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1 - 5 March 1997

by Richard D. Palmer

Trip report for Gomez Farias, Tamaulipas, Ciudad de Mante, Tamaulipas and El Naranjo, San Luis Potosi.  March 1 through March 5th, 1997.  Submitted by Richard D.  Palmer, 370 South Avenida De Las Sabinas, Green Valley, Arizona 85614-4701 Phone (520) 648-6735 Additional information available upon request.

This was a short trip taken by Richard A.  Stevick, Mechanicsburg, PA, John H.  Groff, Gordonville, PA and myself Richard D.  Palmer of Green Valley, AZ.

It would not have gone as well as it did without the help, suggestions and comments from Marty Michener, Nick M.  Jackson, Jeff R.  Wilson, David O.  Matson, Sam and Barbara House, Sergio E.  Aviles, Nancy Flood and Bill Kossack.  I thank them greatly for their help!

March 1st:

Drove from Laredo, Texas to Ciudad de Mante, 415 miles.  Arrived at the customs point of entry at 6:00 AM.  Took about 2 hours to register the car and pick up tourist permits.  The first port of entry only examines the car contents.  About a mile down the road is the building for obtaining car permits and tourist permits.  Arrived in Cuidad de Mante around 5:00 PM.  Stayed at the Hotel Mante on Business 85 near downtown.  Cost around $40 USD per night for 3 persons.  Birding was good around the hotel for a downtown place.  They have a locked garage and a good restaurant.  Pleasant place to stay.

March 2nd:

Arrived at daylight to bird Gomez Farias and vicinity.  We parked the car and birded up the mountain road to Alta Cima until around noon.  In the afternoon we birded the road from downtown El Encino to the Rio Sabinas.  We also walked the river about 1 mile in each direction from the concrete ford.  Todays birding took us from 450' elevation at El Encino to about 2300' elevation at Alta Cima.  Never a lack of birds to look at, good birding.  Stayed at the Hotel Mante.

March 3rd:

Daylight found us on the road to Nacemeinto.  This is a wonderful birding spot along a channalized river on the west side of Mante.  Spent most of the morning driving south along the canal until we reached the nacemeinto or birthplace of the river.  Afternoon found us packing up and heading for El Naranjo.  We checked into the Hotel del Valle in El Naranjo.  (Cost about the same as the hotel in Mante.) Excellent place to stay, the people are very friendly.  Parking in front of the hotel on the street.  They have a small restaurant in the hotel.  Best hotel in town, in fact I think the only one.  In the afternoon we birded the road to El Salto, the Rio Del Salto and the falls area.  Not the best time to bird the area but a few species were found.  This area is worth the effort if only to see the falls.

March 4th:

Arrived at Santa Barbarita on Highway 80 west of El Naranjo around daylight to try for the Military Macaw which has been seen near here many times.  No luck today.  The residents say they are still around but not seen daily at this time of year.  They apparently move in later in the month to coincide with a fruiting tree that they feed on.  In the morning we birded the road from Agua Zarca on Highway 80 to Papagayos.  A totally different open habitat than what we had seen before on the rest of the trip.  There were many birds along this road and we were kept busy identifying them.  The afternoon found us birding the road south of El Naranjo to El Estribo.  Birding was not good for the most part due to the afternoon heat, lots of people, and quite a bit of farming.  A good area was found near El Estribo on the Rio del Salto where a concrete bridge crosses the river.  Walking along the river bank was easy in this area.  Stayed in El Naranjo.

March 5th:

Daylight found us at the firetower along Highway 80 just west of El Platanito trying for the Military Macaw (no luck again).  Many other birds were present however in this dry oak habitat.  The highlight of the trip was the 5 foot, 3 inch around Diamonback Rattlesnake which a group of Green Jays found for us.  I came to within 4 foot of stepping on the reptile so I will not soon forget it.  There are many Chiggers around the firetower so take proper precautions.  Around 9:00 AM we started the trip back to Laredo returning by the back door along Highway 57.  About the same distance as the trip down.  We crossed the border at Laredo around 7:00 PM.

If I had it to do over again I would allow one more day birding the Gomez Farias area.  Gasoline prices have risen since last year so for your budget allow for a price of 2.97 pesos per liter of Magna Sin (unleaded) gas.  This converts to about $1.43 USD per gallon of gas at 8.0 pesos per USD.

Birds seen:
8-Thicket Tinamou Crypturellus cinnamomeus (heard only)
3-Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
45-Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
4-Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
20-Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
65-Neotropical Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
1-Great blue Heron Ardea herodias
5-Great Egret Ardea alba
25-Snowy Egret Egretta thula
1-Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
250-Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
35-White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi
1-Wood Stork Mycteria americana
6-Black-bellied Whistling-duck Dendrocygna autumnalis
8-Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata
18-Mallard Anas platyrhynchos diazi
10-Gadwall Anas strepera
10-American Wigeon Anas americana
1-Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
4-Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
55-Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
250-Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
500-Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
4-White-tailed Kite Elanus caeruleus
2-Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
1-Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus
1-Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii
6-Harris' Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus
2-Gray Hawk Buteo nitidus
7-Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
1-Swainson's Hawk Buteo swainsoni
2-White-tailed Hawk Buteo albicaudatus
19-Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
1-Ferruginous Hawk Buteo regalis (seen near Monterrey, NL)
12-Crested Caracara Caracara plancus
75-American Kestrel Falco sparverius
12-Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula (heard only)
6-Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus
1-Sora Porzana carolina
1-Purple Gallinule Porphyrula martinica
30-Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
150-American Coot Fulica americana
25-Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis (seen near Sabinas Hildalgo, NL)
1-Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
4-Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa
8-Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
80-Rock Dove Columba livia
17-Red-billed Pigeon Columba flavirostris
15-White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica
20-Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
100-Inca Dove Columbina inca
20-Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina
6-Ruddy Gound-Dove Columbina talpacoti
4-White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
20-Red-crowned Parrot Amazona viridigenalis
25-Yellow-headed Parrot Amazona oratrix
4-Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
1-Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus
16-Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris
4-Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
1-Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
100-Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi
1-Wedge-tailed Sabrewing Campylopterus curvipennis
2-Broad-billed Hummingbird Cynanthus latirostris
8-Mountain Trogon Trogon mexicanus
2-Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans
1-Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota
4-Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon
2-Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
2-Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
1-Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
35-Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons
6-Ladder-backed Woodpecker Picoides scalaris
2-Golden-olive Woodpecker Piculus rubiginosus aeruginosus
4-Ivory-billed Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus flavigaster
1-Greater Pewee Contopus pertinax
1-Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
1-Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
1-Say's Phoebe Sayornis saya
12-Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus
8-Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer
1-Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus
4-Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
25-Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
100-Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
4-Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
12-Cassin's Kingbird Tyrannus vociferans
3-Gray-collared Becard Pachyramphus major
1-Rose-throated Becard Pachyramphus aglaiae
150-N. Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
20-Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
20-Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas
25-Brown Jay Cyanocorax morio
75-Mexican Crow (Tamaulipas) Corvus imparatus
250-Chihuahuan Raven Corvus cryptoleucus
12-Common Raven Corvus corax
2-Tufted Titmouse Parus bicolor atricristatus (Black-crested form)
2-Verdin Auriparus flaviceps
1-White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
6-Spotted Wren Campylorhynchus gularis
2-Cactus Wren Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus
1-Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus
10-Spot-breasted Wren Thryothorus maculipectus
1-Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii
4-House Wren Troglodytes aedon
1-Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Henicorhina leucophrys
2-Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
8-Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea
2-Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Polioptila melanura
12-Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
2-Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana
3-Brown-backed Solitaire Myadestes occidentalis
35-Clay-colored Robin Turdus grayi
9-Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
2-Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre
600-Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
4-Gray Silky-Flycatcher Ptilogonys cinereus
10-Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus
6-White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus
6-Solitary Vireo Vireo solitarius solitarius
1-Yellow-green Vireo Vireo flavoviridis
3-Rufous-browed Peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis
3-Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata
6-Nashville Warbler Vermivora ruficapilla
10-Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi
12-Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
16-Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens
4-Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
2-Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis
2-Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
1-Altamira Yellowthroat Geothlypis flavovelata
2-Hooded Yellowthroat Geothlypis nelsoni
1-Gray-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis poliocephala
35-Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla
25-Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus
6-Rufous-capped Warbler Basileuterus rufifrons
10-Blue-gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus
8-Yellow-winged Tanager Thraupis avvas
2-Scrub Euphonia Euphonia affinis
2-Yellow-throated Euphonia Euphonia hirundinacea
2-Blue-hooded Euphonia Euphonia elegantissima
1-Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
6-Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps
1-Crimson-collared Grosbeak Rhodothraupis celaeno
2-Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
5-Black-headed Grosbeak Pheucticus melanocephalus
6-Blue Bunting Cyanocompsa parellina
25-Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea
2-Rufous-capped Brush-Finch Atlapetes pileatus
6-Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus
1-Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
6-White-collared Seedeater Sporophila torqueola
2-Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivacea
6-Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina
1-Vesper Sparrow Pooecetes gramineus
10-Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus
40-Lark Bunting Calamospiza melanocorys (seen near Monterrey)
12-Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
12-Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii
1-Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
6-Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
2-Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta
150-Melodious Blackbird Dives dives
25-Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus
1000-Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
15-Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus
2-Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater
1-Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius
15-Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus
4-Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis
6-Audubon's Oriole Icterus graduacauda
5-Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula
10-Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria
50-House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Richard D. Palmer
Green Valley, AZ