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SOUTHERN MEXICO

Tuesday 26th February - Tuesday 19th March 2019

Mark Van Beirs

Horned Guan (Mark Van Beirs)

Horned Guan (Mark Van Beirs)

The fabulous, rare and truly enigmatic Horned Guan was without a doubt the BIRD of the TOUR on our recent Southern Mexico jaunt. The exquisite Pink-headed Warbler and the ever so endearing Bumblebee Hummingbird were other highlights and we were also very much enchanted with our encounter with the uniquely coloured Rosita’s (or Rose-bellied) Bunting. The closely related, sprightly Nava’s and Sumichrast’s Wrens both gave terrific performances full of character in their attractive karst habitat. The tour started under a bad omen, as a nasty bug, picked up with our first picnic lunch caused virtually the whole group to suffer Montezuma’s revenge for more than a week. We were also marred by unusual weather systems that caused a cold front on both of our visits to the Sumidero Canyon, dense mist on our 1,5 day stay in the Valle Nacional and extreme storm winds on our nocturnal foray near San Cristobal. Despite these setbacks we enjoyed a productive tour through the varied habitats of southern and central Mexico. Bird families that performed particularly well were the Corvids (11 species out of 21 Mexican residents), Wrens (24 species out of 34) and Parulid Warblers (34 species out of 66). A group of birds that, sadly, didn’t cooperate at all on this tour were the owls, although we sure tried. Particular highlights of our three week wanderings included Highland Guan, Spotted Wood and Singing Quails, Black Storm Petrel, Townsend’s Shearwater, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, King Vulture, Elegant Tern, White-faced Quail-Dove, Lesser Ground Cuckoo, Fulvous Owl, Buff-collared Nightjar, Mexican Whip-poor-will, Emerald-chinned Hummingbird, Black-crested Coquette, Garnet-throated Hummingbird, Beautiful Sheartail, Resplendent Quetzal, Citreoline Trogon, Blue-throated and Russet-crowned Motmots, Wagler’s Toucanet, Grey-breasted, Strickland’s and Grey-crowned Woodpeckers, Aplomado Falcon, Rufous-breasted Spinetail, Belted, Pileated, Pine and Buff-breasted Flycatchers, Chestnut-sided and Green Shrike-Vireos, Golden Vireo, Azure-hooded, Dwarf, Black-throated and Transvolcanic Jays, Grey Silky-flycatcher, Black-capped Swallow, Giant, Boucard’s, Grey-barred, Happy, and Rufous-browed Wrens, Ocellated Thrasher, Blue and Blue-and-white Mockingbirds, Brown-backed and Slate-coloured Solitaires, Russet, Black-headed and Gould’s Nightingale-Thrushes, Rufous-backed and Rufous-collared Thrushes, Olive Warbler, Hooded Grosbeak, Blue-crowned Chlorophonia, Sierra Madre, Bridled, Cinnamon-tailed and Striped Sparrows, Collared and White-throated Towhees, Prevost’s Ground Sparrow, Mexican Cacique, Yellow-backed, Altamira, Spot-breasted and Black-vented Orioles, Black-polled and Hooded Yellowthroats, Crescent-chested, Fan-tailed, Golden-cheeked, Golden-browed and Red Warblers, Red-breasted Chat, Orange-breasted Bunting, Crimson-collared Tanager and Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer. We encountered several interesting mammals like Grey Fox, Long-tailed Weasel and Paca, and adored the tremendous performances of Pantropical Spotted, Spinner and Short-beaked Common Dolphins. Our splendid eye-ball to eye-ball view of an impressive Godman’s Pit Viper will never be forgotten and we saw several fascinating Banded Sea Snakes and many Green Sea Turtles on our little pelagic off Puerto Angel. 486 bird species and 13 mammals were recorded.

Sumichrast’s Wren (Mark Van Beirs)

Sumichrast’s Wren (Mark Van Beirs)