Yellow-breasted chat still here

Yellow-breasted chat

Yellow-breasted chat

On January 3rd I reported the Yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens)from my garden here in San Antonio de Santa Cruz for the first time. As of this week (Jan. 24), however, the “big warbler”, as it is termed literally in Spanish (reinita grande), is still here, though it is always hard to find. The species does appear on the Checklist for CATIE (see my checklists), though there is no indication that there have been any recent sightings.

The heavy rains, which have now persisted since late November, have sometimes made it challenging to stray too far from home looking for birdies. Another great find this week, however, was a female Slaty flowerpiercer (Diglossa plumbea) feeding on rabo de gato (porterweed) just above the village. The peculiar bill shape is the thing to look for in order to exclude species such as the Peg-billed finch and the Slaty finch, which, like the flowerpiercer, are found at higher elevations in Costa Rica. Perhaps this species is more common at our altitude (1288 m) than I thought, but the only other local record I have is mine from April of 2014 and it is cited neither on the Checklist for the nearby Espino Blanco Reserve nor, quite understandably, on the CATIE Checklist.

Female Slaty flowerpiercer

Female Slaty flowerpiercer

Photos are by kind permission of flickr’s Creative Commons:


Many thanks to Marcel Holyoak and Matt MacGillivray respectively for their fine photos.

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