Long-billed starthroat downhill at San Diego

Long-billed starthroat

I can’t really categorize the cabins at San Diego as “In My Patch” but it’s only a twenty-minute walk away.  Since going there regularly, I have found it to be quite the best local spot for birds within a walk of the house.   I think the latest sighting, long views of a male Long-billed starthroat (Heliomaster longirostris) visiting flowering poró, must be a bit of a coup.  According to the literature, it is no longer common anywhere in Costa Rica and is a rarity on the Caribbean side, as also in the eastern Central Valley, which I imagine still includes Turrialba.  The only other hummingbird with which it can be confused seems to be the Plain-capped starthroat (Heliomaster constantii), which I believe is the bird that I saw very frequently at Ometepe, Nicaragua.  My San Diego starthroat had an almost turquoise forecrown and no post-ocular stripe.  Gonzalo and I were able to see it at very close range for quite a while, and the bill’s length in comparison to the bird’s size really is impressive.

A glittering male Violet sabrewing, our largest hummer

This time of year seems to be particularly good for hummingbirds.  A pair of Violet sabrewings is now fully established at one of my big heliconias, and Green-breasted mango is no longer so hard to find.  Add to this the recent appearances of White-crested coquette, White-necked jacobin, Magnificent hummingbird and Violet-crowned woodnymph and it’s fairly remarkable.  Violet-headed hummingbird is reported by neighbour Wiet from nearby San Rafael.  Green and Stripe-throated hermit are also not too difficult to find wherever there is a bit of forest.  When I first came here, I could find little else but Rufous-tailed hummingbird.

A lovely week capped off when Hannia returned me my bird guides, both now nicely rebound.  Muchas gracias!

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