One of the specialty birds of Nayarit and Jalisco is the illustrious Rosy Thrush-Tanager. We lucked in to one back at La Bajada, but Rancho Primavera is really the place to go for these birds. Bonnie, who runs things at the ranch, knows exactly where to look for them on the property, and we were lucky enough to find an exceptionally confiding pair feeding next to a trail.
They aren't so hard to find if you are looking in the right places, because they loudly thrash around in the leaf litter, tossing aside detritus with great ceremony.
The male got really close to us...not the best conditions for photos, but absolutely crippling looks. This is a real facemelter.
There is no shortage of Yellow-winged Caciques on the property, and considering their love of fruit, getting great looks at them is no difficult task.
Such strange crests. Very greasy and pliable, much like my own hair.
San Blas Jay is another specialty at the ranch and was another group lifer. They look a lot like Purplish-backed Jays, but are smaller with paler backs. They also are really hard to find around San Blas.
A group of them often hangs out near the main ranch house, waiting for peanuts.
The Blue Mockingbird that came to the feeder below our house never got old. Here it is again, in all its unskulky glory.
Of course, alluring Black-throated Magpie-Jays are on the property as well, but they are not as bold as some of the other feeder birds.
This is an improbable bird. Probable in abundance, but not existence.
Streak-backed Orioles are everywhere in western Mexico. Everywhere!
Flycatcher Jen unwittingly lured in a herd of horses. She is still down there, just another part of the herd.
How can I not post another Yellow Grosbeak?
Now this...this is a combo. Yellow Grosbeak and not-wild-but-technically-free Jasmine the Lilac-crowned Parrot.
Our view from the porch at Villa Carpintero, the house we rented on the property. Nice, eh?
Other highlights of birding the property were West Mexican Chachalacas, a vagrant Eastern Phoebe, the Military Macaws (lifer!) that fly over the property every morning, and the Red-breasted Chat that I barely saw but can't count. I got gripped off on that bird a couple other times during that trip, which really hurt then and still hurts now. Ugh. We also birded the La Providencia Road, which is higher in elevation (mid-elevation pine forest) and apparently is a good spot for Eared Poorwill...which we dipped on, but not without getting our only Gray-collared Becard (lifer!) of the trip. If you bird that road, note that the eBird hotspot is actually mapped (currently) at a road north of where the correct road is; it has a lot of interesting piney habitat, and the road is not heavily traveled. Could be a good spot. We did not have time to bird the La Biota Road, which I hear is quality.
Rancho Primavera was a great spot to bird and a great place to stay, and thanks to Bonnie for the birding tips and the recommendations on where to grab food in El Tuito. If you want to see what our bird lists from the property look like, you can go here and here. Don't forget to check Rancho Primavera's website, and finally here is the first post from Rancho Primavera in case you missed it.
After we said goodbye to Rancho Primavera, we headed south towards Autlan. Some convenient roadside wetlands produced some decent birds, and are worth a quick look. We were surprised by the amount of good habitat there was during the drive, and it seems like there could be good birding just about anywhere there was thorn forest if you happened to be there at the right time of day. Eventually we got to the area where Hurricane Patricia made landfall the previous year, and the damage to the forest was obvious and extensive. When we arrived at Barranca El Choncho in the afternoon, it was clear that the forest here had taken a big hit from the hurricane as well. The barranca was not very productive for us, and it looks like some of the habitat at the top of the barranca has been cleared...however there is still nice habitat left in the canyon and it may still indeed be a worthwhile stop early in the day.
Up next...Puerto Los Mazos, Microondas San Francisco, and beyond...