From Thornscrub to Cloudforest, an Introduction to Mexico
3-14 December 2007 (12 days)
6-17 December 2008 (12 days)
*Scroll down for the Mexican Plateau and South Texas Extension.
Besides being home to many of
Day 2: Border
Crossing. After taking care of
paperwork, we will drive south through
Farías. Today we will concentrate
tropical areas on the road below the town of
Day 4: Above
around Gómez Farías. As we
the road towards the
Day 5: The
Day 6: Above El Naranjo. We start the day driving south and west to bird above El Naranjo, concentrating on the road to El Maguey de Oriente. Here we’ll spend a good deal of time with mixed flocks that contain birds such as Crescent-chested Warbler, White-winged Tanager, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, and Olivaceous Woodcreeper. With some luck, we’ll come across a pair of Gray-collared Becards—a curiously uncommon and nomadic Mexican endemic. Carefully checking the understory here is probably our best chance at finding a Thicket Tinamou, Blue Ground-Dove, or a pair of the vocally-stunning Singing Quail. After supper, we’ll do a voluntary run back to the El Maguey road to look for Tamaulipas Pygmy-Owl. Night in El Naranjo.
Day 7: Agua Zarca. Today we continue birding above El Naranjo, this time concentrating on the xeric upland oak forest near Agua Zarca. This habitat supports a disjunct population of the highly-social Spotted Wren. Other birds we may run across here include Pale-billed Woodpecker, Azure-crowned Hummingbird, Elegant Euphonia, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Bat Falcon, and Military Macaw. In the afternoon we will descend to the old falls at El Salto. The patchy remnant forest here is very similar to lowland tropical rainforest, and we have a chance to see both species of ant-tanager. Just downstream is the beautiful cascade at El Meco. The hedgerows on the way may produce Lineated Woodpecker, Yellow-headed and Red-crowned Parrots, and Squirrel Cuckoo, while the cascade itself is often the site of a pre-roost performance by White-collared Swifts. Night in El Naranjo.
Cloudforest! After some early-morning
birding above El Naranjo, we’ll head toward Tlanchinol, in
Day 9: Tlanchinol. Today we will spend the entire day birding
the trail to the pueblito of Lontla, mainly concentrating on mixed
flocks. The flocks are dominated by
Brown-capped Vireos, Crescent-chested Warblers, and boreal migrant
including Hermit, Townsend’s, Black-and-white, and Black-throated Green. Keeping an ear out here should help us to
detect some larger birds like Unicolored and Azure-hooded Jays, Emerald
Toucanets, and Strong-billed Woodcreepers. There
is a chance of encountering one of the
most endangered and least-known birds in
10: Tlanchinol. We
will begin this morning at first light,
hoping to catch of a glimpse of birds as they come out to feed on the
trail. Black and White-throated Robins,
Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush, and even Scaled Antpitta have been
doing this here. Later on, we’ll bird
the scrubby second-growth on the trail off of km marker 169. Birds of note here include Gray
Silky(-flycatcher), Hooded Grosbeak, White-bellied Emerald, and two
endemics—White-naped Brushfinch and Hooded Yellowthroat.
Night in Huejutla.
Day 11: Back
Day 12: Departure. Today
you will catch your flight home.
CLIMATE: Generally temperate, however, it can be cold at upper elevations in the morning. Though it’s the dry season, it may be muddy at Tlanchinol. The first couple mornings of the extension will likely be quite cold.
DIFFICULTY: Moderately easy. The trails at Tlanchinol are moderately steep, but only for short stretches, and they are taken very slowly, while birding.
ACCOMODATION: Quite comfortable.
Plateau and South Texas
Extension (4 days)
29 November - 2 December 2007 (4 days)
2-5 December 2008 (4 days)
After a brief morning of birding
CLIMATE: Generally temperate, but this time of year a norte can bring brisk temperatures. Expect chilly dawns at high elevations in Mexico.
DIFFICULTY: Easy. Almost all walking is done on trails or roads.
ACCOMMODATION: Quite comfortable.
information, contact Michael Retter at mlretter AT yahoo.com