It may be that the Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina) is a regular migrant to our area near the Turrialba Volcano, for this is just the latest of a series of sightings, beginning in November 2008, right here in my garden in San Antonio. In the first years, I simply suspected that the birds, several, were of this species. Since I had no experience with the species and very little experience here in Costa Rica, I called it my Mystery Warbler.
My repeated sightings and then my blurry but conclusive (I believe) photos of a female in 2014, have made the identification a sure one. Today I participated in ebird’s Great Backyard Bird Count and found my first definite male of the species. I managed to get two even blurrier photos of this one and I hope they confirm well enough for all that this is a non-breeding male Cape May Warbler.
Here are the blurs, which is the best my tiny camera can do. The bird stayed in the same güitite while I ran back to the house for the camera.
Now, by kind permission of Greg Lavaty and flickr’s Creative Commons, here’s what it actually looked like, but with less streaking below and the cheek patch showing just a hint of chestnut.
One final note is that this is certainly the first time I have ever had three rare bird sightings in one week. I refer not only to this Cape May Warbler and the Gray Catbird (subject of my previous post), but also to the continued appearance of the Yellow-breasted Chat, which seems to like my garden enough to hang around for what has now been several weeks.