Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mexico 2010

Elegant Trogon
Finally I am able to write a little bit about my birding trip (along with my best friend John) to Mexico in 2010. Literally, I could write small book about our week if I wanted to but for the sake of valuable time, I am going to summarize the trip in just a few short paragraphs.
We birded three primary areas during or week in Mexico - El Tuito (south of Puerto Vallarta), Mountains East of Puerto Vallarta, and San Pancho/ Sayulita in the state of Nayarit. Each of the areas were great in their own right. Even for being July, the birding was very good, if you can tolerate heat that is. I am not going to lie - it was HOT!
We birded the El Tuito and Puerto Vallarta area with Alejandro of "Birding Mexico". Alejandro was a great birder and we enjoyed are time with him.

Rancho Primavera... El Tuito, MX. This ranch is a fairly common birding destination these days and rightfully so. The owners Bonnie and Pat are very courteous to birders and will make you feel very welcome. Do you like Mango's? Well, if so, the ranch is full of Mango trees and you are welcome to eat at will!
The grounds of Rancho Primavera provide some very good birding. Some of our highlights from the property include: Blue Mockingbird, Green Kingfisher, and Vermillion Flycatcher. The accommodations are very nice and well kept. You will encounter some vicious looking insects but most are harmless. I am still dreaming about the Short-tailed Whip Scorpion in the closet!
The town of El Tuito is nice but very small so don't expect too much excitement. Since we weren't looking for any so it worked out well for us. As far as the birding around the town and in the mountains... there is much to be excited about. Highlights include Berylline Hummingbird, Grace's Warbler, Golden Vireo, Acorn Woodpecker, Golden-cheeked Woodpecker, and Hepatic Tanager.

West Mexican Chachalaca
We briefly birded the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens. It rained most of the time but we had some great birds on a very beautiful property. Some of these birds were Mexican Hermit, San Blas Jay, Stripe-headed Sparrow, and Black Pheobe.
Other parts of Puerto Vallarta included birds such as the absolutely gorgeous Military Macaw, Yellow-winged Cacique, Gray Hawk, Golden-crowned Emerald, Citreoline Trogon, and Rosy-thrush Tanager.
Military Macaws
Our last area of birding were Sayulita and San Pancho. We met up with a great birder by the name of Luis with "Birding San Pancho". We had a good time birding the area with Luis! We first birded the San Pancho area and then headed north to Sayulita. Although the day was hot and the heat felt as if it were cooking me to my certain death, we had some great birds including Black-throated Magpie Jay, Military Macaw, Rose-throated Becard, Lineated Woodpecker, Crested Caracara, Orange-fronted Parakeet, Zone-tailed Hawk, Magnificant Frigatebird, Pale-billed Woodpecker, Sinaloa Wren, Happy Wren, and Blue Bunting.

Broad-billed Hummingbird


We stayed at a place called Roberto's Bungalow's in San Pancho. What a great place! Small, clean, and very cozy. We each got our own Bungalow both complete with an outdoor kitchen and sitting area. The enclosed "backyard" was completely hidden from the outside world allowing for compete relaxation after a long day of birding. The owners and son were great hosts and made you feel very much at home. I would highly recommend you staying at Roberto's if you are ever in the area. I would definitely go back.

In all, I saw 95 species of birds on the trip. Not as many as I would have like but a good number nonetheless. I am very excited to report that I got 46 life birds while on the trip bring my total life list to 496! Four more to go this year, just four more to go!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gotta Love Goose Pond!

Mississippi Kite... patiently waiting to feed her young a Cicada.

I was FINALLY able to get out and bird in my own state. It has been an extremely busy summer that has left little time for birds so I was more than ready. I decided to head down to Goose Pond since there there was a chance for me to see an active Mississippi Kite nest, something I had never seen. To make the occasion even more special, this particular species would be a life bird for me.

So, off I went. My first stop was the nest. I was so anxious to see it that I was unable to read my directions correctly and passed the bird by about a mile while looking for it. I finally had to call for some help and afterward quickly found the nest. I was a little nervous approaching the area because I knew the young were getting pretty big and were probably getting close to leaving home. I lucked out, they were still in the nest! I was even more pleased to see the parent patiently overlooking her nest waiting to feed the young a fresh Cicada that she had in her beak. What a great bird!

Mississippi Kites... the youngens'.

I left the site of the Kites and headed to Main Pond West. As with most visits to Goose Pond, I am instantly smiling as there are usually birds everywhere. I was instantly greeted by Song Sparrows, Indigo Buntings, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Common Yellowthroats. In fact, these four species were everywhere the entire visit. What a great problem to have!

Great Egrets were everywhere! In my short time I counted about 48 Egrets. It didn't matter where you looked, there were Great Egrets. Some of the other fantastic birds that made their way into my view were Black-necked Stilt, Northern Harrier, Great Blue Heron, Wood Duck, Mallard, Eastern Kingbird, Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow, and Canada Goose.

It was only about an hour and a half before I sweat out my last drop of energy so I ended my trip a little short of plan but I was extremely pleased with what I had saw on just a short stretch of land which covered about a 1/2 mile in total.

There are allot of good places to bird in Indiana and Goose Pond is one of them. This project has to be one of the best things to have ever happened in our state. If you have not been, I would strongly encourage you to go. If you want more information just click here.

Indigo Bunting and Common Yellowthroat... two of my favorites. Not sure how anyone could get tired of these two birds.

Great Egrets! Holy smokes, I count 14 in this picture... there are many more surrounding me. This place is wonderful.

Black Swallowtail

Barn Swallows and Tree Swallows... there were actually 13 additional Tree Swallows sitting in the grass but I could not get them all in the picture. They were flying everywhere. A family reunion I think.

Indiana State Bird

Indiana State Bird
Northern Cardinal