Thursday, 9 March 2017

West Mexico: Volcan de Nieve

What better way to start another brilliant day’s birding under a cloudless blue sky than with a calling Collared Forest-Falcon? We drove up to over 10,000 feet today along a better track than yesterday, but only just! Our next stop was at an open area where we scanned the opposite slope and discovered Brown-throated Wren, Collared Towhee and Rufous-capped Brush-Finch. I was really pleased to see White-eared Hummingbird this morning, having missed it in Arizona last year as we were too early. Once we reached the first conifers we saw Brown Creeper, another obliging Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo, and a bunch of other common warblers. 

Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo (endemic)

It really is quite phenomenal to see so many warblers every day on this tour. Continuing higher there was Grace’s Warbler, a Green-striped Brush-Finch feeding in the track, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Rufous Hummingbird, but we only heard a Mountain Pygmy Owl.

Next up was Olive Warbler, Hepatic Tanager, Golden-browed Warbler, Copper-tailed and Mountain Trogons and for a few lucky individuals an Amethyst-throated Mountain-gem. It’s quite tricky getting to grips with hummers here as you have to stake out the lines of flowers in the forest and they don’t stay very long, so be quick! But everyone saw more White-eared Hummingbirds, as well as Rivoli’s (Magnificent) Hummingbird

Rivoli's Hummingbird

As we got higher Mexican Chickadees became common although it took me a while to see the first one, and Golden-crowned Kinglets were numerous. A singing Mexican Violetear was scoped at the top of a conifer, and we watched a Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer doing what it does among some red flowers and a Grey-breasted Wood-Wren did its best to distract us. 

We’d been hoping all day for a Red Warbler and after a few brief single observer sightings we finally tracked one down for all to see at 5pm – it had only taken 10 hours to find it! It was unfortunate that only Gary really had a tickable view of a Colima Warbler in a quick-moving warbler flock later in the day.

But we still had time to visit the wetlands again where Sora and Virginia Rails appeared again, plus Black-crowned Night-heron, Tricoloured Heron, Common Yellowthroat and Least Grebe.

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