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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Third Time’s a Attraction – 10,000 Birds


When you have got birded a single space as a lot and for so long as I’ve birded Michoacán, it turns into progressively more durable to seek out first-time species (“lifers”) there. I achieved 5 lifers in Michoacán in 2019, 4 in 2020, three in 2021, and solely two in 2022. As you possibly can see, this isn’t a promising development.

And certainly, my first six months of the present 12 months had yielded precisely zero lifers for me in Michoacán. I had seen a number of species flip up in new and sudden locations there, however none of them have been birds that I had by no means seen earlier than. Thankfully, this example has now modified.

In my final put up, I discussed having gone downhill (1,000 meters, or 3,300 ft) twice just lately to the little “Scorching Nation” city of Paso Ancho. I did this to accomodate visiting Individuals who had requested to go birding with me. Because it occurred, my two most fixed Mexican birding buddies have been additionally ready for the chance to go there (blame it on the very particular Sinaloa Martin, which is simply current there in mid-summer). However they’d been unable to accompany us on these first two journeys. And so, solely per week after go to #2, I made the one-hour drive downhill for but a 3rd time.

I can’t say I used to be all that enthusiastic about making this third journey. It’s an extended, twisty drive. And the city’s dry tropical warmth signifies that it is advisable arrive early, which, together with Mexico eliminating Daylight Financial savings Time this 12 months, means you should stumble away from bed at 5 am, and be on the street by 6. (An hour earlier could be even higher, however I’ve my limits.) Plus, dry tropical warmth.

Nonetheless, I like to chicken with Nacho and Jorge, so off we went. It did certainly turn into a great outing. At one level it appeared no Martins could be seen, however they finally turned up. Many of the web site’s most charismatic species, such because the Orange-breasted Bunting and Purple-breasted Chat, made their look. The Golden-crowned Emerald and Plain-capped Starthroat, hummingbirds we had didn’t see on the primary two visits, made temporary appearances.

As soon as once more, the Purple-breasted Chat.

The world’s endemic Banded Quails allowed us to see them for just a few seconds. I had solely heard these birds per week earlier. A Mangrove Cuckoo gave us unexpectedly respectable views, with the added perk that Paso Ancho is much inland from the place this stunning chicken can supposedly be seen.

This picture is Nacho’s. Alas, mine have been sub-standard.

A bunch of 5 spectacular White-throated Magpie-Jays made a raucous look. I didn’t handle any pictures this time, so I’ll present one from an earlier encounter in Acapulco. (You could have seen this species on an episode of “The Large-Bang Idea”, through which it’s incorrectly recognized as a “Blue Jay”. It’s, nonetheless, a jay that’s largely blue.)

However each outing has its excessive level. And this one’s was undoubtedly when a chicken briefly took wing simply to the left of our path, solely to settle proper again right down to the bottom. We jostled round, desperately looking for an honest photographic angle, impeded by barbed wire fencing. Finally, we settled for taking slightly-acceptable pictures by the dense brush. And all of the whereas, the chicken simply sat there. Clearly, this was a chicken whose survival mode is “don’t take a look at me, I’m not likely right here”.

It was additionally a type of birds which distinguishes itself by not distinguishing itself, with a combination of various hard-to-define brown tones. Nonetheless, we finally decided that it was a Buff-collared Nightjar. Lifer! (For all three of us, I ought to add.)

Like all members of the Nightjar household, the Buff-collared Nightjar hunts for bugs on the wing, at night time, and rests motionless in the course of the day, protected by its refined camouflage. Like a lot of them, it often rests on the bottom. Their Latin American frequent title, Tapacaminos, means “path-blockers”, as a result of they often cover out in plain sight on the open floor of pathways, solely to fly away simply earlier than they might be stepped on.

With this sighting, I’ve now seen 4 of Michoacán’s six members of the Nightjar household. The remaining two are the Frequent Pauraque, which might solely be seen on the coast right here, and the extraordinarily tough Eared Poorwill, with solely 345 sightings and 30 pictures listed on EBird. I received’t be holding my breath.

I’ll throw in a number of extra pictures from our journey, simply because I can:

Can’t… cease… displaying photos of cute Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls.

… or Golden-cheeked Woodpeckers.

… or Inexperienced Herons.

Nacho assured me that these bats are fruit-eaters. That was a aid, since Mexico is dwelling to all three of the world’s vampire bat species. (Additionally, vampire bats are very small, and these guys have been BIG.) As you possibly can see, they have been roosting in a tree, not a cave. Straight over our heads, in truth.



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