Slaty flowerpiercer is new to San Antonio

Male Slaty flowerpiercer at Irazù Volcano

Male Slaty flowerpiercer at Irazù Volcano

How many new birds can possibly keep arriving in the church yard?  The Slaty flowerpiercer (Diglossa plumbea) is a bird I associate with high elevations because my only sightings have been on the Irazú and Turrialba volcano slopes.

This photo, from 2008, is of my first sighting.  The volcano crater is to the right, below the rim where I took the photo.  I was quite bamboozled because I was relatively new to Costa Rican birds and I searched the guides in vain for this blue bird.  The up-turned bill with its down-turned hook finally determines it, because no other species fits the bill (sorry about that).

Today’s experience in the San Antonio church yard was similar in that I dismissed the bird at first as another dull-looking Tennessee warbler.  This time it’s a female flowerpiercer, though no sign of the white on the belly advertised in the bird guides.

I was checking to make sure that the Cape May warbler is still here (it is) because Adilio Zeledón and friend Tito from Acosta will arrive in a couple of hours to get a good photograph of it.  The bottle-brush trees are still attracting a host of customers, but the flowerpiercer was totally unexpected and would seem to be a rarity here.  Unfortunately, it’s Semana Santa and there is a lot of noise now in the church yard.

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