Monday, March 21, 2016

The Windblown

A windy day meant that work was cancelled a week last Thursday, providing an opportunity for me to see if the gales had blown in any species of interest.  Presa de la Constitucion is one of the most likely spots to pull in a rarity (past species of interest include Ross's Geese, Sprague's Pipit, Willet, Roseate Spoonbill, Hooded Merganser), so I headed there mid-morning.

It didn't take too long for me to lock onto a mega.  Scanning through the flocks of migging Barn and Cliff Swallows, I locked on to two Red Phalaropes bobbing up and down on the middle of the lake.

Red (Grey) Phalaropes
There's an old Queretaro record for this species, but according to eBird, it's only the 2nd record in Mexico away from the Pacific coast.

Plenty of Gulls were present as well, so I hacked round the reservoir in the face of strong wind and hailstone to see if I could dig out anything else.  I was rewarded with this fine Caspian Tern, seen here with 2 Ring-billed Gulls.

Caspian Tern
The Presa kept giving - next up, amongst 3 Laughing Gulls was a fine immature American Herring Gull.  Perhaps first for the state again, and definitely one of few records from central Mexico.

Herring Gull
I had about 80 species in total - showing the diversity held by this great birding spot.  The most abundant bird around the lake, though, was the Yellow-rumped Warbler.  They winter in massive numbers in this part of Mexico, but rarely pose for photos as pleasingly as this one.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Birding Puerto Vallarta - Coastline

Several interesting species are easy to see on the coast around Puerto Vallarta.  Snowy Egrets (pictured) are conspicuous, as are other Heron species such as Green, Yellow-crowned Night, Little Blue, Tricolored, Great Egret and Reddish Egret.

Snowy Egret
 If you keep your eyes to the skies, overflying flocks of Wood Storks and Neotropic Cormorants can be seen.  I was lucky enough to see Military Macaws from the beach at Mismaloya and further down the coast at Yelapa.  Blue-footed Boobies were also present at Mismaloya and Yelapa, as were Royal Terns, and the everpresent Magnificent Frigatebirds and Brown Pelicans.

Wood Storks

Birding Puerto Vallarta - Mismaloya

We stayed a couple of days in 'Casa Iguana' in Mismaloya over the weekend.  On the track up from the hotel were some classic species of this stretch of coast in Western Mexico, including Citreoline Trogon and Russet-crowned Motmot (both pictured below).

Citreoline Trogon

Russet-crowned Motmot
Very easy to find were large flocks of Orange-fronted Parakeets, Yellow-billed Caciques and West Mexican Chachalacas.  There were also Golden-cheeked Woodpeckers, Greyish Saltators, a variety of warblers and a showy Ivory-billed Woodcreeper.

Perhaps best of all, though, were screaming Military Macaws flying overhead in the late morning.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Top birding at Presa de la Constitucion

Double-crested Cormorant (right) with Neotropic Cormorants
A massive 83 species at Presa de la Constitucion on Saturday afternoon including a first for Qureetaro, this Double-crested Cormorant (pictured above).  It was one of many great wetland birds (also present were big numbers of American White Pelicans, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Pintails, American Wigeons, Least Sandpipers, Killdeers etc).

There were 4 Belted Kingfishers in different parts of the reservoir, and all 3 grebes (Pied-billed, Eared and Least).  The raptor count included the ever-present Osprey, as well as a fine juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk.

The best thing about this reservoir is the variety of habitats.  On the south side, the swampy area is perfect for Common Yellowthroats and Marsh Wren, whilst on the north side a small wooded area provides opportunity for species such as Summer Tanager, Greater Pewee and a large variety of warblers.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

'The Magic Lake' - Presa Vicente Aguirre

This large reservoir in Hidalgo state is a magnet for wintering wetland birds.  I visited it last weekend, and things got a bit silly.  It's a sizeable body of water, and obviously full of fish - supporting a large fishing community and hundreds of American White Pelicans.

American White Pelican

One particular corner of the lake was full of birds.  In a small space, I found 600 White-faced Ibis (harbouring 3 rare White Ibis), 54 Great Blue Herons, similar numbers of Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets, 2 Little Blue Herons, several hundred Neotropic Cormorants (as well as 6 rarer Double-crested Cormorants), 10 species of ducks (including hundreds of American Wigeons, Green-winged Teals, and some Lesser Scaup), and the constant presence of hunting Ospreys.

White Ibis 

The Pelicans come into the fishing boats, with Eared Grebes and other waterfowl, allowing exceptionally close views..

Presa Vicente Aguirre is located between the towns of Huichapan and Ixmiquilpan.  It's about 1hour15minute drive from Tequisquiapan, but certainly worth a visit.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Along the Rio San Juan

An early morning stroll along the Rio San Juan yesterday morning was rewarded with 56 species in good numbers.

I had a good nuber of raptors hunting above and around the river (Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Kestrels, Crested Caracaras).

As usual, many, many warblers (70+ Yellow-rumped Warblers, and then a nice mixed flock including Black-and-white, Nashville, Orange-crowned and several Wilsons).

It was also good to pick up Greater Pewee, Blue Mockingbird, Great Kiskadee, many Black-backed Orioles, and good numbers of Woodpeckers (22 Golden-fronted, 1 Ladderback and 4 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers).

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Great Horned Owl in Fuentezuelas

Great Horned Owl
A lovely evening in the mountains behind Fuentezuelas yesterday - the highlight of which was this calling Great Horned Owl at dusk.  I've not seen many around Queretaro, but this could be a hotspot for this species.

In the same area, I had fleeting views of an Elegant Trogon, as well as the endemic Blue Mockingbird and several Northern Mockingbirds.  A Warbling Vireo was a nice addition, as well as a surprise Hermit Thrush (odd in this habitat away from forests).

A bit higher up, this area opens into grasslands interspersed with cacti.  Here, I found a few Brewer's Sparrows, as well as Vesper, Chipping, Clay-colored and Lark.

At dusk, there were also a few Lesser Nighthawk.
Curve-billed Thrasher

Warbling Vireo
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