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WESTERN MEXICO

Monday 5th March - Friday 23rd March 2018

Cinereous Owl (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Cinereous Owl (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Our well-established Western Mexico tour, which has been so very well fine-tuned over the years by Pete, is a delightful celebration of the many fantastic and often colourful and gorgeous specialities and endemics of this much underrated and little-known part of the New World. Mexico sadly struggles with a rather bad reputation, but on our visit we stay far away from troubled areas and enjoy good food, great hospitality and spectacular landscapes. We visited the scenic states of Baja California, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco and Colima and had great looks at almost all of the goodies. The bird of the trip was the extremely attractive Orange-breasted Bunting, that we admired at several sites, but the superbly attractive Tufted Jays of the Durango Highway also scored very well. The posing male Red-breasted Chat that enlivened our last morning was another highlight and the rarest observation of the tour was without a doubt the scarce, very infrequently encountered Eared Quetzal! The truly extraordinary Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo allowed intimate scope views and a skulking Rosy Thrush-Tanager gave us a great time. Nobody will forget our smashing encounter with the singing Eared Poorwill that sat in the open for tremendous looks. In fact, we did very well for nightbirds as next to more widespread nocturnal species we had eye-ball to eye-ball views of the recently described Cinereous Owl, of a cracking Stygian Owl, of an adorable Balsas Screech Owl, of an angry-looking Cape Pygmy Owl, of a minute Elf Owl and of a fabulous Buff-coloured Nightjar. Other memorable species included Black Storm Petrel, Banded Quail, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Ridgway’s and Spotted Rails, Rufous-necked Wood Rail, Greater and Lesser Roadrunners, Northern Potoo, Calliope Hummingbird, Russet-crowned Motmot, Lilac-crowned Amazon, Grey-collared Becard, Black-capped and Slaty Vireos, Purplish-backed Jay, Black-throated Magpie Jay, Olive Warbler, the amazing Red Warbler, Golden-browed Warbler, Five-striped and Black-chested Sparrows and Varied and Painted Buntings. The better mammals of the tour were seen at sea, as we had two great encounters with Humpback Whales and with a school of several hundred Long-beaked Common Dolphins. Both of us really enjoyed travelling and birding in this magnificent part of our planet.

Balsas Screech Owl (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Balsas Screech Owl (Dani Lopez-Velasco)