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MEXICO -- JALISCO &
Colima & Jalisco notes
by Rich Hoyer
This month I led two short tours to Colima & Jalisco, Jan 2- 8 and
18-25. I have very little in the way of interesting bird reports,
as Howell covers these areas very well, and we didn't see anything that
wasn't on his lists. But I do want to share some current
Howell only briefly mentions the "variably bad dirt road up to about
4000 m on Nieve" and instead gives details on the Atenquique road up
Volcan Fuego and a bit about the Floripondio roads up Nieve. But
in my opinion, this is one of the better roads. This road is
mentioned in some detail in a trip report by John van der Woude
(Nov.-Dec. 99). From the south side of Ciudad Guzman, get
on the road to El Grullo (La Grulla of van der Woude) and
Autlán. Go 8.3 Km. to the well-signed turnoff.
The first 4 km. are brushy hedges and full of birds this time of
year. Beyond Km. 5 you start entering good forest, and it's
good from there on up. Around Km. 5.5 we had a very, very
large mixed flock on the afternoon of Jan. 6, which the Field
Guides tour apparently relocated around Jan. 20. In it was
a female GRAY-COLLARED BECARD, one of the harder birds here.
Making this road even more attractive is that the Atenquique road up
Fuego is in really bad shape. It doesn't look like it's had any
maintenance in at least 2 years, and it is utterly impassible beyond
about Km. 15 (and where there is no place to turn around).
Even up to this point, the habitat is the same as down around km.
8+, just rather open oak and pine with very dense brushy
understory. Of course, the birding is till good here. I
just don't recommend going more than a couple km. beyond the
Microondas side road.
Nothing has changed at the El Floripondio spot (although it's now once
again signed as such, not San Gabriel), but the gate up the Microondas
Viboras seems to be permanently open now. Up at the saddle below
the microondas (about 6 km) we found a CINNAMON-BELLIED FLOWERPIERCER
nest with two recently hatched chicks on January 20.
At the Puerto Los Mazos site near Autlán (now signed as Sierra
Manantlán Biosphere Reserve), the gate, only 50 m from the
highway, is locked. The people who live at the small fruit stand
(and broom-making factory) have a key. They remind you that it's
private property, but then will either give you the key or open the
gate for you. You need the key to re-close the lock, so after
driving through the gate and locking it behind you, you have to walk
the key back to the house. If you're on foot, there's no problem
walking around the gate. The birding was excellent, and the
habitat was beautiful. There were a few MEXICAN WOODNYMPHS among
the swarms of BERYLLINE HUMMINGBIRDS, but they almost never perched for
good views. On the 4th I saw a CRESTED GUAN here just past the
radio towers, but it was very shy.
One other change is that the northern end of the Periférico at
Ciudad Guzmán is under water and impassible. This makes
for excellent birding of the lake and marshes as there is no
traffic! To get here, just drive around the barriers at the
mid-point of the Periférico (due west of the Zócalo).
Now a couple of bird reports:
At the hotel I stayed at in Guadalajara on Jan 17th was a
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, likely one of just a few Jalisco
records. The hotel was the Tapatio, a few km. towards town
from the airport on top of the tall hill that separates the two parts
of the main road.
On Jan. 22 we saw a male BLUE SEEDEATER ("SLATE-BLUE SEEDEATER")
along the road to La Maria north of Colima City and Comala. It
was in the same bamboo-filed canyon that Howell mentions for this
species. We were at N19º26.349', W103º42.793', 1234m,
which was just below a small one-car pullout about halfway down the
canyon. We pished and tooted up quite a bit of activity from the
undergrowth, and the bird sat up in the open for about 5 seconds.
Senior Field Leader, WINGS, Inc.