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20 - 21 May 1996

by Ted Eubanks

Virginia and I spent last week in Mexico.  On the way to Michoachan we birded Los Cumbres de Monterrey (south of Monterrey, between Santiago and Laguna de Sanchez).  The road is now well paved, and the accomodations in Cienega were acceptable (go, as we did, during the work week.  We were the only guests in the hotel, and we were invited to eat our evening meal with one of the local families.  Delightful).  We did not bird west of San Isidro, so we missed several of the high altitude species that I previously have seen toward Saltillo.  With the new toll road from Nuevo Laredo ($94 pesos), we were able to reach Santiago in around 3 1/2 hours.  For those of you who are interested, this is an easy one-day drive (7-8 hours) from Austin.

MONDAY, MAY 20, 1996

Drove from San Antonio to Cienega, NL (immeditely west of Cola de Caballo in Los Cumbres de Monterrey.  Accessed Cienega through Santiago through Cola de Calballo.  Arrived in late afternoon, therefore only birded from around 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm).

San Antonio, Texas to Cienega, NL

Black Vulture (25)
Turkey Vulture (15)
Osprey (1 along river south of Monterrey)
Swainson's Hawk (1 south of Monterrey)
White-tailed Hawk (2 immediately south of border)
Rock Dove (10)
White-winged Dove (10)
Mourning Dove (25)
Whip-poor-will (5 at Cienega; splendid morning chorus)
trogan sp. (3 heard in Vitroparque el Manzano (Manzano), between Cola de
Caballo and Cienega.) I am aware that Greg and Chuck reported Elegant west
of San Isidro. I only heard these trogans, each responding to a whistled
pygmy owl, and I was almost certain that they were Mountain (a soft, rather
melodic "whoot-whoot").
Acorn Woodpecker (4 in Manzano)
Red-shafted Flicker (1 in Manzano)
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (2 immediately south of border)
Cliff Swallow (100s on drive)
Barn Swallow (100s on drive)
Mexican Jay (10)
Chihuahuan Raven (75 between Laredo and Monterrey)
Common Raven (1 in mountains)
Bridled Titmouse (4 in Manzano)
White-breasted Nuthatch (1 in Manzano)
Brown Creeper (10; obviously breeding in Manzano)
Canyon Wren (2 singing in Cienega)
Carolina Wren (3 singing in Manzano)
Brown-backed Solitaire (2 in Mazano)
Clay-colored Robin (1)
Northern Mockingbird (10)
Curve-billed Thrasher (1)
Crescent-chested Warbler (10; several singing between Cola de Caballo and
Wilson's Warbler (1)
Painted Redstart (20; numerous in Manzano)
Rufous-capped Warbler (2 at Cola de Caballo)
Rufous-capped Brush-Finch (10 in Manzano)
Great-tailed Grackle (10)
Bronzed Cowbird (5)
Audubon's Oriole (3 in Manzano)
House Sparrow (10)

TUESDAY, MAY 21, 1996

Birded from Cienega west into mountains along paved road through San Isidro to Laguna de Sanchez.  Paved road in splendid condition.  In late morning birded back to Cola de Caballo and down to Santiago/El Cercado before traveling south to Cuidad Mante.  Birds below are from Los Cumbres de Monterrey.

Black Vulture (15)
Turkey Vulture (10)
Red-tailed Hawk (2)
Crested Caracara (4 near Santiago)
Rock Dove (3)
White-winged Dove (50)
Mourning Dove (25)
Inca Dove (10 near Santiago)
Common Ground-Dove (10 near Santiago)
White-tipped Dove (15 between Cola de Caballo and Santiago)
Greater Roadrunner (1)
White-throated Swift (50 in cliffs near San Isidro)
Broad-billed Hummingbird (1 in mountains, feeding on flowering century plant)
Buff-bellied Hummingbird (2 between Cola de Caballo and Santiago)
Blue-throated Hummingbird (10 between Cienega and San Isidro)
trogan sp. (5 in forest at Manzano; see above cautionary note)
Blue-crowned Motmot (1 between Cola de Caballo and Santiago)
Acorn Woodpecker (15)
Bronze-winged Woodpecker (1 between Cola de Caballo and Santiago)
Red-shafted Flicker (1 in Manzano)
Cordilleran Flycatcher (6)
Black Phoebe (1 near Cola de Caballo)
Dusky-capped Flycatcher (3 between Cienaga and San Isidro)
Ash-throated Flycatcher (6)
Brown-crested Flycatcher (2 near Santiago)
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher (3 between Cola de Caballo and Santiago)
Barn Swallow (10)
Green Jay (3 near Santiago)
Common Raven (5)
Bridled Titmouse (5 in Manzano)
Tufted (Black-crested) Titmouse (10; both titmice were seen together in a
mixed flock in Manzano)
Brown Creeper (10 in Manzano, apparently a common breeder)
Canyon Wren (15)
Spot-breasted Wren (3 between Cola de Caballo and Santiago)
Carolina Wren (5)
Brown-backed Solitaire (5)
Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush (1 near San Isidro; first heard the
staccato song, then whistled the bird in for an excellent view)
Clay-colored Robin (15)
Long-billed Thrasher (1 near Santiago)
Black-capped Vireo (1 male singing in thick brush just past the town of San
Isidro toward Laguna de Sanchez)
Hutton's Vireo (4 in Manzano)
Yellow-green Vireo (5 between Cola de Caballo and Santiago)
Nashville Warbler (1 at Cienega)
Tropical Parula (10 between Cola de Caballo and Santiago)
Crescent-chested Warbler (15, common in mountains)
Painted Redstart (15, common in mountains)
Golden-crowned Warbler (3 between Cola de Caballo and Santiago)
Rufous-capped Warbler (10)
Hepatic Tanager (2 in Manzano)
Flame-colored Tanager (2 in Manzano)
Crimson-collared Grosbeak (2 between Cola de Caballo and Santiago)
Rufous-capped Brush-Finch (10)
Canyon Towhee (1)
Rufous-crowned Sparrow (10)
Bronzed Cowbird (25)
Audubon's Oriole (4)
House Finch (15)
House Sparrow (10)

A few questions come to mind.  The Black-capped Vireo at San Isidro is not surprising given recent findings in Coahuila, but do we know of recent breeding records south of this location (Howell shows the bird breeding into southeastern NL and SW Tamaulipas)?  The Bronze-winged Woodpecker near Santiago was unexpected.  Although somewhat developed, this area (between Cola de Caballo and Santiago) seems well worth exploration.  The Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, between Cienega and San Isidro, surprised me.  Based on the notes of Greg and Chuck, I expected Russet.  However, the distinctive song led me to this interesting bird (great looks as well).  So what does this say about the bird at Laguna Atascosa?

Ted Lee Eubanks