Sunday, January 1, 2017

Costa Rican trip produces a new warbler...Wrenthrush

Wrenthrush, Paraiso Quetzal Lodge, Costa Rica, Dec 16, 2016
Wrenthrush, Paraiso Quetzal Lodge, Costa Rica, Dec 16, 2016
Flame throated Warbler, Paraiso Quetzal Lodge, Costa Rica, Dec 16, 2016
Black cheeked Warbler, Paraiso Quetzal Lodge, Costa Rica, Dec 16, 2016
Collared Redstart, Paraiso Quetzal Lodge, Costa Rica, Dec 16, 2016
Just back from another trip down to Costa Rica (my tenth!) and it was once again a great trip away from the cold weather at home.  One night was spent around San Jose, another night up in the mountains at Paraiso Quetzal Lodge and the remaining nights at the spectacular Rio Magnolia Lodge (with a day long side trip down to Buenos Aires).  On December 16th I met Andres at 6 am to guide me around the area of Paraiso Quetzal Lodge and hopefully find some of my target birds.  My number one target was a Wrenthrush, which is oddly neither a wren or a thrush but is a wood warbler species endemic to Costa Rica and Panama and one of only two species of breeding warbler in Costa Rica I had not yet seen. Wrenthrush is a small, dark bird with a burnt orange crown that inhabits dense growth within the forest and is much more likely to be heard then seen.  Although there was a glimpses of sun early on, the clouds quickly filled in and the drizzle and light rain picked up and continued for most of the mornings. Andres and I still managed to find some good birds despite the weather including a lifer for me, a Black Guan plus a number of other highland specialities.  After a brief stop to eat we headed back out into the rainy weather and started walking some of the trails within the forest. Andres had a tip on where we might find a Wrenthrush and after a slippery walk down some muddy trails we arrived at the location and almost immediately had brief looks at a couple of Wrenthrush. They moved just way to fast to get photos but I managed to get some recordings as they called from the deep undergrowth. We never got another look at them in that location but we decided to move further down the trail in hopes of finding them further down slope where the trail curved back toward our current location. Sure enough we caught back up with one of them and had brief but very close looks as it foraged among some roots. I tried again for photos with my big camera but it was just too dark and the bird was too fast. I eventually tried my luck with my cellphone camera and I managed a few identifiable photos. I was very happy to have not only found the bird but to have seen it well, managed some recordings and got some photos. We continued our walk until a little before 10:30 when we had to head back to pack up and check out for 11am.  Despite the less than stellar weather I was very happy to find a new species of wood warbler.
Videos of a Wrenthrush:
Videos of Wrenthrush calling:
Marsh where a Masked Yellowthroat should have been, Buenos Aires, Costa Rica, Dec 20, 2016 
On December 20th I once again met up with Andres plus another guide that he knew. I met them in San Isidro at 5am (requiring a wake up at 3:30am to make the hour drive down). We then headed south toward the Buenos Aires to explore a variety of locations over the course of the entire day. Although I had a variety of possible new birds in this corner of Costa Rica I have never visited before, my main target was another warbler, a Masked Yellowthroat. This subspecies of Masked Yellowthroat only occurs in a small portion of Costa Rica and nearby Panama and is likely a separate species and known as Chiriqui Yellowthoat. Unfortunately we missed finding the warbler but we were really not quite far enough south to guarantee seeing it as the area we visited was at the northern extreme of its range...I will have to try again next time I come down but will just have to go further toward the Panama border.
Mourning Warbler, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Costa Rica, Dec 21, 2016
Golden winged Warbler, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Costa Rica, Dec 19, 2016
Chestnut sided Warbler, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Costa Rica, Dec 19, 2016
Tennessee Warbler, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Costa Rica, Dec 19, 2016
Yellow Warbler, Rio Magnolia Lodge, Costa Rica, Dec 21, 2016
I managed to find a total of 13 species of warblers during the trip with the vast majority being Chestnut sided and Tennessee Warbler as well as Collared Redstarts (only up in the mountains).

Videos with a calling of Buff rumped Warbler:

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