Crimson-collared tanager in San Antonio


A disappointing week was redeemed by a sighting of this beautiful bird close by the house here in San Antonio. Many thanks to Richard Garrigues who supplied the photograph from his files.

Migrants have not yet arrived at all here below the volcano, and down at CATIE only a lone Northern waterthrush (Seiurus noveboracensis) and a Prothonotary warbler (Protonotaria citrea) have arrived so far, both of which I have yet to identify here in San Antonio.

On the other hand, CATIE reported a King vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) flying low in accompaniment of many Black vultures, and a juvenile Nightingale wren (Micorcerculus philomela) was banded by Alejandra.   My continued absence because of either health or car problems caused me to miss this small dark wren, which would have been a life bird for me.  It is described as rather uncommon in this southern area of the Caribbean, and of course it’s difficult to see because of its skulking habits.

CATIE was helping in a 6-hour bird census specifically aimed at the Cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea) but, again, I coudn’t attend.  This warbler is a species that I have never seen in my life.  Instead, I spent more or less the same Sunday hours poking around the neighbourhood here.  I didn’t find any warblers at all, nor vireos, but I got a good look at a Stripe-throated hermit and then was suprised to find the lone Crimson-collared tanager (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus) just a little way up the Cinchona road.  This is perhaps only the second or third time that I’ve been able to see this supposedly common bird.  The other sightings were at my feeder with not very good lighting conditions, and so I was stunned to see how beautiful this bird is when you get it in full sunlight.  It has the same colour combinations as the abundant Passerini’s tanager, but the lovely red on head and breast preclude any chance of error.  My short jaunt was rounded off by a Tropical pewee.  This bird was very yellowish below when seen in the open, and, although it did not call, I am pretty sure of its identification.  The migrant wood pewees are of course a possibility at this time of the year.

Unfortunately, CATIE’s count didn’t turn up any warblers either, but I would have loved to have been part of the official census.

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