Lost On The Way To Guayabo National Monument

Since the Monument is so close to home, I thought I’d try walking over there, setting off around 7.00 am after viewing a beautiful red-tinged dawn and drinking my Tico morning coffee.  Neither of our two resident owls made itself heard last night and I couldn’t find the Bare-shanked screech-owl at his usual perch, but the birds are really coming in on migration right now.

Rufous-capped Warbler, courtesy of Karel Straatman

Rufous-capped Warbler, courtesy of Karel Straatman

My fond hopes of a pretty ramble followed by a trout lunch were confounded because I missed the trail, but the birding turned out to be very rewarding.  Locations close to home that usually don’t bring much were choc-a-bloc with mixed flocks, and I added two birds to the house list, the Silver-throated tanager (another supposedly very common species) and the Rufous-capped warbler. The latter is indeed a common species, but occurs here at the eastern extreme of its Central Valley range.  The tanager was frolicking with a whole mess of warblers and flycatchers, but it was only the second time I’ve ever seen this ‘common to abundant’ bird, as it is described in Stiles and Skutch.

I attach my day’s list, noting that the Green kingfisher is not a regular on our area’s mountain rivers, which are largely fish-less.  For the same reason, it is not common to see herons and egrets around here, with the exception of course of the  Cattle egret.  Another nice bird was the Thick-billed seed-finch because it is mostly a lowland bird and also because I was able to get a really good look at the warm-brown females/immatures.  Perhaps now I’ll do better at being sure of the Variable seed-eaters that are more common here.  In our area, all the seed-eaters are vastly outnumbered by the Yellow-faced grassquit, a truly common bird, if ever there was one.

My stiff walk ended up taking me from San Antonio down to San Diego and then back uphill towards La Cinchona, then cutting back towards San Antonio.  The scenery is magnificent all the way, but the forest is only in remnants because of all the dairy farms, and a few cornfields and coffee plantations.  Monkeys seem never to have been in the area, with the exception of a small group of White-faced monkeys over at Juan Espino Blanco Reserve, though sloths can occasionally be seen.

Not on the list is the White-collared manakin whose wing-popping I’m sure I heard as I came up the hill from the river.  It would be the first manakin I’ve seen in the area.  On the othr hand, the Bare-shanked screech owl hoots in the background as I write this, and thus makes the list.

Here’s the list:

1. Cattle egret

2. Black vulture

3. Turkey vulture

4. Red-billed pigeon

5. White-tipped dove

6. Crimson-fronted parakeet

7. White-crowned parrot

8. Groove-billed ani

9. Bare-shanked screech-owl

10. White-collared swift

11. Rufous-tailed hummingbird

12. Green kingfisher

13. Keel-billed toucan

14. Collared araçari

15. Golden-olive woodpecker

16. Streak-headed woodcreeper

17. Paltry tyrannulet

18. Yellow-bellied elaenia

19. Common tody-flycatcher

20. Western wood-pewee

21. Black phoebe

22. Great kiskadee

23. Social flycatcher

24. Grey-capped flycatcher

25. Tropical kingbird

26. Masked tityra

27. Red-eyed vireo

28. Brown jay

29. Blue-and-white swallow

30. Barn swallow

31. Band-backed wren

32. House wren

33. Clay-coloured robin

34. Tennessee warbler

35. Tropical parula

36. Chestnut-sided warbler

37. Black-throated green warbler

38. Buff-rumped warbler

39. Rufous-capped warbler

40. Bananaquit

41. Passerini’s tanager

42. Golden-hooded tanager

43. Silver-throated tanager

44. Blue-grey tanager

45. Palm tanager

46. Thick-billed seed-finch

47. Yellow-faced grassquit

48. Rufous-collared sparrow

49. Buff-throated saltator

50. Black-headed saltator

51. Melodious blackbird

52. Great-tailed grackle

53. Baltimore oriole

54. Montezuma oropendola

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