Friday, 10 May 2013

Birding In Yaxha

By Linda Patterson

Yaxha is an important city during the Mayan era which is now a part of the Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park. This ancient city's treasures are its well preserved forest and the Yaxha lagoon, which is deemed to be among the most important water systems of the Maya Biosphere.

The Archaeological Site Of Yaxha

This site is known as the third largest archaeological site after Tikal and El Mirador. 40 stalae, 13 altars, 2 ball courts, 9 temple pyramids and a series of sacbe'ob or causeways, connecting the east, north and central acropolis, comprises its more than 500 ancient structures. One can climb the 9 pyramids because the wooden stairs are well built and safe. You will see a breathtaking view of the jungles, the pyramids and the lakes once you are at the top of the partially restored Temple 216. The sound of the birds and Howler monkeys can also be heard.

The Maler Group, the North Acropolis and the astronomical observatory structure are its other interesting attractions. The Maler Group is a complex with twin temples which is comparable to that of Tikal twin temples. The North Acropolis is bordered by 3 temples while the observatory tower is popular even if it remains unnamed.

A Great Place For Birding

This ancient Mayan city serves as a wonderful destination for nature lovers, bird watchers and those who are interested in archaeology. It is one of the main ancient Mayan civilizations and was rediscovered in 1904 through continuous excavation. Located in the southeast part of the Tikal National Park, it is also a part of the National Park of Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo. A tropical rainforest which is abundant with Neotropical varieties of plant life encloses the Yaxha lagoon which is magically carved in limestone.

Birding in this site offers an even more amazing experience and sightseeing opportunities as there are plenty of exotic bird species and human traffic is less. You can watch flocks of Mealy parrot, White-fronted parrot, Red-lore parrot and White-crowned parrot at the observatory tower.

The lagoon is also a great place to see a lot of birds such as the rare Jabiru especially if you are there during the migration season of the Nearctic shorebirds. However, swimming is not allowed in the lagoon as there are a lot of crocodiles. Crane Hawk, Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher, Pale-billed Woodpecker, Bat Falcon, Slaty-tailed trogon, Short-billed Pigeon, Killed-billed Toucan, Brown-hooded Parrot, Plain Chachalaca, Blue Bunting, Tawny-crowned Greenlet and Brown Jay are the other bird species that can be seen in the forest of Yaxha.

For bird watching enthusiasts, Yaxha is the place to be as it is less crowded and offers the best birding opportunities.

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