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Birdquest's Western Mexico birding tour is the most comprehensive birdwatching trip available to this bird-rich region of North America. Our Western Mexico tour features Baja California, the Durango Highway, San Blas, Colima and Jalisco, producing a fantastic list of Mexican endemics.
Friday 9th March —
Friday 23rd March 2018
Baja California Extension: Monday 5th March — Friday 9th March (5 days)
Leaders: Mark Van Beirs and Dani López-Velasco
Group Size Limit: 9
Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and comfortable accommodations
A colourful land of contrasts, Mexico has much to offer both the traveller and the birdwatcher. Friendly, vivacious people have produced a vibrant, modern country, far removed from the old stereotype of sombrero and siesta. Whilst modern tourist resorts fringe many a golden beach, one does not have to go far to find stunning mountain vistas, sleepy backwaters, or tranquil forests. We shall experience both the old and new Mexico as we explore the varied ecosystems of the fascinating western part of this huge country.
The complex geography, with spectacular mountain ranges and isolated deserts, has produced an endemic-rich avifauna which rivals any other part of the Neotropics in terms of the number of endemic birds. Mexico’s great ornithological wealth (there are around 100 strict endemics and many more shared only with adjacent parts of the United States and Central America) justifies several visits and this western itinerary is designed to perfectly complement our other Mexico tours, concentrating on areas holding numerous endemic species that cannot be encountered on the latter. In addition to these exciting endemics, we shall also find a large and colourful avifauna augmented at this season by visitors from the north, whilst at the same time experiencing a great range of different habitats and some truly spectacular scenery. Accommodations, food and roads are mainly of a good standard, making travelling and birding in Mexico a pleasure.
Our journey starts at Mazatlan on the shores of the Gulf of California, where we will look for some species typical of dry deciduous woodland, including Purplish-backed Jay and Elegant Quail, and explore the coast in search of Red-billed Tropicbird and Blue-footed Booby.
Next we will visit the cool pine forests of the spectacular Durango Highway. Foremost amongst the many endemics of this region is the incredible Tufted Jay, and we should also see a host of other superb specialities including Pine Flycatcher, Crescent-chested, Olive and Red Warblers, Red-headed Tanager and Rufous-capped Brush-Finch. At lower altitudes we will search for another suite of specialities, which includes the magnificent Military Macaw, Colima Pygmy-Owl, Sinaloa Martin, Black-throated Magpie-Jay, Purplish-backed Jay and wintering Black-capped Vireos.
Further south along the pacific coast we shall visit San Blas, long famed for it’s remarkable ornithological diversity. Here we will see a marvellous variety of wetland and coastal species as well as a sumptuous array of birds in the surrounding forests, including such varied endemics as Mexican Parrotlet, Mexican Woodnymph, Grey-crowned Woodpecker, Citreoline Trogon, the spectacular Fan-tailed Warbler and Happy Wren, as well as the localized White-throated Flycatcher, as well as equally appealing species such as Collared Forest-Falcon and Rosy Thrush-Tanager. Another highlight here will be our adventure by boat through the spectacular mangrove tunnels where we will see prehistoric-looking Boat-billed Herons and Northern Potoos.
Continuing on, we shall explore the forested slopes of the stunning volcanoes near Colima. The open fields, scattered pine woodland and superb montane pine-oak forests are home to a variety of spectacular endemics including Banded Quail, the shy Long-tailed Wood-Partridge, Balsas and Whiskered Screech-Owls, the amazing Eared Poorwill, Grey Silky, Grey-collared Becard, Aztec Thrush, Dwarf Vireo, Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo, Grey-barred Wren, Collared Towhee and Black-chested Sparrow to name but a few.
Continuing south we shall end the tour with a stay at Barra de Navidad where we will search for Lilac-crowned Parrot, San Blas Jay, the scarce Flammulated Flycatcher, the superb Red-breasted Chat and the gorgeous Orange-breasted Bunting in the thorn forests of the Jalisco coast.
During the optional extension we shall explore the southern tip of Baja California, where the deserts and montane forests are home to a number of endemics including Cape Pygmy Owl, the splendid Xantus’s Hummingbird, the charismatic Grey Thrasher, San Lucas Robin, the critically endangered Belding’s Yellowthroat and Baird’s Junco.
Birdquest has operated tours to western Mexico since 1987.
Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels are mostly good but sometimes of medium standard. Road transport is by minibus and roads are mostly good.
Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, but there are a few harder walks.
Climate: Generally warm or hot, dry and sunny at lower altitudes, but much cooler in upland areas. Whilst overcast weather is quite regular, rain is infrequent at this season. It will be rather humid in some lowland areas.
Bird Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.
These are provisional prices
Tour Price: £3830, €4790, $5360 Mazatlan/Manzanillo. Baja California Extension: £1290, €1610, $1800, starting in Los Cabos.
Price includes all transportation (including La Paz-Culiacan flight for those taking the extension), all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.
Single Room Supplement: £553, €691, $774. Extension: £158, €198, $221.
Deposit: £450, €550, $650. Extension: £150, €200, $200.
Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.
Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate
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