Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mata Ahogado's tanagers and more

Our trips to El Valle de Anton almost alway include a short visit to the tiny town of Mata Ahogado, seeking for species typical of open habitats or dry forests... and our last trip was not the exception.  With Osvaldo Quintero, Rafael and Montse Luck, Itzel Fong, Domiciano Alveo and José Alberto Pérez, we drove through Mata Ahogado using the new road to Altos del María, reaching a nice border of a montane forest.  A soon as we started to search the trees, we noticed a flock of very active birds, skulking low but sometimes perching fully exposed.
As you can see, these Dusky-faced Tanagers were quite showy, allowing nice sightings and photos.  They were lifer for some of the group.  It was evident that the action was about to start.  A huge mixed flock was about to pass very close to us.  Mostly tanagers, including Plain-colored, Flame-rumped, Common Bush and Silver-throated Tanagers.
I only managed to got silhouettes shots of the Tawny-crested Tanagers accompanying the mixed flock. At least the tawny crest is the main attraction in an otherwise all-black bird.  They liked to stay in the dark.
Among the non-tanagers species accompanying the flock were White-ruffed Manakin, Slate-colored Grosbeak, Scarlet-thighed and Blue Dacnis and a pair of Tawny-capped Euphonias.
After seeing a distant pair of Blue-throated (Emerald) Toucanets, we left the place in order to have lunch in El Valle, but first, we saw some White-lined Tanagers right in Mata Ahogado, along with more common species like Blue-gray and Flame-rumped Tanagers.
Only the tanager-like bill distinguishes this bird, since the white is not evident when perched.  By the end of the day, in El Valle, we saw more White-lined Tanagers, including this male feeding a young bird in a huge garden in The Millionaires Street.
Can't wait to visit this area again.

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