Properly, it’s July once more. July is the month when a few of Mexico’s greatest birders (and I don’t use that time period evenly) ask me to take them to the tiny city of Paso Ancho, within the hopes of seeing the ever-so-scarce and little-studied Sinaloa Martin.
July can be the month once I take take unsuspecting gringos, who don’t have any prior information of the Sinaloa Martin, to Paso Ancho. Partly as a result of they should see it, although they don’t know that but. And partly as a result of I wish to see it.
I additionally take them to Paso Ancho, as a result of it’s in be Río Balsas basin. This space provides Mexico’s best focus of endemics, in addition to only a few species an American birder might need already seen up north. And lots of of those endemics are actual beauties, way more so than the highland endemics I might in any other case present guests.
An American photographic activist (I might have stated photo-journalist, however he most well-liked “activist”), named Steve, had requested me to take him birding in late June. So I took him to Paso Ancho, after all. I wished him to see all these stunning endemics. That I additionally wished to see if the Martins may very well be discovered there as early as late June, was only a side-benefit.
Because it occurs, there have been no Martins to be discovered that day. I’ll nonetheless most likely strive once more subsequent June, as this June has been the driest and hottest in reminiscence, and in my expertise, summer time rains make it more likely that one will see the Sinaloa Martin. Luckily, Steve had no complaints, as he was equally delighted with the birds that did present up, such because the Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Pink-breasted Chat, and by far the most important variety of Russet-crowned Motmots that I’ve ever seen in a single day.
I do know this photograph isn’t very useful, however there are 4 Motmots in that one tree.
Yellow-winged Caciques and Streak-backed Orioles had been busy constructing their spectacular hanging nests. And for the primary time, I noticed a Bronzed Cowbird (which lays its eggs in different birds’ nests) testing one in all these nests. The scene of the crime, because it had been.
This feminine Streak-backed Oriole is the rightful nest proprietor.
This Bronzed Cowbird undoubtedly just isn’t.
There was additionally a Berylline Hummingbird feasting on a fallen mango. I don’t recall having seen a hummingbird sipping fruit juice earlier than.
Nonetheless, this primary outing was a little bit of a disappointment. Not for Steve; he appeared fully glad. However I knew that fairly a number of charismatic species had failed to show up. Maybe it was all that warmth and drought.
Two weeks later, it was a younger math and science instructor from Oregon named Brent who requested me to take him with me. And because the above-mentioned causes nonetheless stand, I took him to Paso Ancho as effectively. I hoped for a extra full survey of the positioning’s species. And this time, it appeared that every one the luck we hadn’t had in June confirmed up. Maybe the truth that our summer time rains had lastly kicked in helped.
Now, I’m not a “constructive confession” sort of Pentecostal. However it did seem to be all we needed to do was point out a species we want to see, and there it was. Brent talked about, simply earlier than we reached our vacation spot, how a lot he want to see a Motmot. And what was our first fowl seen after getting out of the automobile? A Russet-crowned Motmot, after all.
I advised him that sometimes, with luck, I’d hear a Laughing Falcon there. Seeing one? That’s a a lot a taller order. However it wasn’t lengthy earlier than we noticed one, sitting calmly in a moderately distant tree. A pair extra minutes and it began its hilarious name: HAW-haw! HAW-haw! HAW-haw!
I had talked about the next website to Brent, and that I usually see Lesser Roadrunners there; however that I by no means see them in Paso Ancho. Besides that this time, we did see one in Paso Ancho, my very first. Curiously, it was perched in a tree, moderately than operating on a street.
I advised him to not count on to see the Banded Wrens that may be heard from all instructions within the space. They’re all the time heard there, however not often seen. And but, we noticed 4 of them. I might have stated the identical for the positioning’s considerably rarer Completely happy Wrens. We received a very good take a look at one in all them as effectively, though I didn’t handle to get a photograph from that transient encounter.
The usually heard, however not often seen, Banded Wren.
I discussed that I used to see Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls there, however that that they had been shy of late. One turned up, to show me flawed once more.
A Mangrove Cuckoo flew shortly throughout our path. Mangrove Cuckoos aren’t presupposed to journey that far inland, however they do, moderately usually. And Brent was thrilled with a pair of Squirrel Cuckoos that perched close to us. I hadn’t warned him about these, as a result of they’re widespread sufficient right here for me to take without any consideration. It’s good to take outsiders with you from time to time — they remind you to maintain your sense of marvel in regards to the widespread birds.
The identical may very well be stated about so many different species. Black-chested and Stripe-headed Sparrows, Yellow-winged Caciques, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets, Thick-billed Kingbirds, Golden-cheeked Woodpeckers, Diverse Buntings, all of them confirmed up. And naturally, no go to to Paso Ancho could be full with out no less than one male Orange-breasted Bunting.
There have been Rose-throated Becards constructing nests close to the place we noticed that first Motmot. Within the avian world, with its many deadbeat dads, it’s all the time good to see a father pulling his weight.
Oh sure… And the Sinaloa Martins? Why, certainly, they had been there. Not the 40-80 that I had seen final yr. However I used to be proud of the 15 that we did see.