Turrialba Volcano National Park and the Giant Woodcreeper

Current emissions of the Turrialba Volcano

Current emissions of the Turrialba Volcano

Despite the destruction of the vegetation wreaked by the recent eruptions, the view down into the Turrialba Volcano is as stunning as ever. Two small lakes in the crater now erase all trace of the area where locals used to play football in what must have been the most bizarre of surroundings, and one wall of the crater now constantly emits huge amounts of steam. However, the forest on the southern side of the volcano remains vibrant and in large part undisturbed. It makes for wonderful birding, including good chances of finding Resplendent Quetzal. This week’s hike (for the day’s species list, see end of this article) up from El Tapojo brought me my second glimpse, albeit brief, of the Buffy Tuftedcheek, (Pseudocolaptes lawrencii) plus a great look at a rare Strong-billed Woodcreeper (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus  ) as it whacked away at mushrooms on a rotted tree-stump. The elevation would suggest the Black-banded Woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptes picumnus), also a rare species, but the colour and size of the bill indicate that it’s a Strong-billed. I could not clearly see the belly for the absence of barring. The only photograph we were able to take shows the huge bill and the bright rufous rump. The bird brought shouts of admiration from my German friends, Jörg and Waltraut, whom I thank for their photographs on this trip. The Tuftedcheek disappeared into epiphytes just behind the woodcreeper to the right.

El trepador gigante or giant woodcreeper, as it is called in Spanish

The giant woodcreeper, El trepador gigante, as it is called in Spanish

On the way back down the mist came back in, preventing us from seeing a Resplendent Quetzal that was calling just above Monte Calas. I’ll finish with Wiet Wildeman’s photo, taken from the car, of a Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher  (Phainoptila melanoxantha) that posed very conveniently for us on the road between Monte Calas and La Fuente. Species list for the day is then attached, so different from my daily lists in My Patch.

A common but beautiful highland species: male Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher

  1. Turkey Vulture
  2. Magnificent Hummingbird
  3. Fiery-throated Hummingbird
  4. Resplendent Quetzal (voice only)
  5. Collared Trogon (voice only)
  6. Strong-billed Woodcreeper
  7. Buffy Tuftedcheek
  8. Yellow-winged Vireo
  9. Blue-and-white Swallow
  10. Gray-breasted Wood-wren (voice only)
  11. Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush
  12. Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush
  13. Sooty Thrush
  14. Black-and-yellow Silky-flycatcher
  15. Flame-throated Warbler
  16. Tropical Parula
  17. Slate-throated Redstart
  18. Collared Redstart
  19. Yellow-thighed Finch
  20. Large-footed Finch
  21. Rufous-collared Sparrow
  22. Common Chlorospingus
  23. Sooty-capped Chlorospingus
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