Green violet-ear descends to San Antonio

Green violet-ear (Colibri thalassinus)

Green violet-ear (Colibri thalassinus)

Species 158 for my yard list is this common hummingbird of higher elevations.  I say 158 after a close recount of my list.  I seem to have underestimated a little bit, since I posted a blog for species 152 just a short while ago.

Despite some guidebook descriptions, the bill of this hummingbird is distinctly curved, especially when seen next to our resident Rufous-taileds.  It seems marginally smaller but it is all green, with a rounded tail that has a blueish band on it.  The clincher is the violet ear-patch, seen here so well in Richard Garrigues‘ photo.

The Green violet-ear has now spent three days in the same bottle-brush tree as the visiting Cape May warbler.  While the Cape May wards off Tennessee warblers, the Green violet-ear defends its food-source against several threatening Rufous-taileds.

It’s a good time of year for hummingbirds, as a brief trip down to don Martín’s cabin above Quebrada La Loca brought good views not only of Rufous-taileds but also of Green hermit and Violet sabrewing.  White-necked jacobin is also in the churchyard at the moment.  At Quebrada La Loca, I missed both the Fasciated tiger-heron, which is back again in its old locale, and a huge boa constrictor (béquer) that don Martín found on the far slope of the river among blackberry bushes.  The boa is supposedly restricted to lower altitudes.

Dusky-capped flycatchers and Keel-billed toucans are nesting at and behind his cabin, but he misses the Golden-hooded tanagers that nested in his hedgerow last year.  Today brought a flurry of birds that included number 159 for my list, the Philadelphia vireo (Vireo philadelphicus).  To me, this one is not easy to identify, and I have almost certainly seen it here previously without being sure of it.  This time my task was made easier because it was accompanied by several Tennessee warblers, some of which were very yellow juveniles.  The vireo’s eye-line, however, seems much more pronounced, and the bird also moves much more slowly than a warbler.

Philadelphia vireo

Philadelphia vireo


Here’s the list from a day’s sporadic birding, with several very common birds missing:

  1. Gray-headed chachalaca
  2. Cattle egret
  3. Black vulture
  4. Turkey vulture
  5. Roadside hawk
  6. Red-billed pigeon
  7. White-tipped dove
  8. Groove-billed ani
  9. Green hermit
  10. Violet sabrewing
  11. Rufous-tailed hummingbird
  12. Green violet-ear
  13. Keel-billed toucan
  14. Yellow-bellied elaenia
  15. Piratic flycatcher
  16. Common tody-flycatcher
  17. Black phoebe
  18. Dusky-capped flycatcher
  19. Great kiskadee
  20. Social flycatcher
  21. Tropical kingbird
  22. Philadelphia vireo
  23. Brown jay
  24. Blue-and-white swallow
  25. Tropical gnatcatcher
  26. Plain wren
  27. House wren
  28. Swainson’s thrush
  29. Clay-colored robin
  30. Tennessee warbler
  31. Yellow warbler
  32. Cape May warbler
  33. Chestnut-sided warbler
  34. Bananaquit
  35. Common bush-tanager
  36. White-lined tanager
  37. Passerini’s tanager
  38. Golden-hooded tanager
  39. Silver-throated tanager
  40. Blue-gray tanager
  41. Yellow-faced grassquit
  42. Black-striped sparrow
  43. Rufous-collared sparrow
  44. Buff-throated saltator
  45. Black-headed saltator
  46. Melodious blackbird
  47. Great-tailed grackle
  48. Baltimore oriole
  49. Montezuma oropendola

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