Birding the Americas Trip Report
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-- NAYARIT (SAN BLAS)
07 - 11 November 2002
by Tom Harvey
Conditions in San Blas Mexico
Between November 7-11 I went to San Blas Mexico. I am pleased to report
that just two weeks after the hurricane most hotels and restaurants are open,
electricity is on, and phone service was partially connected. The coast
road from Puerto Vallarta through Las Varas and the road from the Mazatlan-Tepic
highway are open. Most houses in the community sustained some damage
but are still standing, most have roof damage, and flooding from the storm
surge or rain ruined many people’s possessions. The town itself is slowly
getting back to normal and are working hard to have everything ready for
this tourist season.
The guides and I scouted many birding hot spots. In three days of
scouting, not intensive birding, we observed 147 species including several
local specialties such as Bare-throated Tiger Herons, Boat-billed Herons,
Wood Storks, Great Black Hawks, Crane Hawks, Wilson’s Plovers, Mexican Parrotlets,
Mangrove Cuckoos, Citreoline Trogons, Masked Tityras, Mangrove Swallows,
San Blas Jays, Purplish-backed Jays, Mangrove Vireos, and Mangrove Warblers.
Other birders reported Rufous-necked Wood Rails and Russet-crowned Motmots.
All of the birding spots described in the various guides are accessible,
including the river trips and trailheads in the small towns. Some are
damaged more than others.
Because San Blas is a small town without many resources, mostly supported
by fishing, agriculture and tourism, the impact to people’s lives has been
tremendous. Everybody in town sustained damage to their homes and lost
possessions. If you wish to help, the best thing you can do is to go
birding there. Stay in the hotels, eat at the restaurants, hire birding
guides, drink beer, eat seafood at the beach, and enjoy yourself. More
than anything else, the people want to get back to normal and get back to
work. If you wish to do more, pack an extra $20 bill or two, give it
to Josefina at Hotel Garza Canela or Camillo at Hotel Posada del Rey, and
ask them to give it to a family in need. Already the tourists are returning.
There was never so much as a blip in the crime rate around town. The
effects of the hurricane are something to behold and will be evident for some
time to come.