A good trip… The trip focused on endemics and extraordinary time and effort went into this. The local guide, Eric, knew his patch and earned the name Mr P (for persistence) – but he did get the difficult birds! I achieved my personal birding goals… and I again thank Rockjumper for that.
Mexico, a land of stark contrasts, supports an enviable, endemic-rich avifauna, third only to Brazil and Peru in the New World. Home of the Mayans, Aztecs, Zapotecs and Spanish Conquistadores, Mexico is one of the most charismatic countries in the world. Maligned by a violent border with the United States, we have specially designed a suite of Mexican birding tours that will deliver the vast majority of the country’s endemics within the safer states of Baja, Jalisco, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas and the Yucatan.
Our Volcan Colima & Balsas drainage Extension starts in Manzanillo where we search out Citreoline Trogon, San Blas Jay, Happy & Sinaloa Wren, Blue Mockingbird and Red-breasted Chat before heading to the volcanic slopes of Volcan de Colima for West Mexican Chachalaca, Banded Quail, Balsas Screech Owl, Colima Pygmy Owl, Long-tailed Wood Partridge, Chestnut-sided Shrike Vireo, Dwarf Vireo and Lesser Roadrunner.
After having worked our way successfully through the Northern Balsas Drainage on our short pre-tour extension, our main Birding Among Volcanoes tour will begin in Morelia. We start our birding around Patzcuaro, stopping at Lago Cuitzeo will give us an excellent chance of finding the gorgeous Black-polled Yellowthroat and Aztec Rail, followed by some time in nearby Pine-Oak forests for Transvolcanic Jay and Spotted Wren.
We then head to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City), our base for the remainder of this Mexico birding tour. As we head out of one of the world’s largest conurbations, we shall stop at road side marshes to search for Black-polled Yellowthroat, Striped Sparrow and with a little luck, Aztec Rail. The highlands surrounding Morelia play host to Transvolcanic Jay, Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo and a host of hummingbirds including Mexican Violetear, Rivoli’s, Broad-tailed, Berylline, and White-eared Hummingbird. Heading out to Canon de Los Lobos we search for some of the most desirable Mexican endemics such as Banded Quail, beautiful Lesser Ground Cuckoo, scarce Colima Pygmy Owl, Beautiful Sheartail and Dusky Hummingbird. Our Birding Among Volcanoes tour is perfectly complemented with a week long extension to the state of Veracruz.
Our Veracruz Extension takes in the best of the Lower Gulf of Mexico, covering the towns of Xalapa, Cordoba and Veracruz City for such delights as Stricklands Woodpecker, Rufous-naped Wren, Mexican Sheartail, Canivet’s Emerald, elusive Bearded Wood Partridge and Sumichrast’s Wren before concluding the tour in Los Tuxtla, home to Tuxtla Quail-Dove and Slate-colored Solitaire.
The Yucatan Peninsula, a large limestone shield, protruding into the Gulf of Mexico serves as an excellent companion to our tours to the Caribbean islands of Cuba, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Being surrounding by water on three sides and possessing very little topographical relief, the Yucatan has distinct habitats. As a consequence, much of the Peninsula’s wildlife cannot be seen anywhere else. On this short tour, we will visit the best birding sites on the peninsula, searching out the likes of Mexican Sheartail, Yucatan Wren and Yucatan Woodpecker. A short ferry ride to the island of Cozumel will elicit the endemic Cozumel Emerald, Cozumel Vireo, Yucatan Vireo and Black Catbird.
New tours due for 2019:
Our Baja and Northwest tour starts in the tourist capital of San José del Cabo where we work our way through Xantus and Costa’s Hummingbirds and rare endemic Belding’s Yellowthroat before crossing the Sea of Cortez for Craveri´s Murrelet and Least Storm Petrel. The pine oak forests of Sinaloa offer up the gorgeous Tufted Jay, Aztec Thrush and Green-striped Brush Finch before we move to Mazatlan for Elegant Quail, Black-throated Magpie Jay, Sinaloa Wren and Sinaloa Crow. Our tour concludes with a trip to central Nayarit where we hope to find Rusty-crowned Ground Sparrow, the elusive Mexican Woodnymph and Spotted Wren.