and Central and South America. The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary is touted as the highest bird populated coastal site between Bodega Harbor and Washington. While I had visions of masses of migrating birds the reality was somewhat more quiet. I did find a collection of Godwits, and some local ducks, egrets and shorebirds.
As part of my birdwatching tour of Costa Rica with Tropical Birding, we visited the Tárcoles River, also called the Grande de Tárcoles River or the Río Grande de Tarcoles, in Costa Rica. It originates on the southern slopes of the Cordillera Central volcanic range, at the confluence of Virilla and Grande rivers, flows south-west, passing by the Carara Biological Reserve, drifts into the Guacalillo Mangrove Estuary and eventually empties in the Gulf of Nicoya in the Pacific Ocean. Although the river is somewhat polluted, it is significant for the country’s residents, as nearly 60% of Costa Rica’s total population lives along its basins. The river is perhaps best known for its abundance of American Crocodiles. It’s said that the Tárcoles River has one of the highest populations of crocodiles in the entire world, up to 25 crocodiles per square kilometer. Several tour operators take advantage of this fact by offering river tours that guarantee croc sightings. Much of the time these large reptiles (which can grow to a length of thirty feet) can be spotted swimming through the river or sunbathing along the banks. In addition to the crocodiles, the river also supports more than 300 species of migratory, native and coastal birds. Located on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, the Guacalillo Estuary and the Tárcoles River offer the chance to observe the one of the richest mangrove forests in the mid pacific coast and the most important conservation area for the Scarlet Macaw in the country.