We don’t have nowt like this in Rotherham. I often still mumble this phrase with a certain awe, but it certainly doesn’t apply to the current weather situation here in Turrialba, where it’s rained almost non-stop for nearly three weeks now. Here in the mountains it feels somewhat like a bad July in Rotherham, my home town in south Yorkshire, and we would light the fire if we had some coal. The supply of wood is all soggy.
On the other hand, a quick walk around yesterday in between showers brought several interesting sightings, including a new hummingbird for the house list, the White-necked jacobin (Florisuga mellivora) . It was actually a beautiful male sitting in the bottle-brush tree over at the doctor’s weekend retreat just opposite us, but I have no photo of a male. It is found quite regularly a little lower down the slopes and we have banded it a couple of times at CATIE, but it was a surprise here.
The photograph above is of a female from the CATIE banding. The speckled throat and breast and the all-dark bill are diagnostic for distinguishing the female from other similar females.
The doctor’s bottle-brush trees (he has two large specimens) are a constant attraction to birds when they flower, and yesterday they contained Baltimore oriole, Bananaquit, Rufous-tailed hummingbird, Tennessee and Chestnut-sided warblers, as well as the usual collection of local tanagers, Blue-gray, Palm and Passerini’s.
The next surprise came when I investigated the patch of woodland above the river. This is the closest piece of thick woods, and I occasionally see something on its fringes. It has no paths at all, but this time I clambered around inside for a good twenty minutes, all to no avail. When I escaped and groped my way back up the hill, however, I was rewarded with excellent views of a Yellow-olive flycatcher (Tolmomyias sulphurescens). I recorded this species here in my first year but in retrospect I was never sure of the id. Now I am. The lack of bright yellow on the wing margins excludes the other main contender, the Yellow-margined flycatcher (Tolmomyias assimilis), and I got a good look at the pale iris and the bill.
Quebrada La Loca, one of the local streams, is churning hard but I haven’t been able to find the Sunbittern anywhere this week. Long-tailed silky-flycatcher (Ptylogonis caudatus) and Chestnut-headed oropendola (Psaracolius wagleri) have been gone for a while now, but a single oropendola of that species in company with several Montezumas appeared as if by magic just after I spotted the flycatcher. My little excursion was made complete by a very handsome mature male Black-throated green warbler (Dendroica virens) near the bottle-brush trees.
Today I’m going to try out the new system for feeding the birds that I learned in Horquetas. I have already placed the bamboos in position and now I have to pierce bananas, plantains, papayas and such and spike them on the bamboo stalks. This will prevent, I hope, one large bird dominating the whole feeder. We’ll see how the squirrels deal with it.
Photos to come.