Yellow-throated Warbler down at San Diego

Migration is definitely early this year and each day seems to bring something new. I hadn’t visited my patch down at San Diego for more than a month, so on Monday of this week I took the opportunity to walk down fairly early in the morning to see what I might see. Migrating swallows were strangely absent, and in fact I ended up with only three migratory species. Among these, however, was a surprise in the form of the Yellow-throated Warbler (Setophaga dominica). The excellent photo below comes by kind courtesy of Kenneth Cole Schneider and flickr’s Creative Commons.

The first location really hopping with birds was the now abandoned cottage plot that belongs to Chalo Porras’ brother. This site is an open area on the fringe of thick forest and a steep drop down to a stream below. Chestnut-headed Oropendolas were in the highest trees, and a mixed flock of small songbirds included a pair of what I took to be Yellow-olive Flycatchers (Tolmomyias sulphurescens) with a begging juvenile. My best looks were of the juvenile, and at close quarters the broad, slightly flat bill is very noticeable. As mentioned in Stiles & Skutch (A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica), which I think should be called THE Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica), the iris of the juvenile is brown, not pale. I am a little concerned that the nesting period for the species ends in June! Why is a juvenile still begging?

This species is much more common here than the look-alike Yellow-margined Flycatcher (Tolmomyias assimilis), the iris of which is always brown. A quick check of eBird’s wonderful data base shows that there is only one recent local record of the Yellow-margined, down on the Rio Pacuare at Tres Equis, which leads me now to question a sighting of mine from my garden last December, 2014.

After the little mixed flock passed, another flock appeared, this time huge, of up to 75 Chestnut-headed Oropendolas. My wife had actually spotted the same flock up above at San Rafael shortly before. My final thrill (yes, Richard, it is a thrill) was my first glimpse of a male White-crowned Manakin (Dixiphia pipra), an uncommon Caribbean species but here well within its range (500-1500 m elevation). I still need a photo of this species, one that doesn’t require many complicated permissions.

Male white-crowned manakin

Male White-crowned Manakin By Hector Bottai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Here now is the list for my morning visit to San Diego de San Antonio:

  1. Black Vulture
  2. White-throated Crake
  3. Red-billed Pigeon
  4. White-tipped Dove
  5. Crowned Woodnymph
  6. White-crowned Parrot
  7. Common Tody-flycatcher
  8. Yellow-olive Flycatcher
  9. Social Flycatcher
  10. Gray-capped Flycatcher
  11. White-crowned Manakin
  12. Red-eyed Vireo
  13. Brown Jay
  14. Blue-and-white Swallow
  15. House Wren
  16. Stripe-breasted Wren
  17. Clay-colored Thrush
  18. Black-and-white Warbler
  19. Tropical Parula
  20. Blackburnian Warbler
  21. Yellow-throated Warbler
  22. White-lined Tanager
  23. Passerini’s Tanager
  24. Blue-gray Tanager
  25. Scarlet-thighed Dacnis
  26. Green Honeycreeper
  27. Variable Seed-eater
  28. Bananaquit
  29. Black-headed Saltator
  30. Black-striped Sparrow
  31. Melodious Blackbird
  32. Chestnut-headed Oropendola
  33. Montezuma Oropendola
  34. Yellow-throated Euphonia


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