Tanagers flock to La Marta

Rain-forest environment at La Marta; photo by Larry Waddell

A great place both to enjoy a forest and river environment and also to see birds is the La Marta reserve just outside the small town of Pejibaye. But don’t go on the weekends or on holidays! This is when many local families go to enjoy picnicking and bathing in the cool (very cool, in both senses) waters of the rivers, Río La Marta and Río Gato.

Larry and I recently made the short trip to La Marta near Pejibaye in the Turrialba lowlands and enjoyed a beautiful day in the rain-forest environment there. It was a weekday and so we encountered very few other visitors. There were several highlights, including a mixed flock that contained at least 7 tanager species plus a few other species.These fruit-eaters are the chief component of most mixed flocks at La Marta. The signature bird is the Tawny-crested Tanager (Tachyphonus rufus), which typically appears in noisy groups of 10 and more. The species gets its Latin moniker rufus from the rather drab female, but as Larry’s photos below show, the male’s all-black plumage and tawny cap make him unmistakable.

The tawny-crests formed the nucleus of the flocks we found but were joined by White-shouldered, Silver-throated, Emerald, Golden-hooded, Bay-headed, and Black-and-yellow Tanagers.

Strikingly handsome male Black-and-yellow Tanager (Chrysothlypis chrysomelas); photo by Larry Waddell

The Black-and-yellow Tanager is the one that I encounter least frequently but it makes for exciting birding every time one of these mixed flocks appears. See my next post for a look at the 5 species of hummingbirds we found. Finally, here is a link to the eBird checklist for the day:


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