Spot-crowned Woodcreeper

On a quick trip up to my usual spot just above Calle Vargas, Larry managed a few pics of some birds commonly found there. The weather was rather uncooperative, with light mist and drizzle at times, but we had decent views of the typical woodcreeper found at high elevations, the Spot-crowned Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes affinis).

Spot-crowned Woodcreeper Calle Vargas

Spot-crowned Woodcreeper at Calle Vargas

Visiting birders will immediately see from the field guide that woodcreepers present considerable identification problems, and this particular species is extremely hard to separate from the almost identical Streak-headed Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii). Below 1500 m I always assume, probably wrongly at times, that I am looking at souleyetii. It nests here regularly very close to home (1300 m) and I am now very familiar with its call, even though that of the Spot-crowned seems somewhat similar.

A note of caution: I was with Alejandra Martinez when, some years ago, she banded both a Spot-crowned Woodcreeper and a Streak-headed Woodcreeper at the same location and on the same day during the Monitoreo de Aves down at CATIE (elevation 600 m).

Our mid-afternoon trip to Calle Vargas also brought some small flocks of tanagers. Two of the typical species are the Silver-throated Tanager (Tangara icterocephala)…..

Silver-throated Tanager - Calle Vargas

Silver-throated Tanager has a noticeably buzzy or spitting call note.

….and the Spangle-cheeked Tanager (Tangara dowii):

Spangle-cheeked Tanager Calle Vargas

This Spangle-cheeked Tanager approached low down to within just a few yards

This tanager is found fairly easily but only in Costa Rica and western Panama. It appears rather dark and unattractive at first but its plumage is very beautiful when seen in good light. With the now fading light, Larry was lucky to get any photos at all.

Here’s the list of sightings/birds heard on our brief visit:

  1. Black Guan
  2. Turkey Vulture
  3. Broad-winged Hawk
  4. Red-billed Pigeon
  5. Band-tailed Pigeon
  6. Ruddy Pigeon
  7. Squirrel Cuckoo
  8. Hairy Woodpecker
  9. Spot-crowned Woodcreeper
  10. Red-faced Spinetail
  11. Yellowish Flycatcher
  12. Brown Jay
  13. House Wren
  14. Gray-breasted Wood-Wren
  15. Clay-colored Thrush
  16. Golden-winged Warbler
  17. Wilson’s Warbler
  18. Slate-throated Redstart
  19. Blue-gray Tanager
  20. Spangle-cheeked Tanager
  21. Silver-throated Tanager
  22. Common Chlorospingus
  23. Rufous-collared Sparrow
  24. Summer Tanager
  25. Great-tailed Grackle
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