Thursday, June 7, 2001

A Stripe-breasted Wren at Cerro Campana

Bill Porteous sent in the following report:

At about 11.00am on 7th June 2001, on the Podocarpus trail in Altos de Campana National Park, at an altitude of about 950m, I was attracted by a call that I did not recognise. I taped it and played it back, and the bird started to move round me in circles, but I had got the impression, from the call, that it was a biggish bird, and I was searching too far away. It therefore took me some time to see it, and I was almost ready to give up when it flew in and sang above my head. It stayed above eye-level, and I was able to note, on tape, that it was dark below, with prominent white streaking on the throat and breast, that it had a long bill, and that its tail was shortish and rounded. I also recorded the comment that I had no idea what it was (!) and this puzzled me, because I thought I knew, more or less, which species were likely to be present. Finally, when I was about to give up and move on, the bird dropped below eye-level, displaying a long, narrow, white supercilium and the prominent dark barring on the brown wings and tail that proved it to be a wren, and I realised that it could only be Stripe-breasted (Wren), although it did not look much like the illustration in Ridgely or sound much like the ARA tape! I appreciate, in addition, that 950m is probably an altitude record!

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