The Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher (Ptilogonys caudatus) is another species found only in Costa Rica and neighbouring western Panama. This highland bird descends to our village of San Antonio (1300 m) at this time of the year in search of berries, chiefly of the fruta de paloma tree. I have now lost the two trees of that species that I had, but this week’s visit to nearby Calle Vargas (elevation approx. 1600 m) found a large, loose flock feeding on those same berries.
The Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher is one of just two of its small family found in Costa Rica. To find it we usually look high in the treetops and listen for its rather wooden-sounding tinkling call. This time we found a steep path looking down onto the trees and enjoyed marvelous views of its subtly understated but beautiful plumage. The birds were feeding, as usual, on fruta de paloma berries, not seen in this photo.
In a mixture of mountain fog and sunshine we had good luck with several other highland species. Here are three that you can often find, beginning with the Black Guan (Chamaepetes unicolor), a large, arboreal chicken-like bird:
By far the most abundant woodcreeper at higher elevations is the Spot-crowned Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes affinis). As woodcreepers go it’s a medium-sized bird, and if you’re below 1600 m the look-alike Streak-headed Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes souleyetti) is the first woodcreeper you should expect. Here’s a Spot-crowned that we found on this trip:
Finally, here’s a beautiful tanager that is very common at middle elevations up to around 2000 m, the Silver-throated Tanager (Tangara icterocephala):
By sheer coincidence a Silver-throated Tanager hit the window right in front of me as I was typing this post! Fortunately it made a speedy recovery.
Upon checking my records I find that this is the first Silver-throated that I have recorded in my garden since April 2017. Formerly it was much more common.