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WESTERN MEXICO

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
(15 days)


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

The amazing Tufted Jay is often one of the favourite birds seen on the tour (Pete Morris)

The amazing Tufted Jay is often one of the favourite birds seen on the tour (Pete Morris)

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 Baja (or Cape) Pygmy Owl, the splendid Xantus’s Hummingbird, the charismatic Grey Thrasher and the critically endangered Belding’s Yellowthroat, as well as two distinctive proposed splits, San Lucas Robin 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. For those taking the extension, the overnight on the ferry between La Paz and Mazatlan will be in twin berth cabins. 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 quite good.

Tour Price: £3950, €4660, $5170 Mazatlan/Manzanillo. Single Room Supplement: £588, €694, $770. Deposit: £500, €600, $650.

Baja California Extension: £1350, €1590, $1770 Los Cabos/Mazatlan. Single Room Supplement: £126, €149, $165. Deposit: £150, €200, $200.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

The Baja California extension single room supplement excludes the night on the ferry.

Base prices for this tour are in US Dollars. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.110.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

The splendid Aztec Thrush can often be seen in good numbers on this tour (Pete Morris)

The splendid Aztec Thrush can often be seen in good numbers on this tour (Pete Morris)

121 photos View Gallery Photos From WESTERN MEXICO
On Baja California, we have an excellent chance of finding all of the southern endemics including Cape Pygmy Owl (Pete Morris)

On Baja California, we have an excellent chance of finding all of the southern endemics including Cape Pygmy Owl (Pete Morris)

Yellow-footed Gull is another Baja speciality (Pete Morris)

Yellow-footed Gull is another Baja speciality (Pete Morris)

A relaxing boat trip in the mangroves of San Blas will yield Northern Potoo and many other good species (Pete Morris)

A relaxing boat trip in the mangroves of San Blas will yield Northern Potoo and many other good species (Pete Morris)

Nearby, we'll search for the endemic Elegant Quail (Pete Morris)

Nearby, we'll search for the endemic Elegant Quail (Pete Morris)

Collared Forest-Falcon is a widespread species in much of Central and Southern America, but is often difficult to see. For some reason they seem surprisingly easy to see in Western Mexico (Pete Morris)

Collared Forest-Falcon is a widespread species in much of Central and Southern America, but is often difficult to see. For some reason they seem surprisingly easy to see in Western Mexico (Pete Morris)

... along with a great selection of Mexican specialities such as this Golden-cheeked Woodpecker (Pete Morris)

... along with a great selection of Mexican specialities such as this Golden-cheeked Woodpecker (Pete Morris)

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

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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