About half way between Brazil’s Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero, lies a mountain valley containing the Itatiaia National Park. The endemic-rich Mata Atlantica, or Atlantic Forest is a habitat type found close to the coast in the south-eastern states of the huge country.

GRU 25Sep14 Chestnut-bellied Euphonia 01

Chestnut-bellied Euphonia (not actually a tanager, but gorgeous just the same).

It is easy enough to find decent accommodation in Itatiaia NP and all of the establishments are keenly aware that many of the punters are foreign birders, so try to bring in the birds to feeders for the enjoyment of their patrons. Hotel do Ype though, is famous in the park for providing an “all-you-can-eat” buffet that draws the birds in from the surrounding forest.

Scrumptious-looking fruit platters are carried past hungry breakfasters and slung from the balconies outside the restaurant. Dishes of sliced oranges are laid in the gardens below for the slightly more wary birds and of course, sugar feeders bring in the hummingbirds. Most abundant are the tanagers which any birder who has visited the neo-tropics will tell you, dress from a bewildering palette of colours.

GRU 25Sep14 Seven-colored Tanager 07

The Seven-colored Tanager sports, well….7.

GRU 25Sep14 Ruby-crowned Tanager 01

The Ruby-crowned Tanager appears to be demurely dressed, but can boast a hmmmm…., ruby crown and a daring flash of white in the flying wing.

GRU 25Sep14 Golden-chevronned Tanager 01

The Golden-chevronned Tanager…., you must be getting the hang of it now. If I just give the names, you can fill in the descriptions for yourselves.

GRU 25Sep14 Black-goggled Tanager 02

Black-goggled Tanager.

GRU 25Sep14 Magpie Tanager 01

Magpie Tanager.

GRU 25Sep14 Green Olive Tanager 01

Green-olive Tanager.

GRU 25Sep14 Palm Tanager 01

Palm Tanager.

Who ever thought that tanagers could be tricky?

Written by Redgannet
Redgannet has been working for over 33 years as a crew member/flight attendant and enjoys the well-ventilated air of the outdoors. The nom de blog, Redgannet, was adopted to add an air of mystery and to make himself more attractive to women. His father first whetted Redguga's appetite for all things natural by buying him his first pair of 7x35s and a copy of Thorburn's Birds. Having no mentor beyond an indulgent parent, he spent the first season hoping for an Egyptian Vulture at the bird table in his English garden. His most memorable birding moment is seeing an Egyptian Vulture with those same binoculars 26 years later. Redgannet is married to Canon, but his heart and half of his house belongs to Helen and their son Joseph. He is looking forward to communicating with people who don't ask if he is searching for the "feathered variety" of bird.