Spotted sandpiper climbs rock face at Cascada La Muralla

Cascada La Muralla, courtesy of José Prieto

Cascada La Muralla, courtesy of José Prieto

With Andalusian guests in the house I joined their excursions this week. One of the most beautiful experiences for them was our visit to Cascada La Muralla, located at about 45 minutes’ leisurely walk from the house.  The waterfall was as stunning as ever, first in bright sunlight and then later in gloom as the neblina moved in.

Although the excursion had nothing to do with birds per se, I kept the binoculars handy and stayed watchful.  First duty, however, was to making the walk enjoyable for my guests, José and Carmen, and Guillermo and Amelia. Since we were late setting out we took their car part of the way and then hiked the second, flatter part to La Cinchona, above the waterfall.

No birds of note were to be seen, although I could have lingered on a couple of occasions for small groups of warblers and tanagers. Migration is now in full swing and the first Yellow-throated vireos and Yellow warblers have arrived. The Yellow warblers can be confusing because bright yellow birds are found along with very pale yellow juvenile females.  Red-eyed vireos and Baltimore orioles are also now in my garden each day, while the Black-and-white warbler seems particularly common. Among the resident tanagers, a Silver-throated tanager appeared unusually close to the house today.

No spots on this bird in non-breeding plumage, nor were there on mine.

No spots on this bird (photo courtesy of Karel Straatman) in non-breeding plumage, nor were there on mine.

Bird of the week award goes to a tail-bobbing Spotted sandpiper (Actitis macularius) climbing on the rock face to the right of the huge La Muralla waterfall.  It seemed crazily out of place, fluttering and climbing in a habitat more reminiscent of the European Wallcreeper. Later it flew off down the Río Guayabo. This is the nearest location to San Antonio that I have found this very common species, but it still eludes the San Antonio checklist. Its Spanish name is Andarríos or Alzacolita, both of which terms pretty much describe its usual behaviour.

The rock face bottom right of the waterfall is where the bird was scrambling upwards.

Quite a splash!

Quite a splash!

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