Every day, or at the least every week, brings something new or unexpected. The last couple of weeks have brought three migrants that had escaped me in the previous three years. In addition the White-throated crake (Laterallus albigularis), whose photo introduces my blog, is now within earshot of the house for the first time. Here’s another photo, just because this common but elusive bird is so beautiful.
The new migrants were two Oporornis warblers, the Kentucky Warbler (Oporornis formosus) and the Mourning warbler (Oporornis philadelphia), and the Wood thrush (Hylocichla mustelina). None of these is by any means a rarity and there’s not much comparison with the latest exciting discoveries in Costa Rica of two rare Dendroicas, the Golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) and the Prairie warbler (Dendroica discolor), but I was thrilled to see them here anyway.
Well, I was not thrilled to find the Kentucky warbler
because it was the unfortunate victim of our cat. The Kentucky warbler is a species that tends to forage close to the ground and thus it fell easy prey to the cat, whose presence I tolerate only to avoid the threat of divorce from my wife. I bet he catches a bird a day. Sometimes I can rescue them (I released a juvenile Rufous-collared sparrow from his jaws this very morning) but who knows how many he secretly devours?
I have seen the Kentucky warbler down at CATIE, and in fact at least one was banded down there the same week. The Mourning warbler is quite common at the live fence area at CATIE, but the female in the church yard opposite my house was my first view for San Antonio.
On a brief walk this week to a small forest remnant next to Quebrada La Loca, I heard the unmistakable sound of a Wood thrush and was lucky enough to get a good look at its beautiful rufous crown and the big spots on the underparts. I heard the same bird in the same location the next day, again in the late afternoon. It is regularly banded at CATIE down outside Turrialba, and here’s a photo to prove it.
Today brought the chance to see a Yellow-olive flycatcher (Tolmomyias sulphurescens) up fairly close. This species is not at all common hereabouts, and it’s always difficult to determine if it’s really this species. It’s too big to confuse with the Paltry tyrannulet (Zimmerius vilissimus), which has similar yellow edging on the wings and is a common resident here in San Antonio, but it looks almost identical to the Yellow-margined flycatcher (Tolmomyias assimilis) which appears right next to it in Garrigues & Dean’s indispensable guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. The bird I saw in the higuerón definitely had a pale iris, and on that basis I pronounce it to be the Yellow-olive! A bold statement, I’m sure, since the head was very grey, which would make it the Yellow-margined. Oh dear, how I wish I had a good camera.