Thursday, 16 March 2017

Durango Highway

Our day birding along the Durango Highway began in spectacular fashion with a  flock of 15+ Tufted Jays and they instantly became our bird of the trip. Not only are they stunningly beautiful, but they are a very localised endemic and hung around for a good 25 minutes or so. 

Tufted Jay - a stunner and another Mexican endemic

We decided to have our field breakfast here and by hanging around we were lucky that a large flock moved through with Painted Redstart, 8+ Olive Warblers, several Grace’s Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black-and-white Warbler, both Cassin’s and Plumbeous Vireos, Yellow-eyed Junco and Mexican Chickadee

Painted Redstart

Arizona Woodpecker

Black-headed Siskin

Grace's Warbler

Zone-tailed Hawk
Across the road a White-breasted Nuthatch appeared and is of the western form that is due to be split. Moving on a Zone-tailed Hawk flew over and we enjoyed great views of Flame-coloured Tanager, Bridled Titmouse and Brown Creeper

Flame-colored Tanager

The rest of the morning was spent birding along the quiet highway, and our setting was fantastic as the views were unbelievably stunning as we looked across the deep canyons to forested ridges stretching away to the horizon. So we also saw Scott’s Oriole, Red-faced Warbler, several Blue-throated Mountaingems at a large flower bank, along with Green-crowned Emerald, White-eared Hummingbird, and both Green-striped and Rufous-capped Brush-Finches.

Berylline Hummingbird

Blue-throated Mountaingem

Green-striped Brush-Finch - endemic

Rufous-capped Brush-Finch - endemic

From here we drove up to the Tufted Jay Reserve where we had our picnic lunch. Here we had a territorial Mountain Trogon giving it large and flying in to check us out, as well as a Red warbler of the form with dark grey cheeks.

Mountain Trogon

Military Macaws

We got back to the lodge at 5pm and had a short while to shower and admire some low-flying Military Macaws before taking an early dinner and then we drove out in the dark to a quiet road where a Mexican Whip-poor-will played hard to get but fortunately most of the group saw it perched before it flew away. A calling Vermiculated Screech-Owl  was here as well.

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