Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Get It Done In The White-Hot Sand

This probably isn't of immediate interest to anybody, but could be useful for anyone planning a birding trip to this part of Mexico in the future. Here is our triplist, in a decidedly untaxanomic order.

For the unacquainted, this is from the Great Mexican Roadtrip Y2K11, from January 11-26...Spots include El Cielo Biosphere Preserve and the Gomez Farias area, El Naranjo (San Luis Potosi state), Cave of Swallows/Sotano de las Golodrinas, Xilitla, Tlanchinol, El Tajin, Tecolutla and Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Texas. Birds with an"*" were recorded outside of their expected range. I am no doubt forgetting something, but you get the gist of it...overall we had close to 290 species. Not bad for a couple weeks.

Thicket Tinamou
Pied-billed Grebe
Least Grebe
Magnificent Frigatebird
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Neotropic Cormorant
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
American Bittern
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
White-faced Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Wood Stork
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture
Cackling Goose
Snow Goose
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Muscovy Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Ring-necked Duck
Ruddy Duck
Plain Chachalaca
Singing Quail
Northern Bobwhite
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Common Black-Hawk
Great Black-Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Swainson's Hawk* (2 immatures near El Naranjo)
White-tailed Hawk
Short-tailed Hawk
Harris' Hawk
Roadside Hawk
Grey Hawk
Laughing Falcon
American Kestrel
Bat Falcon
Aplomado Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
Crested Caracara
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Black-necked Stilt
Northern Jacana
Greater Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Long-billed Curlew
Wilson's Snipe
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
Laughing Gull
Forster's Tern
Royal Tern
Caspian Tern
Rock Pigeon
Red-billed Pigeon
Common Ground-Dove
Ruddy Ground-Dove
Inca Dove
Eurasian Collard-Dove
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove
White-tipped Dove
Grey-headed Dove
Green Parakeet
Olive-throated (Aztec) Parakeet
White-fronted Parrot* (2 at Tecolutla)
White-crowned Parrot
Red-lored Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo
Groove-billed Ani
Barn Owl
Mottled Owl
Eastern Screech-Owl
Great Horned Owl
Common Pauraque

This is the one and only picture that I was able to return with from my Mexico trip....those chingadas got my cameras, but not my phone. This wide-eyed little bugger is a (Common) Pauraque, photographed at Bentsen-Rio Grande state park in Texas. Obviously, I used a camera phone. Small people should not pick up pauraques, as they are prone to engulfing you.

White-collared Swift
Vaux's Swift
Buff-bellied Hummingbird
Broad-billed Hummingbird
White-eared Hummingbird
Canivet's Emerald
Wedge-tailed Sabrewing
Azure-crowned Hummingbird
Selasphorus hummingbird* (probably Rufous, @ Bentsen-Rio Grande)
Elegant Trogon
Mountain Trogon
Black-headed Trogon* (1 near El Naranjo)
Blue-crowned Motmot
Green Kingfisher
Ringed Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher
Emerald Toucanet
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Acorn Woodpecker
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Smoky-brown Woodpecker
Lineated Woodpecker
Golden-olive (Bronze-winged) Woodpecker
Lineated Woodpecker
Pale-billed Woodpecker
Olivaceous Woodcreeper
Ivory-billed Woodcreeper
Strong-billed Woodcreeper
Spotted Woodcreeper
Spot-crowned Woodcreeper
Greenish Elaenia
Greater Pewee
Traill's Flycatcher* (1 at Tecolutla)
Dusky Flycatcher
Hammond's Flycatcher
Grey Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Cordilleran Flycatcher
Tufted Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe
Vermilion Flycatcher
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Boat-billed Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Couch's Kingbird
Tropical Kingbird
Cassin's Kingbird
Rose-throated Becard
Masked Tityra
N. Rough-winged Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Tree Swallow
Mangrove Swallow
Blue Jay
Green Jay
Azure-hooded Jay
Unicolored Jay
Common Raven
American Crow
Tamulipas Crow
Black-crested Titmouse
Spot-breasted Wren
Spotted Wren
Marsh Wren
House Wren
Bewick's Wren
Canyon Wren
White-bellied Wren
White-breasted Wood Wren
Grey-breasted Wood-Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Brown-backed Solitaire
Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush
Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush
Hermit Thrush
White-throated Thrush
Clay-colored Thrush
Grey Catbird
Blue Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Long-billed Thrasher
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Loggerhead Shrike
European Starling
Cassin's Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Hutton's Vireo
White-eyed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo
Rufous-browed Peppershrike
Blue-winged Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Crescent-chested Warbler
Northern Parula
Tropical Parula
Yellow Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Grey Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Palm Warbler* - one at Tecolutla
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Lousiana Waterthrush
MacGillivray's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Altamira Yellowthroat
Grey-crowned Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
Painted Redstart
Fan-tailed Warbler
Golden-crowned Warbler
Rufous-capped Warbler
Golden-crowned Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Blue-hooded Euphonia
Scrub Euphonia
Yellow-throated Euphonia
Blue-grey Tanager
Yellow-winged Tanager
Red-throated Ant-Tanager
Hepatic Tanager
Summer Tanager
Western Tanager
Flame-colored Tanager
White-winged Tanager
Common Bush-Tanager
Greyish Saltator
Black-headed Saltator
Crimson-collared Grosbeak
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak
Blue Bunting
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Painted Bunting
Chestnut-capped Brushfinch
Rufous-capped Brushfinch
Olive Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
White-collared Seedeater
Yellow-faced Grassquit
Chipping Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Rusty Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Eastern Meadowlark
Melodious Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Orchard Oriole* (2 in western Veracruz state)
Hooded Oriole
Audubon's Oriole
Altamira Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Bullock's Oriole
Montezuma Oropendula
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch
Black-headed Sisken
Hooded Grosbeak
House Sparrow

For reasons that I am not liberty to divulge, Unicolored Jay has unanimously been elected Bird Of The Trip. Now go forth, fellow birders, and observe.

Seriously though. Birding Mexico is incredible, particularly if you have a vague grasp on the language, pace of life, spicy food and the insane driving conditions. Although I cannot sanely recommend driving through northern Tamaulipas right now (or more specifically, camping), people should really get down there. Much like the United States, Mexico's forests and wetlands are severely degraded and fragmented, and are disappearing a little more every day. Go while there is still time! Ecotourism can potentially play a big role in habitat preservation down there (it already does in several of the places we visited, so its not a crazy idea). You won't save a forest by going birding in it, but it certainly wouldn't hurt.

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