Immature male (?) Scarlet tanager at San Diego

Scarlet tanager, despite its colours! Courtesy of Gary Leavens and flickr's Creative Commons

Scarlet tanager, despite its colours! Courtesy of Gary Leavens and flickr’s Creative Commons

A non-breeding male (or female?) Scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea) was present with a small mixed flock the other day down on Chalo Porras’s property in San Diego. The contrast between the dark wings and rear half of the bird with the yellow foreparts excluded other candidates, such as female Hepatic and Summer tanagers. I am very familiar with the latter, but I have never seen the female Hepatic and did not, do not, consider it a possibility here. Field guides indicate that several of the Piranga tanagers should be located here but only the Summer tanager appears with regularity in the San Antonio area, in migration of course.

As an aside, I can mention that I have had just one previous sighting of male Scarlet tanagers (two birds) here in San Antonio, and Flame-colored tanagers are found higher up on the Turrialba Volcano slope.

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