Saturday, 4 March 2017

West Mexico: Volcan de Fuego

Today we visited the other side of the ‘Volcano of Fire’ and began another cracking day’s birding in Mexico with an Elegant Euphonia singing at the start of the dirt track. 

Elegant Euphonia

A little further up a Hook-billed Kite soared overhead before landing briefly in a nearby tree and in the same area we also saw several Black-headed Grosbeaks, Curve-billed Thrasher, Orange-crowned Warbler, Short-tailed Hawk, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Indigo Bunting and Western Tanager. These lower slopes were mainly being used for agriculture and it was tricky to find some weedy/scrubby slopes but at one of the first ones we checked, a covey of Banded Quail scuttled out from the fence line and out of sight – but straight onto our life lists! 

Banded Quail - another Mexican endemic

Our luck was truly in today as we found another Lesser Roadrunner, this one doing what roadrunners should be doing and running along a dirt road. Fantastic! It came really close towards us and even perched up on a fence post before disappearing. 

Lesser Roadrunner - found from W Mexico to Nicaragua

Continuing up the sunny hillside via a bumpy dirt track we also found a few birds feeding in a fruiting tree including Cassin’s and a Dwarf Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Greenish Elaenia, White-striped Woodcreeper, Gray Silky-Flycatcher, and some of us saw a Long-tailed Wood-Partridge scuttle cross the track in front of us. 

White-striped Woodcreeper (endemic)

Higher up amidst mixed oak-pine woodland we saw Hermit Warbler, Plumbeous Vireo, Bridled Titmouse, Brown-backed Solitaire, Townsend’s Warbler, Olive Warbler and eventually nailed a superb Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo

Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo (endemic)

Our picnic lunch was in a nice location in the forest and during this time we kept ourselves busy with Painted and Slate-throated Whitestarts, Tufted Flycatcher, a gang of Transvolcanic Jays, Crescent-chested Warbler, Red-faced Warbler, and a pair of Grey-barred Wrens. Moving lower we found a pair of skulking Golden-browed Warblers, followed by a pair of Collared Towhees and also a brief Rufous-capped Brush-Finch.

Sora Rail 
Virginia Rail

Leaving here we visited the Ciudad Guzman wetlands and found Cinnamon-rumped Seedeater (split from White-collared Seedeater), Solitary Sandpiper, Killdeer, Least Sandpiper, Cinnamon and Green-winged Teals and lots of other common species along a quiet side road. Moving on to another nice spot we called in Sora and Virginia Rails before watching 1000’s of Yellow-headed Blackbirds flying through the valley to their roost. It was quite a day!

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