Welcome to Birdquest
Monday 7th March - Wednesday 16th March 2016
MARK VAN BEIRS
The fabulous, almost mythical Horned Guan was the obvious Bird of the Trip of our delightful 10 day walk through the Biosphere Reserve of El Triunfo which is situated in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, in the extreme south of Mexico. We obtained multiple close up sightings of this truly magnificent creature, as it showed off its exceptional red horn and staring white eyes. El Triunfo is the largest remaining wilderness area in Mexico. It was established in 1990 and covers c120,000 hectares (288,000 acres) and forms part of Endemic Bird Area 018 (the North Central American highlands), as defined by BirdLife International. It consists of a mixture of humid montane and lower montane semi deciduous forest, cloud forest dominated by evergreen oaks, pine-oak forest, cypress forest and on the lower slopes tropical deciduous forest and oak scrub. Other gamebirds that really showed well were White-bellied Chachalaca, Highland Guan and a covey of delightfully tame Singing Quail. The second most important bird of the tour, because of its very restricted range, was the subtly-hued Cabanis’s (or Azure-rumped) Tanager, which readily showed in fair numbers on the Pacific slope. We encountered a superb selection of high quality, colourful hummingbirds like Rufous Sabrewing, Violet Sabrewing, Emerald-chinned Hummingbird, Black-crested Coquette, Green-throated Mountaingem, Sparkling-tailed Woodstar, Slender Sheartail and the glistening Wine-throated Hummingbird. Motmots featured high on everyone’s wish list so the wonderful scope views of Tody, Blue-throated, Blue-diademed and Turquoise-browed Motmots will not quickly be forgotten. Warblers were a very obvious component of the El Triunfo avifauna and included marvels like Crescent-chested, Fan-tailed, Rufous-capped and Golden-browed next to many migrant species from northern climes. Other birds that made our stay at El Triunfo really memorable included Black Hawk-Eagle, White Hawk, White-faced Quail-Dove, Fulvous and Mottled Owls, Resplendent Quetzal, Ruddy Foliage-gleaner, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Paltry Tyrannulet, Northern Bentbill, Stub-tailed Spadebill, White-throated, Belted and Northern Royal Flycatchers, Long-tailed Manakin, Black-throated and Unicoloured Jays, Grey Silky-flycatcher, Black-capped Swallow, Giant and Rufous-browed Wrens, Brown-backed Solitaire, Ruddy-capped and Spotted Nightingale-Thrushes, Hooded Grosbeak, Blue-crowned Chlorophonia, Spot-breasted Oriole, Prevost’s and White-eared Ground Sparrows, Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer, Flame-coloured Tanager, Yellow Grosbeak (of the orange race aurantiacus) and Red-breasted Chat. Non feathered critters like Cacomistle (Southern Ringtail), Kinkajou, White-nosed Coati, Central American Spider Monkey, Godman’s Pit Viper and the exquisite Brown Basilisk were also very much appreciated. We walked c50 kilometres through beautiful forests escorted by charming, knowledgeable guide Amy, stayed in a nice bunkhouse for four nights and camped for another three nights at lovely sites on the Pacific slope.