Saturday, 6 December 2014

A Costa Rican Highland mix - or Harry Potter & friends ?


The Highlands; a magnificent part of Costa Rica, and an absolute privilege to encounter the birds here. Cold not-withstanding.
Here is a flock of the Highland endemics (and some of their visiting friends from afar)
Firstly, as in the field, so in the blog; the flock leader...
Chlorospingus pileatus - known to some ie Pauline as the Harry Potter bird, for obvious reasons ie the lightning head pattern, or to mere muggles as a  Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager...

The slatys...,
Slaty Finch-a fine adult male here,

and Slaty Flowerpiercer, a slightly leucistic adult male.
A notable absence from this group thus far, is the Slate-throated Redstart.  So we include his close relation, the Collared Redstart.


The flaming......,
The stunning male Flame-coloured Tanager,

 and the equally stunning Flame-throated Warbler.

The creepers...,
Spot-crowned in the Highlands, is to Streak-headed in the lowlands (below)

A perfect example of related and very similar species that are geographically separated.

A Red-faced Spinetail, perhaps more common at this elevation than previously thought ?

The flycatchers...,
A lovely surprise to find that this young Tufted Flycatcher had found "our" Lake. In previous visits we had to visit a lake further afield to find the species.

This is a Paltry Tyrannulet - formerly Mistletoe Tyrannulet, a less common flycatcher found alongside lots of Olive-striped and Yellowish Flycatchers, and Mountain Elaenias.

The Mountain Elaenia is a flycatcher which is gradually turning to berries, from insects, and as a result their wings are getting shorter and broader. No need to slice the air in quick aerobatics when your food source now sits still.

The dark & dusky...,
A young Dark Pewee, like the Tufted Flycatcher a "new" arrival at our Lake site, where interestingly they were both found on the same morning.

A Dusky Nightjar, this bird caught just prior to dawn, and after release roosted in a nearby tree.
A fabulous result with these beautiful birds and the most encounters to date !
Some, even as simple as coming to the two-shelf garden net whilst dinner is being cooked inside to the pleasant strains of David Gray !

And the comparable...
Two Yellow-thighed Finches.  One adult, the other clearly juvenile. Note the difference in intensity of yellow. We started to notice two distinct groups of wing lengths in adult individuals, and it seemed to correlate with the amount of yellow in the feathers of the alula. Possibly one could sex adults by these indicators ?

Louisiana Waterthrush. A nice one to compare to the Northern Waterthrush of the lowlands. Absent from our nets until the very last moment, when we then caught three in two days !

And the incomparable... !!!
A Spangle-cheeked Tanager......

An adult female Rufous-browed Pepper-Shrike. 
This species was a first in hand for the three of us and a great bird for Richard to end his final full banding session in the Highlands in 2014.

Pauline Pearse and Rich D,
photo credits, Pauline if watermarked, otherwise Kim or Rich D 

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