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MEXICO -- SOUTH (Veracruz, Chiapas, Oaxaca)

18 June - 3 July 1999

by Ann Johnson and Bob Cecil

As planned, we left AJ's house near Des Moines at 4:00 PM on Friday and drove all night, arriving in Laredo Texas about 11:00 AM on Saturday.  In Laredo, we got auto insurance, Pesos, and then headed for the usual quiet, no-hassle crossing at Columbia, about 20 miles north of Laredo.  We reached the crossing about noon, feeling really good about the time we were making.  Unfortunately, the quiet border station was a madhouse of activity - people milling about everywhere, and the dreaded lines.  It seems that the computer in Nuevo Laredo had broken and everyone was being sent here.  The tourist passes were no problem, but the vehicle permit...  four and a half hours and a couple of near riots, and we were on our way.  Obviously, Cd. Victoria was out of the question.

We made up some time on the magnificent but expensive autopista (toll road) to Monterrey, but sacrificed some of it at our favorite pollo asado (grilled chicken) place at Allende.  It was starting to get dark, so we asked about nearby hotels.  The one just up the road had rooms, but only singles.  Since we needed two doubles plus a single, we went on.  Montemorelos, had two hotels, both full.  Linares had several hotels, also full.  We had already driven more dark time than we wanted, so we pulled into a comfortable looking Pemex parking lot and made camp for the evening.  24 hours of continuous driving and we got to sleep in the vehicle (my wife's Ford Windstar van).  Well, four of us did.  AJ finally bailed and took her chances on the much cooler and quieter (no snoring) asphalt parking lot.  The latter ultimately attracted the attention of the local cop who asked her what the problem was, so I was called in to translate.  Anyway, he was friendly, polite, and assured us that there was no problem (he's probably used to this in Mexico).  We shook hands, and he was on his way.

We all got back into the van, rolled the windows down to let out the noise and the fragrance of sweating bodies, and got two or three hours of sleep.  Very early the next AM, we were on our way.  I noticed that a couple of miles down the road was a nearly empty rural motel.

We passed Victoria and went on to Tampico.  A short stop at a pleasant toll booth/convenience store just south of the city on the Autopista produced innumerable herons and a Ringed Kingfisher at a nest hole.  Magnificent Frigatebirds floated overhead, and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were everywhere.

The fiascos of the previous day caught up with us, with the day ending about three hours short of our intended destination near the biological station at Catemaco.  Trying to make up time, I managed to attract the attention of a Highway Patrol officer, who, with his partner, suddenly appeared as flashing lights in my rear view mirror.  In a professional manner, he asked me for my tourist papers, proof of insurance, and asked the usual questions about where we were going, etc.  Finally, he shook my hand, and said that we could go.  In broken but polite Spanish, I asked him why he had stopped us.  He explained that I was speeding, as I had anticipated.  There were no bribes asked or given, and the officers were very professional.  While I cannot vouch for all Mexican police, my experiences have been consistently OK - invariably, they have been more help than hindrance.  I profusely apologized, and we went on our way, more slowly of course.  More interesting drive-by birds on the way to the biological station included Northern Jacana, Least Grebe, Gray and Roadside Hawks, and an excellent look at a Great Black Hawk on the barrier dunes.

We reached the Biological Research Station near Catemaco about 11:00 AM, and found ourselves surrounded by a Blue-crowned Motmot family.  A walk around the area produced Rose-throated Becard, Collared trogon, Red-crowned and Red-throated Ant-Tanager, and Spot- breasted Wren.  Ann, our resident flycatcher expert, also keyed out our first new flycatcher, a Yellow-olive tending a nest near the path.  Down the road a short distance from the biological stations is the road to Laguna Escondida, a beautiful lake nestled in the tropical forest.  The not too distant roar of Howler Monkeys was in the air as we walked down the steep hill to the lake, seeing Band-backed Wren, Squirrel Cuckoo, Green Kingfisher, Violaceous Trogon, Black- cheeked Woodpecker, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Barred Woodcreeper, Blue Mockingbird, and the spectacular Crimson-collared Tanager.  In addition, a Laughing Falcon sat cooperatively in a nearby tree.

Warm and dry, it was time for a Buffet moment at the beach in Monte Pio.  Our meal of langostinos didn't fill us up so we walked on down to another restaurant, to use the term loosely, (down the hill from the church, second shack from the right) where we had fish grilled in garlic sauce - the best meal of the trip.  Three orders of fish and a bunch of Coronas was only 90 pesos, so we left a big tip.  Amazon Kingfisher was the only interesting bird of the evening.

The mother of all thunderstorms rolled in over the gulf that night, leaving the biological station wet and muddy, but we did find the following new birds: Red-legged Honeycreeper, Lesser Greenlet, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Black-headed Saltator, Black-cowled Oriole, Yellow-throated Euphonia, Blue-gray and Yellow-winged Tanagers, Masked Tityra, Clay- colored and White-throated Robins, and Long-tailed Hermit.  At the nearby Montezuma Oropendola colony, we found Giant Cowbirds lurking.

We stopped back at the Hotel Playa Azul in Catemaco, but the only new bird was Short-billed Pigeon.  Adjacent to the hotel was a house with a sign welcoming birders.  The name was William Schaldach, a well-known researcher.  We would have visited, but the place looked a little overgrown.  Discussing this a few days later at Taninul with Michael Delasantro, he said that Shaldach might have been there and that we should have stopped.  Damn!  Maybe he could have helped us find the highly elusive Lovely Cotinga.

We headed out of Catemaco early in the afternoon for Palenque, Chiapas.  Aspirations of excellent time were thwarted by an uncompleted autopista (the Atlas de Carraeras was wrong), and a missed turn or two.  We got to some nearby marshes along the La Libertad road in early evening and looked for Boat-billed Heron.  No joy there, but did manage to pick up Bare- throated Tiger-Heron, Snail Kite, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Solitary Eagle, Aztec Parakeet, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Tropical Mockingbird, and Grassland Yellow-Finch.

We headed to the Hotel Palenque ($25 single) for the evening, and bought our first curios from a cute little girl who snuck into the restaurant to sell her wares - little ski-masked dolls of Subcommandante Marcos, head of the Zapatistas.  We went to bed with dreams of birding the famous ruins the next morning.  The air conditioner and hot water worked, and life was good.

The ruins at Palenque opened at 8:00 AM, so we spent a few minutes birding the museum and entrance parking lot.  The first find was Golden-hooded Tanager, followed by AJ's nemesis bird, Pale-billed Woodpecker; also Scarlet-rumped Tanager, Violaceous Trogon, and Green-backed Sparrow (a southern counterpart to Olive Sparrow) that was seen by me and heard by the others.

The trick to birding Palenque is to get there before the busloads of tourists.  The ruins themselves are awesome, making it difficult to remember that you're there for birds.  This Mayan city had aqueducts for carrying water and a sewage treatment septic system that modern Mexico seems unable to consistently replicate.  At the ruins we found Bat Falcon, Laughing Falcon, Double-toothed Kite, Collared Aracari, Masked Tityra, Montezuma Oropendula, and others.  John was our hummingbird expert, and helped us to spot key field marks with brief glances, such as on the Little Hermit that came to investigate us.  Overall, however, the birding was quite slow, the first indication that late June is probably not the best time to bird southern Mexico.  We even climbed a steep and treacherous trail behind one of the temples, only to enter silence in the deep forest.

We left about noon and stopped for lunch at a huge restaurant where we were the only customers.  The proprietor noticed our interest in natural things and gave us a pre-meal tour of his property.  He fed his aquaculture tilapia flock, and showed us a cacao tree in his yard and explained how he got the chocolate from the bean to make mole' sauce.  There were even a few birds around.

Ann had learned from a Texan friend about the Usumacinta Marshes and grasslands north of Palenque that would be good for some of our targets like Black-collared Hawk, Double-striped Thick-knee and, hopefully, Jabiru.  So, off we went towards Tabasco and Campeche.  First road, no marshes.  Second road, no marshes.  The grasslands produced better looks at Grassland Yellow-finch, plus Fork-tailed Flycatcher and Plain-breasted Ground Dove, and Ann wowed us by identifying both a Gray-crowned Yellowthroat in flight and a baby Botteri's Sparrow on a wire.

Evidently, the rains had not come yet since the "wetlands" were dry, so we missed most of our target species.  The best bird was Pinnated Bittern.  Dick, the social director, headed us back to Palenque for tacos and Corona.

The following morning was pretty much a repeat.  We guys decided to re-climb the mountain trail, while Ann stayed below.  We went far higher than on the pervious day, and on trails that got progressively treacherous, even though now and then a local would come trotting past.  Our effort was unrewarded, and virtually no birds were even heard besides wood-wrens.  Ann, on the other hand, found Streaked Flycatcher, Brown-hooded Parrot and Keel-billed Toucan.

After a pretty disappointing morning at one of Mexico's most famous birding sports, we headed south towards San Cristobal de las Casas and the highlands of Chiapas.  One stop mentioned in the Howell bird-finding guide was a big disappointment.  This an overlook on the road to Ocosingo (Howell Site 13-2) where one could look into the canopy and perhaps find Lovely Cotinga.  Slash and burn farming technology finished that plan, and chain saws buzzing in the distance were continuing their work.

Along the highway, local women were selling colorful embroidered clothing characteristic of their particular village.  Just outside of San Cristobal, known for being the home base of the Zapatista rebellion, we were greeted by a military checkpoint that was more thorough than the previous ones had been.  In fact, we were seldom even stopped for questions, and the checkpoints looked understaffed.  We wondered if much of the military had been dispatched to Puebla for earthquake cleanup.  At this one, though, we had to get out of the van, although, as always, we were treated politely.  A couple of the guys looked under the driver's seat and inside the engine compartment.  They had us open up the back of the van, but when they saw the volume of stuff, they just shrugged and had us close it.  A young man on Ann's side of the car tried to make conversation with her, who told him in cryptic Spanish and a show of binoculars that we were birders.  He loved the binoculars.

San Cristobal is a beautiful, cosmopolitan city with lots of Europeans and U.S.  expatriates alongside natives of the various indigenous tribes who were selling their wares.  Small mobs of Indian children surrounded tourists, trying to sell macrame', key chains, Marcos effigies, etc.

The morning was cool, and the first bird to greet us was a Rufous-collared Sparrow hopping around in the hotel's interior garden.  Outside of town, we looked for the water tank that marked the Pink-headed Warbler/Black-throated Jay road described in Howell.  After three passes, we couldn't find it, so headed up a likely looking road going into the mountains.  We soon came to a pine forest and found the local version of Steller's Jay, different from the Rocky Mountain variety in being darker and nearly crestless.  We also got Painted and Slate-throated Redstart, Yellowish Flycatcher, Hutton's Vireo, Olive and Crescent-chested Warbler, and Yellow-eyed Junco.  We went on up the road, where the local agricultural product was flowers for the markets in town.  Along the way we got Cinnamon-bellied Flower-piercers, as well as White-eared and Amethyst-throated Hummingbird, Scrub Euphonia, Yellow-winged Tanager, Eastern Bluebird, and the Guatemalan subspecies of Northern Flicker.

We kept heading up, and I finally realized that the microwave towers at the peak were actually TV towers.  Near the top, a Gray Silky sat atop a century plant and periodically shot high after an insect.  The swallows were Black-capped, and a Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush posed nearby.  Ann left the heavy climbing to us, and was rewarded by a Blue and White Mockingbird, which we all saw a little later.  At the top of the hill we added Rufous-browed Wren, and on the way back down was the most spectacular hummingbird we had ever seen.  The Garnet-throated was large with rufous wings, purple underparts, and a brilliant garnet gorget.

We headed towards the other side of the mountain where there was a reserve.  On the way, we ran into the army guys again.  The guy Ann had talked with ran over to say "hola" while some others took training photos of the back of a Gringo tourist van.  As always, we made a special point to wave at the guy down the road in the machine gun emplacement.  They always wave back.

We paid a modest entrance fee at the Cerro-Huitepec reserve, and entered.  At mid-day, the birding was pretty slow.  We heard a bunch of kids on a field trip and waited out the passing crowd at a shelter.  A young man popped in, saying something about "muchas muchachas." He had been guiding a large group of girls on the trails.  Soon he was showing us his ID indicating that he was a ProNatura park ranger.  He leafed through the Howell and Webb, showing us the park's species as he did so.  Roberto really knew his stuff, remarkable in that he had no binoculars and only a primitive local bird book.

We asked him if he could give us a guided walk, and soon we saw bushtits and an Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush at her nest.  He pished up birds in a way that would have made Pete Dunne proud.  Back by his house, all but Ann got a White-naped Brush-Finch - Ann made the unfortunate assumption that the bird we were looking for would logically be in the brush, not up in a tree.

In the car was a new printing of the Peterson's Mexican guide I had received as a gift (Thanks, Rick Hollis!  I told you it might not be long before I passed it along) and John's old Nikon compacts we had along for a spare.  On the way back down, we decided to leave them with Roberto for his guiding tip.  We left him working through the Spanish names of birds he sees everyday.  If you're ever down there, say "hola" to him for us.

Another morning of birding around San Cristobal and we still missed the Pink-headed Warbler, although the Rufous-collared Robins and Rufous-collared Sparrows we cool.  Ann had an odd experience with some locals, illustrating the lingering edginess in the area.  She heard bells, and saw a group of indigenous women and children tending goats.  She waved but there was no response.  She said "buenos dias" and they just froze in their tracks - her first experience with someone actually being afraid of her.  I have had similar experiences, where locals leave the trail and cut through the woods just to avoid me.  It's certainly unfortunate and frustrating.  Anyway, Ann turned up Brown Creeper (always a surprise to see a nesting species in southern Mexico that we also get on Iowa Christmas Counts!).

We left for Tuxtla Guiterrez and El Sumidero Canyon where birding became decidedly more Pacific Slope in nature despite the fact that we were still on the Atlantic drainage.  The canyon itself was either breath-taking or terrifying, depending upon one's feeling about heights.  We began seeing birds like Russet-crowned Motmot, Varied Bunting, Band-tailed Pigeon, and Greater Pewee.  An Emerald Toucanet wrapped up our Mexican toucans, and White-throated Magpie Jays soon became trash birds.

We headed back to El Sumadero early the next morning, but the birding was tough since the birds would flash across the road, never to be seen again.  We did turn up Red-breasted Chat (!), Northern Bobwhite (the coyolocos subspecies with its black head and very rusty underparts), Lesser Roadrunners, Blue-crowned and Russet-crowned Motmots, White-tipped doves, and Banded Wrens.  One of our main target species, the Belted Flycatcher, kept calling but never came close enough to the road to glimpse.  Other interesting birds in the area included AJ's female Slaty Finch, a White-lored Gnatcatcher which offered a comparison to the Tropical of a few days earlier, family groups of Yellow-green Vireos, and Plumbeous Vireo.

We finally crossed the Continental Divide and were truly on the western slope.  New birds appeared: Yellow-winged Cacique, Orange -breasted Bunting, Rusty and Stripe-headed Sparrow, and Tropical Mockingbird.  We heard target bird Rosita's Bunting and even tried a tape, to which it responded by disappearing.

Unquestionably the best bird of the trip was spotted by the ever alert Francis, who pointed to 2 adult King Vultures soaring with other vultures over the open pine forest near kilometer marker 34 on Highway 190 near the Oaxaca/Chiapas state line

As we hit the coastal plain, there was an abundance of water, including a creek flowing across the Pan American Highway.  Another foot in depth, and we would have had a 400 mile detour.  We got numerous water birds like Black-necked Stilt and Roseate Spoonbill.  We spent the evening at Salina Cruz (probably the best hotel in town - $26 for a single), then had seafood on the bay, and actually saw a seagull.

The morning began by spending some time in the west Mexican thorn forest at the edge of the coastal plain, inland from Santo DomingoTehuantepec.  The first stop produced West Mexican Chachalaca and Sumichrast's (Cinnamon-tailed) Sparrow, a Oaxacan endemic with a very limited range.  Russet-crowned Motmots were calling but difficult to find.  A pair of Banded Wrens scolded noisly and finally popped into view.  We were surprised to find Black- tailed Gnatcatchers.  The next stop produced singing Orange-breasted Bunting, a small flock of Orange-fronted Parakeets, Plain-capped Starthroat, and many more Sumichrast's Sparrows.  Trying to track down what sounded like a distant Rosita's Bunting, we came across a Lesser Ground Cuckoo.  It amazed us that the bird could be only fifteen feet away and stay absolutely hidden from sight.  Learning the call (like a softly-blown police whistle), we heard several invisible others.  The Rosita's Bunting escaped up the cliff.

We had miles to go so we headed back north towards Oaxaca City.  There had been considerable flooding in this area and consequently, water birds were abundant - but just normal stuff like egrets, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Northern Jacanas, and Roseate Spoonbills.  Best bird at 60 MPH was a Citreoline Trogon.  In the high pines we made a short stop to stretch, where Ann found birds familiar from her trips to Arizona - Hepatic Tanager, Bridled Titmouse, and Scrub Jay, plus Rusty Sparrow.

Ann had a list of good spots given to her by Jim Bangma, so we stopped at one of them.  Here we picked up Dusky Hummingbird, White-throated Towhee, Boucard's Wren, and Bridled.  Sparrow.  Francis needed to do some gift shopping, so we stopped at Teotitlan del Valle, a little town, maybe 25 miles east of Oaxaca City, to check out the rugs for which the village is famous.  There were dozens of little shops, each staffed with eager proprietors selling their beautiful textiles.  Francis finally got a couple while I picked up a couple of pieces of black Oaxaca Pottery.  On the way back to Oaxaca, a young Gringo couple was walking along the road, so we picked them up.  Got to chatting and found out the guy was a grad student at the University of Wisconsin.  They knew Dick's daughter, who is also a student there.  Small world!

We found a great hotel just west of the junction of highway 190 and 175 ($39 for a single), which goes north to tomorrow's destination of Valle Nacional.  The birds in cages were a bit grim, but the Black and White-collared Swifts flying overhead and the Rufous-backed Robin on the lawn were nice.  Identifiable hummingbirds included Broad-billed, Magnificient, and a Dusky which I had missed earlier.  Ann, Francis, and John took a taxi downtown for food and culture while Dick and I hung around the hotel.

The next morning began along a small stream a few miles north of the intersection that had been good to us last year.  Its little paths made access easy, and we found Golden and Dwarf Vireos and White-throated Flycatcher.  At La Cumbre ("the crest"), we found Red Warbler, White-eared Hummingbird, Slate-colored Solitaire, and Black-headed Siskin.  The southeast road was birdier than the northwest road, at least in late June.  Well up the mountain range, there are a couple of roadside restaurants nearby each other.  The second also has a large private park offering both camping and cabanas.  While we didn't go in, it appeared that the forest had been preserved and is probably a good birding stop.  At the restaurant, we found Chestnut-capped Brushfinch as we had during our trip here last year.  The proprietor took interest in our activity and brought out his new Mexican Peterson to show us what birds were in the area.  It's kind of uplifting to see locals getting involved in their natural surroundings.  A quick stop along the road near kilometer marker 161 produced a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, our fourth gnatcatcher of the trip.

The road across the Sierras ranges from not too bad to awful, the latter true especially near the top where loaded logging trucks batter the road into an unending series of huge potholes.  While the logging thing is pretty depressing, the plus is that they appeared to be doing selective cutting rather than clear cutting.  Evidently, they have not yet received technical assistance from the US forest industry.  We finally reached the crest and started down into the cloud forest.  There were birds, like Unicolored Jay and Common Bush-Tanager, but most of the cloud forest species would have to wait until morning.  As we neared Valle Nacional, we stopped at our favorite spot to enjoy Crimson-collared Tanager, Buff-throated Saltator, Blue Ground Dove, Gray-breasted Wood Wren, and Red-legged Honeycreeper.  Ann comments that this is her favorite birding spot in Mexico, and that she seen more life birds here than in any other spot in the world.  She would add some more in the morning.

The area around Valle Nacional is some of the finest birding in Mexico.  The highest areas are pine-oak forest; then you descend into dense cloud forest that extends for about twenty miles, followed by lowland tropical forest.  We even enjoy the town, especially the proprietors of the small but kind of primitive (50 pesos for a single, 70 for a double) hotel, but also the various taco and pollo places the general good nature of the people.

We headed back to our favorite spot, which is a tiny shrine a little ways off the road.  While mileage markers were missing along the particular stretch of highway, it is visible from the road by its exotic flowers and small banana grove.  Along the road are barrrancas which bring the vegetation down to eye level.  A small stream adds a water attraction.  The activity was pretty intense for awhile, with Ruddy Quail Dove, Blue Ground Dove, and White-tipped Dove.  A fruiting tree that hung over the road was very attractive, and mixed in with the Red-legged Honeycreepers was a pair of Green Honeycreepers.  That's one of those birds that no plate in a field guide can adequately portray- John thought that they probably had batteries.  A Black- throated Shrike-Tanager came through; also Black-faced Grosbeak, and Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and Long-billed Starthroat worked the flowers.  Dick and Ann got a brief look at a mind-boggling hummer.  The tail consisted of two long, fluttering streamers with white spots.  Clements calls it Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird, but we prefer Howell and Webb's Sparkling- tailed Woodstar.

The birding slowed a bit, so we hung the previously unused hummingbird feeder over the shrine and headed up the road.  A quick stop produced Bananaquits along a side road near some houses.  A hawk looked different enough to warrant a stop and it turned out to be a juvenile Hook-billed Kite.  The logging road in the cloud forest we had looked forward to since the previous day was disappointing, producing only Gray-breasted Wood Wrens and Slate-colored Solitaire, although John and I got difficult views of Ruddy Foliage Gleaners.

Heading back down, birds were everywhere, including Rusty Sparrows, Yellow-faced and Blue-black Grassquits, more Black-throated Shrike-Tanagers, Rufous-capped, Golden-crowned, and Golden-browed Warblers, Unicolored Jays, and Blue Mockingbirds.

Back at the shrine, Ann and John added an out-of-range Happy Wren, plus Olive-backed Euphonia and Yellow-bellied Tyranulet.  Unfortunately, the hummingbird feeder had attracted nothing, consistent with previous experiences with leaving one up only a few hours.  Reluctantly, we headed north towards Tuxtupec, where we spent the evening at the Hotel Hacienda ($20 for a single).

Before dawn the next morning, the more intrepid (AJ, John, and Francis), took off to call in a Mottled Owl, only to find that they aren't calling in July.  They came back to get me and Dick, and we checked some areas around Camelia Roja noted in Howell.  Unfortunately, much of the forest had been cleared along the road, but the second growth was full of grassquits, seedeaters, and even a Blue-black Grosbeak.  Blue-crowned Motmots called from the hills and the normal array of flycatchers flew around.  Grayish and Black-headed Saltators made themselves known, and Ann identified the call of a Variable Screech-Owl that was up on the hill.  Maybe they started owling too early?  From a rocky limestone face came the call we had been waiting for - Sumichrast's Wren.  Only Ann had the patience to wait for it to come show itself.

A bird at the base of the dam finally got Ann off the hook.  I have taken Ann to Mexico several times, and she was about 4 for 4 for Yellow-billed Cacique, where I was about 0 for 6.  This time, however, she was able to show me one, a great but brief look at a bird that is much more striking than you might think.

At several locations, we heard a bird that sounded lots like a Western Screech-Owl, but could never confirm it with a look.  At the dam, we finally tracked one down, and it turned into a Barred Antshrike.  I really enjoyed showing Dick this remarkable bird.  I bet we all remember its call.  We added Mangrove Swallow, learning that they aren't married to mangroves but also inhabit inland rivers and lakes.

We spent the night on the "Emerald Coast," along the Gulf Coast north of Veracruz.  Since it wasn't tourist season, we had no problem finding a pleasant and inexpensive hotel where we could drink Corona on the beach and watch diving Brown Pelicans.

Our final destination was Hotel Taninul ($33 single), a beautiful hotel and spa within, at least by our definition, striking distance of Des Moines.  We were well on our way when we came upon a long line of cars and heavy trucks waiting at a small town.  A demonstration regarding the governor was going on, but we didn't find out what the specific issue was.  There were military and federales on the scene, but, evidently, no one wanted things to escalate.  After about an hour of sitting, the traffic began slowly moving.

We had hoped Taninul would give us some final shots at birds, but heavy rain pretty much prevented that.  We did manage to get Francis his long awaited Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl and there were a few Green Parakeets around, but the lack of parrots and other birds was disappointing.

We left Taninul at 9:15 AM on Saturday and with very few stops or delays, arrived back at Ann's at 3:00 PM on Sunday, about 1500 miles straight through.


From 6/19/1999 to 7/3/1999 ~ in Mexico ~ 301 seen
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis
Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Great Egret Ardea alba
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Green Heron Butorides virescens
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma mexicanum
Pinnated Bittern Botaurus pinnatus
White Ibis Eudocimus albus
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi
Roseate Spoonbill Ajaia ajaja
Wood Stork Mycteria americana
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes burrovianus
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Hook-billed Kite Chondrohierax uncinatus
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus
Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus
White Hawk Leucopternis albicollis
Common Black-Hawk Buteogallus anthracinus
Great Black-Hawk Buteogallus urubitinga
Harris's Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus
Solitary Eagle Harpyhaliaetus solitarius
Gray Hawk Asturina plagiata
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
Swainson's Hawk Buteo swainsoni
White-tailed Hawk Buteo albicaudatus
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
Crested Caracara Caracara plancus
Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis
Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula
West Mexican Chachalaca Ortalis poliocephala
Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus
American Coot Fulica americana
Limpkin Aramus guarauna
Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri
Least Tern Sterna antillarum
Rock Dove Columba livia
Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata
Pale-vented Pigeon Columba cayennensis
Red-billed Pigeon Columba flavirostris
Short-billed Pigeon Columba nigrirostris
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica
Inca Dove Columbina inca
Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina
Plain-breasted Ground-Dove Columbina minuta
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti
Blue Ground-Dove Claravis pretiosa
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Ruddy Quail-Dove Geotrygon montana
Green Parakeet Aratinga holochlora
Olive-throated Parakeet Aratinga nana
Orange-fronted Parakeet Aratinga canicularis
Brown-hooded Parrot Pionopsitta haematotis
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
Lesser Ground-Cuckoo Morococcyx erythropygus
Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus
Lesser Roadrunner Geococcyx velox
Variable Screech-Owl Otus atricapillus
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium brasilianum
Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor
Whip-poor-will Caprimulgus vociferus
Black Swift Cypseloides niger
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi
Long-tailed Hermit Phaethornis superciliosus
Little Hermit Phaethornis longuemareus
Wedge-tailed Sabrewing Campylopterus curvipennis
Long-tailed Sabrewing Campylopterus excellens
Green-breasted Mango Anthracothorax prevostii
Dusky Hummingbird Cynanthus sordidus
Broad-billed Hummingbird Cynanthus latirostris
White-eared Hummingbird Hylocharis leucotis
Azure-crowned Hummingbird Amazilia cyanocephala
Berylline Hummingbird Amazilia beryllina
Buff-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia yucatanensis
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Amazilia tzacatl
Amethyst-throated Hummingbird Lampornis amethystinus
Garnet-throated Hummingbird Lamprolaima rhami
Magnificent Hummingbird Eugenes fulgens
Plain-capped Starthroat Heliomaster constantii
Long-billed Starthroat Heliomaster longirostris
Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird Tilmatura dupontii
Citreoline Trogon Trogon citreolus
Mountain Trogon Trogon mexicanus
Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris
Violaceous Trogon Trogon violaceus
Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
Russet-crowned Motmot Momotus mexicanus
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota
Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus
Collared Aracari Pteroglossus torquatus
Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons
Smoky-brown Woodpecker Veniliornis fumigatus
Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis
Northern Barred-Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae
Ivory-billed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus flavigaster
Spot-crowned Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes affinis
Ruddy Foliage-gleaner Automolus rubiginosus
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet Ornithion semiflavum
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet Camptostoma imberbe
Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
Belted Flycatcher Xenotriccus callizonus
Tufted Flycatcher Mitrephanes phaeocercus
Greater Pewee Contopus pertinax
Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus
Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus
White-throated Flycatcher Empidonax albigularis
Yellowish Flycatcher Empidonax flavescens
Buff-breasted Flycatcher Empidonax fulvifrons
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Couch's Kingbird Tyrannus couchii
Western Kingbird Tyrannus verticalis
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus
Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher Myiodynastes luteiventris
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Rose-throated Becard Pachyramphus aglaiae
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor
Steller's Jay Cyanocitta stelleri
Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
Unicolored Jay Aphelocoma unicolor
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas
Brown Jay Psilorhinus morio
White-throated Magpie-Jay Calocitta formosa
Tamaulipas Crow Corvus imparatus
Chihuahuan Raven Corvus cryptoleucus
Common Raven Corvus corax
Dwarf Vireo Vireo nelsoni
Hutton's Vireo Vireo huttoni
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus
Golden Vireo Vireo hypochryseus
Plumbeous Vireo Vireo plumbeus
Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis
Lesser Greenlet Hylophilus decurtatus
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus
Gray Silky-flycatcher Ptilogonys cinereus
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
Brown-backed Solitaire Myadestes occidentalis
Slate-colored Solitaire Myadestes unicolor
Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush Catharus aurantiirostris
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush Catharus frantzii
Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
White-throated Thrush Turdus assimilis
Rufous-backed Robin Turdus rufopalliatus
American Robin Turdus migratorius
Rufous-collared Robin Turdus rufitorques
Blue Mockingbird Melanotis caerulescens
Blue-and-white Mockingbird Melanotis hypoleucus
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
Tropical Mockingbird Mimus gilvus
Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre
Curve-billed Thrasher Toxostoma curvirostre
Brown Creeper Certhia americana
Spotted Wren Campylorhynchus gularis
Boucard's Wren Campylorhynchus jocosus
Rufous-naped Wren Campylorhynchus rufinucha
Band-backed Wren Campylorhynchus zonatus
Canyon Wren Catherpes mexicanus
Sumichrast's Wren Hylorchilus sumichrasti
Happy Wren Thryothorus felix
Spot-breasted Wren Thryothorus maculipectus
Banded Wren Thryothorus pleurostictus
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Rufous-browed Wren Troglodytes rufociliatus
White-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucosticta
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Polioptila melanura
White-lored Gnatcatcher Polioptila albiloris
Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea
Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Black-capped Swallow Notiochelidon pileata
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
Cave Swallow Petrochelidon fulva
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
Bridled Titmouse Baeolophus wollweberi
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Olive Warbler Peucedramus taeniatus
Black-headed Siskin Carduelis notata
Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria
House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
Crescent-chested Warbler Parula superciliosa
Gray-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis poliocephala
Red Warbler Ergaticus ruber
Painted Redstart Myioborus pictus
Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus
Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus
Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons
Golden-browed Warbler Basileuterus belli
Red-breasted Chat Granatellus venustus
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Yellow-eyed Junco Junco phaeonotus
Bridled Sparrow Aimophila mystacalis
Stripe-headed Sparrow Aimophila ruficauda
Cinnamon-tailed Sparrow Aimophila sumichrasti
Botteri's Sparrow Aimophila botterii
Cassin's Sparrow Aimophila cassinii
Rusty Sparrow Aimophila rufescens
Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
White-throated Towhee Pipilo albicollis
Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus
Green-backed Sparrow Arremonops chloronotus
White-naped Brush-Finch Atlapetes albinucha
Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch Buarremon brunneinucha
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus
Black-throated Shrike-Tanager Lanio aurantius
Red-crowned Ant-Tanager Habia rubica
Red-throated Ant-Tanager Habia fuscicauda
Hepatic Tanager Piranga flava
White-winged Tanager Piranga leucoptera
Crimson-collared Tanager Ramphocelus sanguinolentus
Passerini's Tanager Ramphocelus passerinii
Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Yellow-winged Tanager Thraupis abbas
Scrub Euphonia Euphonia affinis
Yellow-throated Euphonia Euphonia hirundinacea
Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi
Golden-hooded Tanager Tangara larvata
Green Honeycreeper Chlorophanes spiza
Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus
Slaty Finch Haplospiza rustica
Grassland Yellow-Finch Sicalis luteola
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
White-collared Seedeater Sporophila torqueola
Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea
Cinnamon-bellied Flower-piercer Diglossa baritula
Black-headed Grosbeak Pheucticus melanocephalus
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Pyrrhuloxia Cardinalis sinuatus
Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Grayish Saltator Saltator coerulescens
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides
Blue Bunting Cyanocompsa parellina
Blue Grosbeak Guiraca caerulea
Varied Bunting Passerina versicolor
Rosita's Bunting Passerina rositae
Orange-bellied Bunting Passerina leclancherii
Chestnut-headed Oropendola Psarocolius wagleri
Montezuma Oropendola Gymnostinops montezuma
Yellow-winged Cacique Cacicus melanicterus
Yellow-billed Cacique Amblycercus holosericeus
Yellow-backed Oriole Icterus chrysater
Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis
Black-cowled Oriole Icterus dominicensis
Bar-winged Oriole Icterus maculialatus
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
Melodious Blackbird Dives dives
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater
Giant Cowbird Scaphidura oryzivora

Ann Johnson