Saturday, 11 March 2017

West Mexico: Puerto Vallarta - San Blas

It was nice to wake up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore just 30 metres from our hotel rooms and American Oystercatchers calling away. 

A pretty cool place to wake up to right....

After a huge breakfast we birded our way back to the highway some 40kms away and began with a pair of West Mexican Chachalacas beside the track leading away from the hotel, followed by the first of many Orange-breasted Buntings, Nutting’s Flycatcher, Thick-billed Kingbird and a Northern Beardless Tyrannulet all coming in to our owlet impersonation. And it was really cool to see this fly past us...

Northern Crested Caracara

A few Orange-breasted Buntings from this morning (endemic)

Thick-billed Kingbird

A short way further along the road and more birds came in to our owlet tape including our first Ruby-throated Hummingbird and a showy White-bellied Wren amongst lots of commoner species.

White-bellied Wren

The next stop was great as so many birds appeared in the trees around us, but this time we saw quite a few Lucy’s Warblers, along with a young male Citreoline Trogon, a Yellow-breasted Chat scolded away from a brush pile in the field behind us, a Black-and-white Warbler clambered around the branches of a bare tree right next to us and a Willow Flycatcher called from its perch nearby. 

Black-and-white Warbler

Western Willow Flycatcher

As we drove a few more kilometres we noticed a small pool had lots of birds and my vehicle stopped to scan the area and resulted in 5 species of bunting coming in and pride of place went to the two male Painted Buntings, but there was also Blue, Orange-breasted, Lazuli and Indigo as well. Meanwhile the front van had cripplingly close views of a Red-breasted Chat. Once everyone had seen the buntings, and it was a shame we couldn’t get on to the calling Purplish-backed Jays we returned to see the Red-breasted Chat and this time a Ferruginous Pygmy Owl flew in. 

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl

Further on a Bat Falcon was spotted by Julie, before a Grey Hawk and 2 Hook-billed Kites flew over, and a Green-crowned Emerald appeared. 

Grey Hawk

Oh and we had a cracking male Citreoline Trogon posing right in front of us as well. 

Citreoline Trogon (endemic)

Our final stop of the morning, and by now it was almost 11am, finally scored with a female Black-capped Vireo appearing amidst a flurry of other agitated birds including Bell’s Vireo and Rufous-capped Warbler.

Black-capped Vireo

Then we drove through Puerto Vallarta and further north towards San Blas, seeing Roadside Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, our first Sinaloa Crow, brief Black-throated Magpie-Jays and a flyover Western Osprey

Sinaloa Crow (endemic)

Once at San Blas we checked out some pools and enjoyed an hour’s worth of easy birding, seeing Roseate Spoonbills, American Avocets, Short-billed Dowitchers, Stilt Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Least Sandpiper, lots of Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, and lots of American Alligators.

Least Sandpiper

Roseate Spoonbill

Tricolored Heron

Dinner time....

 It was a nice surprise to arrive at such a delightful hotel in the old town.

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