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A Report from

Yucatan, Mexico, 3rd - 9th January 2011,


I took a week trip to Mexico from the 3rd to 9th of January. It was not a dedicated birding trip so I only spent two days birding. However, it was still very productive with 134 species seen.

We booked with Thomas Cook and flew, direct, from Manchester. The flight was on-time with plenty of legroom. We heard that some flights from Gatwick went via Glasgow!!

We stayed, fully inclusive, at the Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda, near Puerto Carmen.  This is a very large complex and the guests mostly Americans. It could not be faulted and if you like beach holidays it is probably very nice. Not many birds at the resort. The food and service was very good. The weather was fine and sunny throughout.

For the first four days we went on the Legends of Yucatan tour. This was a very good tour of the major Mayan sites of Tulum, Coba, Uxmal and Chichen Itza. Well worth the money.

That left two days for birding. I had got in touch via the internet with Luis Ku Quiones. ( He runs his own company, and was recommended in another report. Luis is not cheap. He has a day rate of USD350 for up to 6 persons (I think). As I was on my own, I had to pay up!

Luis provided the transport, a new people carrier, with a driver. Distances are quite large in Mexico, so to reach the birding sites by first light (approx. 0630) meant a 0500 start. Birds disappear quite quickly after 1130 so I was back at the hotel by 1300.

O n the first trip we went to Muyil and the surrounding area. This is part of the Siaan Kaan Biosphere reserve and gave excellent birding. Total for the day was 85 species. Highlights: Grey necked wood rail, Black Catbird, Rose throated tanager, Grey headed dove, Olive throated parrot, Yucatan parrot, Yucatan jay, Ladder backed woodpecker, Canivets emerald, Wedge tailed sabre-wing, Bobolink, Yucatan flycatcher, Thicket Tinamou, Collared aracari and Mexican Ant-thrush.

On the second trip we went to Coba ruins and surrounding area and Laguna Lagarto. Total of 84 species for the day. Highlights: Smokey –brown woodpecker, Green jay, Violaceous trogon, Black-headed saltator, Yellow tailed oriole, Ferruginous pygmy owl, Masked tityra, White fronted Parrot, Turquoise browed motmot, 5 species of oriole, Painted bunting, Worm eating warbler, Black-headed trogon, Yellow winged Tanager and White bellied wren.

Luis’s birding skills are very good. He picked up birds very well and gave an instant identification. He is a pleasant, quiet man with reasonable English. I would use him again and can recommend him.

Hooded Oriole.jpg

Hooded Oriole

Keel billed Toucan.jpg

Keel billed Toucan

Swainsons Thrush.jpg

Swainsons Thrush

Violaceous Trogon.jpg

Violaceous Trogon

White bellied Emerald.jpg

White bellied Emerald

White fronted Parrot.jpg

White fronted Parrot

Yellow tailed Oriole.jpg

Yellow tailed Oriole

Yellow winged Tanager.jpg

Yellow winged Tanager

Yucatan Flycatcher.jpg

Yucatan Flycatcher

Yucatan Jay.jpg

Yucatan Jay


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