Monday, 27 February 2017

West Mexico Tour: Day 3

Breakfast was at 7am and then we headed towards the coast and a quiet country road that took us through rolling forested hills and into the thorn forest that is home to some very special birds. Along the way we stopped at an overlook where Lilac-crowned Amazons flew around us, Acorn Woodpeckers scolded from dead trees and cute little Tropical Parulas dazzled us in the morning sunshine. 

Tropical Parula

A burst of activity created by our owl tape brought in Berylline, Broad-billed and Cinnamon Hummingbirds, with our first Violet-crowned Hummingbird being particularly well received. Lower down the road and a pair of Military Macaws flew over calling raucously, a Bright-rumped Attila tried its best not to be seen despite calling constantly, and our first Happy Wren was seen pretty well. Our next stop proved to be a belter as we called in a Colima Pygmy-Owl and this bird came right in and perched up right beside us and continued to stay with us for ages, even when we became engrossed with scope views of Coppery-tailed Trogon – the split from Elegant Trogon. 

Colima Pygmy Owl (endemic to West Mexico)
Ferruginous Pygmy Owl

Next up was a Ferruginous Pygmy Owl just a little bit further along the road and then I was so pleased when Julie called the stunning Red-breasted Chat

The Mexican endemic Red-breasted Chat

What a performance we had as two males and a female appeared and over the course of the next 20 minutes we worked on getting better and better views. You might say we were pleased to see this bird!!! Even a very obliging Happy Wren failed to distract us from this vision of crimson and white dancing around the bushes in front of us. One last stop of the morning was also a corker with several Citreoline Trogons, Dusky-capped, Nutting’s and Brown-crested Flycatchers and Lucy’s Warbler, with White-tailed Hawk & 3 Grey Hawks flying overhead. 

Grey Hawk

Oh and one final, and I mean it, stop proved a fitting climax to an already amazing morning’s birding with a male Orange-breasted Bunting – and what a bird that is! A Pale-billed Woodpecker and Common Black Hawk were practically ignored as they just cannot compete with this vision of blue and orange!

Not a place for a lunch stop!

Lunch was at a beachside restaurant, complete with Royal Terns, Great Blue Heron, and American Oystercatchers. Leaving here we set off on the drive south to Barra de Navidad, seeing West Mexican Chachalaca and Vaux’s Swift on the drive. Some roadside wetlands were great as well on this route. The first one had a flock of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, a few Fulvous Whistling-Ducks, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Green Heron, Tricoloured Heron, Anhinga, Northern Jacana, Blue-winged Teal, Least Grebe and Ruddy Duck. The second one had a few Stilt Sandpipers, Western Willet, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Lesser Yellowlegs, Mangrove and Tree Swallows, Steak-backed Oriole and a showy Pacific-slope Flycatcher. What a great couple of list building sessions. We eventually reached our hotel at 6.30pm and enjoyed some cold beers and margaritas over dinner.

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