5 Hummingbirds at La Marta

It was feast or famine at La Marta for much of the morning. The beauty of the place is such that the birds are really secondary, but Larry Waddell and I were finally treated to a couple of large mixed flocks (see my last post regarding the tanagers). On the second occasion, and outside the entrance to the reserve, we were struggling to identify all the flock species when, at the same time, we noticed that a nearby flowering giant red poró was attracting numerous hummingbirds. Today’s photos are from our files because of the difficulty of obtaining satisfactory photos at the poró.

Our first identification was of a male Green Thorntail (Discosura conversii). This small hummer measures 4 inches but one quarter of that is taken up by the long tail, which divides near its end:

Male Green Thorntail at Cristina near La Suiza; photo by John Beer

We had recently discussed among ourselves the fact that sightings of White-necked Jacobin (Florisuga mellivora) in our area are common but almost exclusively at feeders. On this occasion, however, the poró was hosting at least two adult Jacobins. Here’s a file photo from nearby Sitio Mata:

Male White-necked Jacobin, courtesy of John Beer

Humminbird species number 3 was a Brown Violetear (Colibri delphinae). This uncommon hummer, identified by its generally brown plumage, is distinguished from the similarly brown Stripe-throated Hermit by its short bill and square tail:

John Beer’s photograph, taken in nearby Santa Rosa, shows the violet ear patch that gives the Brown Violetear its name.

The final two hummingbird species seen this day, the Crowned Woodnymph (Thalurania colombica) and the aforementioned Stripe-throated Hermit (Phaethornis striigularis), commonly called Little Hermit in English and Ermitaño Enano (dwarf hermit) in Spanish…..

Rear view of Crowned Woodnymph; photo by Larry Waddell

were not necessarily present at the same poró tree. Each is, however, a very handsome species that adds to the joys of birding here in Costa Rica, all the more so since they are encountered so frequently.

Stripe-throated Hermit (no stripes on the throat of this species in Costa Rica) at Angostura, courtesy of John Beer

In conclusion, the bird of the day was perhaps the relatively uncommon Ashy-throated Chlorospingus (Chlorospingus canigularis), which has a very limited range in Costa Rica. Our prettiest view was of a male Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza), whose photograph below completes this post:

Very common but very pretty: the Green Honeycreeper at La Marta; photo by Larry Waddell

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