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A Report from birdtours.co.uk

Northern Mexico 2004,

Phil and Charlotte Benstead, Norfolk, UK

Introduction

We spent the period between 20th April and 7h May 2004 birding in Northern Mexico. We flew with Continental from London (via Houston, where we had to overnight on the way out) to Mazatlan. This is an unusual destination but necessary as we had to stay out of potential malarial areas for the duration of the trip. If your wife or partner is pregnant then this trip is tailor-made! We hired an expensive car through Alamo for the duration (>£700!). Driving is easy enough in Mexico although the mountainous stretches of the Durango Highway offers plenty of opportunity for mayhem and should be driven with extreme caution. As usual we got lost a lot in towns so take a compass. Check out Durango for the freakiest city highway system in the world. We stayed in cheap but comfortable hotels throughout. The Durango Highway used to enjoy the reputation of being one of the more hazardous places to go birding in the world but seems secure enough now - certainly there is a very noticeable armed police presence in the area and presumably the days of highway robbery are receding into history as a result.

Strategy and birds we missed

We attempted to see as many of northern Mexico's endemics as possible in the time available and spent a reasonable amount of time driving as a result. I suspect a visit earlier in the year would secure many of the species we managed to miss as well as a hatful of wintering visitors. Many of the species we missed (with the exception of Tamaulipas pygmy-owl) are present further south in the Sierras and will have to wait for another trip. The key species to see on this itinerary are the following regional endemics not found elsewhere: maroon-fronted parrot, red-crowned parrot, Tamaulipas pygmy-owl, tawny-collared nightjar, tufted jay, Altamira yellowthroat (though also in northern Veracruz), crimson-collared grosbeak and Worthen's sparrow. Ideally we would have had another three days for this trip and would have used the time to visit Copper Canyon near Chihuahua for eared quetzal and a few other species that are easier here than elsewhere. We had very little site information other than that contained in Steve Howell's excellent site guide - this was sufficient for our purposes and is still up-to-date for the sites we visited. Very few site details are included therefore in this gen (buy the book!) but where changes have occurred we highlight these in the site section below.

We missed the following birds:

Black-vented shearwater Possible off Mazatlan.
Least storm-petrel Possible off Mazatlan.
Singing quail Apparently easier at El Naranjo than elsewhere!
Thick-billed parrot Present in small numbers and highly nomadic in the Durango Highway area.
Lilac-crowned parrot A surprising dip for us - recorded at sites along the Durango Highway.
Lesser ground-cuckoo Heard but not seen along the Durango Highway and La Noria road - tough bird to see.
Owls We like owling and the fact that we could not get into the Highrise area due to high rainfall cost us a few species. At El Naranjo we did not even hear Tamaulipas pygmy owl.
Chestnut-collared swift Possible along Durango Highway.
White-naped swift Possible along Durango Highway.
Violet-crowned hummingbird Possible along Durango Highway.
Amethyst-throated hummingbird El Naranjo.
Sparkling-tailed woodstar Possible along Durango Highway.
Bumblebee hummingbird Possible along Durango Highway.
Eared quetzal Possible along Durango Highway at Barranca Rancho Liebre but rare.
Grey-crowned woodpecker Possible along Durango Highway.
White-throated flycatcher Possible along Durango Highway.
Clark's nutcracker Possible at El Potosi (isolated population) - we dipped!
Grey-breasted wood-wren El Naranjo - we could not find this species despite a reasonable amount of pro-active tape playback.
Black-capped gnatcatcher Durango Highway and La Noria road - we could not find this species despite a reasonable amount of pro-active tape playback.
Grey silky Another surprising dip of the trip.
Red-breasted chat Durango Highway and La Noria road - we could not find this species despite a reasonable amount of pro-active tape playback.
Hooded grosbeak Possible but elusive at El Naranjo and Durango Highway sites.

References

Take both North American and Mexican field guides, we used:

Sibley, D. A. The Sibley Guide to Birds. Knopf.
Howell, S. N. G. and Webb, S. A guide to the birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford.

We used the following excellent source of site information:

Howell, S. N. G. Where to watch birds in Mexico. Helm.

Sites visited

20-23/4 and 3-5/5††††††††††††† Durango Highway (various sites)

This large area is well covered in Howell's site guide and includes a number of discrete sites, most notably the Panuco road and Barranca Rancho Liebre. If you have the time a week can easily be spent here. In the lower reaches of the road a new toll highway has been constructed (but as yet remains unopened) and this has undoubtedly disturbed habitat at the Pantitlan road and Cerro el Elefante. Likewise the La Petaca road has recently been paved for the first three kilometres and this work has temporarily removed the banks of flowering shrubs attractive to hummingbirds (still worth birding it though). We stayed at the Hotel Villa Blanca in Capilla de Taxte, which is handy for birding the lower stretches and Panuco but stay at the small motel-style place in El Palmito when birding the Barranca Rancho Liebre. The birding here is superb and must be even better in the winter. Tufted jays are the one of the stars of the show here and not difficult to find - we even had them in the centre of El Palmito whilst having lunch! Ensure you have time to visit most of the sites mentioned in Howell as subtle changes of altitude, aspect and habitat produce different birds.

Highlights (ie birds not recorded elsewhere) at all the sites along the Durango Highway included: Cooper's hawk, common black-hawk, short-tailed hawk, orange-fronted parakeet, military macaw, Mexican parrotlet, Colima pygmy-owl, mottled owl, golden-crowned emerald, broad-billed hummingbird, beryline hummingbird, cinnamon hummingbird, plain-capped starthroat, citreoline trogon, russet-crowned motmot, golden-cheeked woodpecker, gila woodpecker, Arizona woodpecker, pale-billed woodpecker, white-striped woodcreeper, common tufted flycatcher, western pewee, bright-rumped attila, flammulated flycatcher, thick-billed kingbird, rose-throated becard, black-throated magpie-jay, tufted jay, Sinaloa crow, Mexican chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, brown creeper, spotted wren, canyon wren, happy wren, Sinaloa wren, blue-grey gnatcatcher, eastern bluebird, Townsend's solitaire, orange-billed nightingale-thrush, russet nightingale-thrush, rufous-backed thrush, Aztec thrush, Cassin's vireo, Hutton's vireo, golden vireo, orange-crowned warbler, hermit warbler, Grace's warbler, MacGillivray's warbler, red-faced warbler, red warbler, golden-browed warbler, yellow-breasted chat, olive warbler, scrub euphonia, western tanager, red-headed tanager, greyish saltator, yellow grosbeak, varied bunting, rufous-capped brush-finch, green-striped brush-finch, rusty-crowned ground-sparrow, striped sparrow, Lincoln's sparrow, streak-backed oriole, red crossbill and black-headed siskin.

24/4††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Tanque de Emergencia

Well-covered in Howell - although note that the dirt road is only signed from Route 54 if you are coming from the south. We found Worthen's sparrows at many locations along the road, as they were very vocal and conspicuous. This site seemed to be packed with wintering/migrating sparrows and bunting too and was great birding. Unfortunately the road between El Cercado and Hedionda Grande was being re-graded and we therefore had to re-trace our path back to the main road and then turned off again on the Hedionda Grande road and through eventually to Route 57. To accomplish this follow your nose and then turn left when you get back to a metalled road. Highlights here included: northern harrier, golden eagle, peregrine, burrowing owl, western scrub jay, American pipit, phainopepla, loggerhead shrike, black-throated sparrow, Worthen's sparrow, vesper sparrow, lark bunting, grasshopper sparrow, Baird's sparrow, song sparrow, McCown's longspur and western meadowlark.

24-26/4††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Cerro El Potosi

We liked the sound of this place and it was interesting (as well as the only place we could find pine flycatcher) but in hindsight it may have been better to have spent the time elsewhere. Although if we had successfully seen individuals of the isolated population of Clark's nutcracker things might have been different! Rain prevented easy access to the lower slopes detailed in Howell and we had to walk in instead. We stayed in the obvious (bright orange) hotel in the plaza of Galeana. The road up to the summit was possible in a 2WD, although we had to move a few rocks by hand on occasion. Highlights here included: ruddy duck, broad-tailed hummingbird, hairy woodpecker, pine flycatcher, brown-crested flycatcher (certainly under-recorded), pygmy nuthatch, rock wren, black-chinned sparrow and Baltimore oriole.

26/4††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† San Antonio de Alazanas

We visited this site briefly one afternoon in order to look for maroon-fronted parrot and hooded yellowthroat (which we failed to see at El Potosi due to rain making the road impassable). Although the rain continued we managed to get good flight views of the parrots and taped out a splendid male hooded yellowthroat. The site is well covered in Howell although we found the kilometre readings to be slightly out.

27/4††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Highrise

Rather than drive into Highrise at night in the appalling wet weather we were experiencing we elected to retreat to Saltillo and drive in during daylight. This proved to be a good idea as twice the monthly average of rain had fallen in just 24 hours! We got an impressively long way along the dirt road before a length of road works on a steep slope finally prevented us from going any further. We were sliding inexorably backwards even with the brakes on at one point! Eventually after re-decorating the car we admitted defeat and headed back to the main road missing out on some great birding no doubt. Highlights here included: Colima warbler, lazuli bunting and rufous-crowned sparrow.

27-29/4††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† La Pesca

We visited this site, which is dealt with admirably in Howell, in order to see yellow-headed parrot and tawny-collared nightjar - both of which were present in good numbers in the thorn-forest on the low hills just inland of the coastal plain. In addition to these two endemics the site greatly enhanced our trip list with a wealth of wetland species not seen elsewhere. This spot would be great place to spend April if you have the time, as the migration through here must be fantastic on occasion. Chiggers are bad here so get the old insect repellent on your socks and legs. Highlights here included: American white pelican, little blue heron, tricolored heron, reddish egret, yellow-crowned night-heron, roseate spoonbill, osprey, roadside hawk, northern bobwhite, black-bellied plover, American golden plover, Wilson's plover, piping plover, American oystercatcher, black-necked stilt, greater yellowlegs, willet, ruddy turnstone, red knot, semipalmated sandpiper, least sandpiper, pectoral sandpiper, stilt sandpiper, Franklin's gull, ring-billed gull, gull-billed tern, Caspian tern, Sandwich tern, Forster's tern, black skimmer, yellow-headed parrot, Chuck-will's-widow, tawny-collared nightjar, ruby-throated hummingbird, lineated woodpecker, eastern pewee, eastern kingbird, scissor-tailed flycatcher, brown jay, Tamaulipas crow, yellow warbler, northern cardinal, white-collared seedeater and eastern meadowlark.

29/4 - 2/5†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† El Naranjo

Climatically as you drive south to El Naranjo from La Pesca you cross an invisible boundary between North America and tropical Central America and likewise the avifauna changes too. The birding here is great and sadly we did not have enough time to do it credit. The site is much as described in Howell, although I fear that the marsh he details near the El Salto junction is much altered and not as good for birds these days. We birded the obvious sewage ditch between this junction and El Naranjo and picked up Altamira yellowthroat here instead. We stayed in the obvious hotel, just before the bridge at the end of town, which was OK (but do not eat here - we did and lost an afternoon in the field being sick!). The El Salto area was great for parrots and should not be ignored.

Highlights here included: thicket tinamou, muscovy duck, bat falcon, red-billed pigeon, green parakeet, red-crowned parrot, white-collared swift, wedge-tailed sabrewing, Canivet's emerald, buff-bellied hummingbird, azure-crowned hummingbird, blue-crowned motmot, bronze-winged woodpecker, olivaceous woodcreeper, spot-crowned woodcreeper, boat-billed flycatcher, sulphur-bellied flycatcher, spot-breasted wren, black-headed nightingale-thrush, yellow-green vireo, rufous-browed peppershrike, Altamira yellowthroat, grey-crowned yellowthroat, golden-crowned warbler, yellow-throated euphonia, yellow-winged tanager, black-headed saltator, crimson-collared grosbeak, blue bunting, blue-black grassquit, melodious blackbird and Audubon's oriole.

5/5 - 7/5††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Mazatlan

We took things very easy here and did the minimum of birding in the scrubby grassland and wetlands behind the coast road. We stayed in the Freeman Hotel in Old Mazatlan, which looks out over the seabird islands just offshore. These islands are best scoped from the road to the lighthouse and we had red-billed tropicbird from here. The highlight of our stay here was an 8 hour pelagic trip organised through Flota Bibi Fleet (gogetem[at]bibifleet.com and flotabibifleet[at]hotmail.com). This trip cost £150 and was an interesting exercise and produced some great views of black storm-petrel, red phalarope (some red!) and a few other species. Unfortunately the set of the waves made heading due west extremely uncomfortable so we did not get as far offshore as I had hoped. The boat was quite small and, in the moderate swell, viewing conditions were often extremely difficult. Worth doing though if you are in the neighbourhood and have a day to spare.

Highlights here included: least grebe, pink-footed shearwater, black storm-petrel, red-billed tropicbird, blue-footed booby, brown booby, magnificent frigatebird, northern jacana, red phalarope, Heerman's gull, Sabine's gull, common tern and cinnamon-rumped seedeater. The pelagic also produced good views of a large shark and a sunfish.

6/5††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† La Noria Road

This site is at low altitude and should be worked early in the morning. We hoped to catch up with lilac-crowned parrot here but failed despite searching hard. Howell covers this site well and we caught up with our other target species along the two tracks mentioned in the book at km 2.4/2.5. Highlights here included: elegant quail, white-fronted parrot and purplish-backed jay.

Birds recorded in Mexico between 20th April and 7th May 2004

Sites visited: Durango Highway (DH) including Panuco Road (PR) and Barranca Rancho Liebre (BRL) 20/4 to 23/4 and 3/5 to 5/5; Tanque de Emergencia (TE) 24/4; Cerro El Potosi (EP) 24/4 to 26/4; San Antonio de Alazanas (SAA) 26/4; Highrise (H) 27/4; La Pesca (LP) 27/4 to 29/4; El Naranjo (EN) 29/4 to 2/5; Mazatlan (MZ) 5/5 to 7/5; and the La Noria road (LN) 6/5.

Thicket tinamou Crypturellus cinnamomeus [LP], EN
Least grebe Tachybaptus dominicus MZ
Pied-billed grebe Podilymbus podiceps EP, en route to Durango (2/5)
Pink-footed shearwater Puffinus creatopus Single off MZ on pelagic trip
Black storm-petrel Oceanodroma melania 35+ off MZ on pelagic trip
Red-billed tropicbird Phaeton aethereus Single coming into seabird islands off MZ, three birds on pelagic trip
Blue-footed booby Sula nebouxii MZ
Brown booby S. leucogaster MZ
American white pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos LP
Brown pelican Pelecanus occidentalis LP, MZ
Double-crested cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus LP, MZ
Neotropic cormorant P. brasilianus EP (under-recorded)
Magnificient frigatebird Fregata magnificens MZ
Great blue heron Ardea herodias LP, EN, MZ
Great egret Egretta alba Widespread in lowlands and plateau wetlands
Snowy egret E. thula LP (under-recorded)
Little blue heron E. caerulea LP
Tricolored heron E. tricolor LP
Reddish egret E. rufescens LP
Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis EP, LP, EN, MZ
Green heron Butorides virescens LP, EN
Yellow-crowned night-heron Nycticorax violaceus LP
White ibis Eudocnimus albus LP, MZ
Roseate spoonbill Platalea ajaja LP
Black-bellied whistling-duck Dendrocygna autumnalis LP, EN
Muscovy duck Cairina moschata EN
Mexican duck Anas diazi DH, en route to Durango (2/5)
Blue-winged teal A. discors EP, LP, en route to Durango (2/5)
Northern shoveler A. clypeata EP, LP
Ruddy duck Oxyura jamaicensis 10+ at Laguna de Labradores (EP)
Black vulture Coragyps atratus Widespread in lowlands
Turkey vulture Cathartes aura Widespread
Osprey Pandion haliaetus LP
Northern harrier Circus cyaneus TE
Sharp-shinned hawk Accipiter striatus BRL, EP, DH
Cooper's hawk A. cooperi Pair at La Petaca road (DH)
Common black-hawk Buteogallus anthracinus Single over DH on 21/4
Grey hawk Buteo nitidus En route to EN, EN, PR
Roadside hawk B. magnirostris LP
Short-tailed hawk B. brachyurus Single at La Petaca road (DH)
Swainson's hawk B. swainsoni Single en route to Galeana
White-tailed hawk B. albicaudatus Singles near main highway en route to Galeana and en route to EN
Zone-tailed hawk B. albonotatus Pair displaying at summit of Cerro El Potosi (EP) at 3,750 m. An immature bird along the La Petaca road (DH).
Red-tailed hawk B. jamaicensis DH, TE, EP
Golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos TE
Crested caracara Caracara plancus Low down on DH, TE, LP
[Collared forest-falcon] Micrastur semitorquatus [PR]
American kestrel Falco sparverius TE, EP, H, LP, DH
Bat falcon F. rufigularis EN
Peregrine F. peregrinus TE
Plain chachalaca Ortalis vetula LP, EN
Rufous-bellied chachalaca O. wagleri PR, LN
[Crested guan] Penelope purpurascens [BRL]
Northern bobwhite Colinus virginianus LP
Scaled quail Callipepla squamata TE, EP
Elegant quail C. douglasii LN
[Common pheasant] Phasianus colchisus [H]
Common moorhen Gallinula chloropus MZ
American coot Fulica americana DH, EP, en route to Durango (2/5), MZ
Black-bellied plover Pluvialis squatarola LP
American golden plover P. dominica LP
Wilson's plover Charadrius wilsonia LP
Piping plover C. melodus Single male on the beach at La Pesca.
Killdeer C. vociferus TE, en route to Durango (2/5)
American oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus LP
Black-necked stilt Himantopus mexicanus LP
American avocet Recurvirostra americana 6+ between Torreon and Saltillo, LP
Northern jacana Jacana spinosa MZ (single)
Greater yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca LP
Lesser yellowlegs Tringa flavipes TE, LP
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus LP
Spotted sandpiper Actitis macularia TE, EP, LP
Long-billed curlew Numenius americanus 4 between Torreon and Saltillo, 150+ TE, small numbers at LP
Ruddy turnstone Arenaria interpres LP
Red knot Calidris canutus LP
Sanderling C. alba LP, MZ
Semipalmated sandpiper C. pusilla LP
Least sandpiper C. minutilla LP
Baird's sandpiper C. bairdii TE, EP, LP
Pectoral sandpiper C. melanotus LP
Stilt sandpiper C. himantopus LP
Long-billed dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus en route to Durango (2/5)
Wilson's phalarope Steganopus tricolor LP, en route to Durango (2/5)
Red phalarope P. fulicaria 9+ off MZ
Laughing gull Larus atricilla LP, MZ
Franklin's gull L. pipixican LP
Heerman's gull L. heermanni MZ
Ring-billed gull L. delawarensis LP
Herring gull L. argentatus LP, MZ
Sabine's gull L. sabini 10+ on pelagic trip out of MZ
Gull-billed tern Sterna nilotica LP
Caspian tern S. caspia LP
Royal tern S. maxima LP, MZ
Sandwich tern S. sandvicensis LP
Common tern S. hirundo MZ
Forster's tern S. forsteri LP
Least tern S. antillarum LP, MZ
Black tern Chlidonias niger LP, off MZ
Black skimmer Rhynchops niger LP
Red-billed pigeon Columba flavirostris EN
Band-tailed pigeon C. fasciata BRL, [EP]
Feral dove C. livia Common in urban areas
White-winged dove Zenaida asiatica Widespread
Mourning dove Z. macroura Widespread
Inca dove Columbina inca Widespread
Common ground-dove C. passerina Widespread in lowlands
White-tipped dove Leptotila verreauxi Widespread
Green parakeet Aratinga holochlora EN (El Salto)
Orange-fronted parakeet A. canicularis PR
Military macaw Ara militaris 13+ at PR on 21/4, 4 at La Petaca road (DH), 20+ at close range at PR on 5/5 and 4 flying along highway between PR and Concordia on same day
Maroon-fronted parrot Rhynchopsitta terrisi 15+ at SAA
Mexican parrotlet Forpus cyanopygius PR
White-fronted parrot Amazona albifrons LN
Red-crowned parrot A. viridigenalis EN (El Salto)
Yellow-headed parrot A. oratrix LP (small numbers in hilly thorn forest just inland)
Squirrel cuckoo Piaya cayana PR, EN
[Lesser ground-cuckoo] Morococcyx erythropygus [PR]
Greater roadrunner Geococcyx californianus TE, EP, LP
Groove-billed ani Crotophaga sulcirostris LP, EN, MZ
[Whiskered screech-owl] Otus trichopsis [BRL]
Colima pygmy-owl Glaucidium palmarum PR
Ferruginous pygmy-owl G. brasilianum Frequently heard in lowlands, seen low dwn on DH, LP, and EN
Burrowing owl Athene cunicularia TE
Mottled owl Strix virgata PR
Lesser nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis EP, PL
[Common nighthawk] C. minor [DH]
[Pauraque} Nyctidromus albicollis [LP]
Chuck-will's-widow Caprimulgus carolinensis LP
Tawny-collared nightjar C. salvini LP
Buff-collared nightjar C. ridgwayi [PR]
White-collared swift Streptoprocne zonaris EN
Chimney swift Chaetura pelagica Large flock north en route to EN
White-throated swift Aeronautes saxatilis H, DH, BRL
Wedge-tailed sabrewing Campylopterus curvipennis EN
Canivet's emerald Chlorostilbon canivetii EN (single)
Golden-crowned emerald C. auriceps PR
Broad-billed hummingbird C. latirostris PR
White-eared hummingbird Basilinna leucotis BRL, DH
Berylline hummingbird Amazilia beryllina La Petaca road (DH)
Buff-bellied hummingbird A. yucatanensis EN
Cinnamon hummingbird A. rutila PR, DH
Azure-crowned hummingbird A. cyanocephala EN (single)
Blue-throated hummingbird Lampornis clemenciae BRL, Chevaria road (DH), La Petaca road (DH)
Magnificent hummingbird Eugenes fulgens DH, Chevaria road (DH), EP
Plain-capped starthroat Heliomaster constantii PR
Ruby-throated hummingbird Archilochus colubris LP
Broad-tailed hummingbird Selasphorus platycercus EP
Citreoline trogon Trogon citreolus PR - single on 21/4 only
Mountain trogon T. mexicanus BRL, EN, DH
Elegant trogon T. elegans PR, EP, H, [LP], [EN]
Blue-crowned motmot Momotus momota EN
Russet-crowned motmot M. mexicanus PR
Ringed kingfisher Ceryle torquata LP, EN
Acorn woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus H, EN, DH
Golden-cheeked woodpecker Centurus chrysogenys DH
Golden-fronted woodpecker C. aurifrons Widespread
Gila woodpecker C. uropygialis Low down on DH
Hairy woodpecker Picoides villosus EP
Arizona woodpecker P. arizonae BRL
Bronze-winged woodpecker Piculus aeruginosus EN - treated as race of Golden-olive woodpecker by Clements.
Northern flicker Colaptes auratus TE, EP, LP, en route to Durango (2/5), DH
Lineated woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus LP
Pale-billed woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis PR
Olivaceous woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus EN
Ivory-billed woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus flavigaster PR, EN
White-striped woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes leucogaster BRL
Spot-crowned woodcreeper L. affinis EN
Common tufted flycatcher Mitrephanes phaocercus BRL
Greater pewee Contopus pertinax BRL, PR, EP
Western pewee C. sordidulus Chevaria road (DH)
Eastern pewee C. virens LP
Pine flycatcher Empidonax affinis EP
Western flycatcher E. difficilis BRL, H
Buff-breasted flycatcher E. fulvifrons BRL, H
Black phoebe Sayornis nigricans DH, H, EN
Say's phoebe S. saya DH, TE, EP, H
Vermilion flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus EN
Bright-rumped attila Attila spadiceus La Petaca road (DH), PR
Dusky-capped flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer DH, H
Nutting's flycatcher M. nuttingi PR, low down on DH
Brown-crested flycatcher M. tyrannulus EP
Flammulated flycatcher Deltarhynchus flammulatus Low down on DH - single on 5/5. Others heard
Great kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus LP, EN
Boat-billed flycatcher Megarhynchus pitangua EN
Social flycatcher Myiozetetes similis LP, EN
Sulphur-bellied flycatcher Myiodynastes luteiventris EN
Tropical kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus LP, PR
Cassin's kingbird T. vociferans DH, TE
Thick-billed kingbird T. crassirostris La Petaca road (DH), PR
Eastern kingbird T. tyrannus LP
Scissor-tailed flycatcher T. forficatus LP
Rose-throated becard Pachyramphus aglaiae PR
Masked tityra Tityra semifasciata PR, EN
Horned lark Eremophila alpestris TE, EP, LP
Tree swallow Tachycineta bicolour TE
Mangrove swallow T. albilinea MZ
Violet-green swallow T. thalassina BRL, TE, H
Northern rough-winged swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennnis Widespread
Cliff swallow Hirundo pyrrhonota PR
Cave swallow H. fulva DH
Barn swallow H. rustica Widespread
Steller's jay Cyanocitta stelleri BRL, DH, EP
Black-throated magpie-jay Calocitta colliei DH
Tufted jay Cyanocorax dickeyi DH, BRL
Green jay C. yncas LP, EN
Brown jay C. morio LP
Purplish-backed jay C. beecheii LN
Western scrub jay Aphelocoma californica TE
Grey-breasted jay A. ultramarina EP, H, DH
Tamaulipas crow Corvus imparatus LP
Sinaloa crow C. sinaloae DH
Chihuahuan raven C cryptoleucus TE, EP
Northern raven C. corax Widespread
Mexican chickadee Parus sclateri BRL, Chevaria road (DH)
[Bridled titmouse] P. wolllweberi [BRL]
Black-crested titmouse P. atricristatus EP, EN
Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus EP, H
White-breasted nuthatch Sitta carolinensis Chevaria road (DH)
Pygmy nuthatch S. pygmaea EP
Brown creeper Certhia americana BRL, Chevaria road (DH)
Spotted wren Campylorhynchus gularis La Petaca road (DH)
Cactus wren C. brunneicapillus TE, en route to Durango (2/5)
Rock wren Salpinctes obsoletus EP
Canyon wren Catherpes mexicanus La Petaca road (DH), DH
Spot-breasted wren Thryothorus maculipectus EN
Happy wren T. felix PR
Sinaloa wren T. sinaloa PR, La Petaca road (DH)
Bewick's wren Thyromanes bewickii TE, EP, H
House wren Troglodytes aedon BRL, EP
Ruby-crowned kinglet Regulus calendula Chevaria road (DH), EP
Blue-grey gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea DH
Eastern bluebird Sialia sialis La Petaca road (DH)
Western bluebird S. mexicana DH, TE, EP, H
Townsend' solitaire Myadestes townsendi 2 at Chevaria road (DH)
Brown-backed solitaire M. occidentalis BRL, EP, H, EN
Orange-billed nightingale-thrush Catharus aurantirostris La Petaca road (DH)
Russet nightingale-thrush C. occidentalis BRL
Black-headed nightingale-thrush C. mexicanus Single at EN
Swainson's thrush C. ustulatus Single at BRL on 22/4
Hermit thrush C. guttatus BRL, EN
Clay-coloured thrush Turdus grayi EP, LP, H, EN
White-throated thrush T. assimilis BRL, EN
Rufous-backed thrush T. rufopalliatus PR
American robin T. migratorius DH, EP, H
Aztec thrush Zoothera pinicola 12+ at BRL along rim of Barranca
Blue mockingbird Melanotis caerulescens PR, BRL, EN
Northern mockingbird Mimus polyglottos EP, LP, EN
Curve-billed thrasher Toxostoma curvirostre TE, EP, LP
Crissal thrasher T. crissale TE, EP
American pipit Anthus rubescens TE
Phainopepla Phainopepla nitens TE
Loggerhead shrike Lanius ludovicianus TE
Cassin's vireo Vireo cassini Single at BRL
Hutton's vireo V. huttoni Single at BRL
Golden vireo V. hypochryseus PR
Warbling vireo V. gilvus PR, EP, BRL
Yellow-green vireo V. flavoviridis EN
Rufous-browed peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis EN
Orange-crowned warbler Vermivora celata DH
Colima warbler V. crissalis 2 at H
Nashville warbler V. ruficapilla H, EN
Crescent-chested warbler V. superciliosa BRL, EP, EN
Yellow warbler Dendroica petechia LP - single migrant race on beach plus "Mangrove warbler" common in mangroves
Yellow-rumped warbler D. coronata DH, TE, EP, H
Townsend's warbler D. townsendi BRL, EP, H, EN
Hermit warbler D. occidentalis BRL
Grace's warbler D. graciae BRL
Black-and-white warbler Miniotilta varia EP, EN
MacGillivray's warbler Opornis tolmiei La Petaca road (DH)
Common yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas LP, EN
Altamira yellowthroat G. flavovelata EN - single male in sewage ditch between El Salto junction and town
Hooded yellowthroat G. speciosa Single male at SAA near "Fin de Camino"
Grey-crowned yellowthroat Chaemaethlypis poliocephala EN - in fields around wetland at El Salto junction
Wilson's warbler Wilsonia pusilla BRL, EP
Red-faced warbler Cardellina rubrifrons BRL
Red warbler Ergaticus ruber BRL, Chevaria road (DH)
Painted whitestart Myioborus pictus Chevaria road (DH), EP, H
Slate-throated whitestart M. miniatus BRL, DH, EP
Fan-tailed warbler Basileuterus lachrymose EN, La Petaca road (DH)
Golden-crowned warbler B. culicivorus EN
Rufous-capped warbler B. rufifrons La Petaca road (DH), EN
Golden-browed warbler B. belli BRL
Yellow-breasted chat Icteria virens DH - single on 21/4
Olive warbler Peucedramus taeniatus DH, BRL
Scrub euphonia Euphonia affinis PR - potential split as Godmann's euphonia.
Yellow-throated euphonia E. hirundinacea EN
Blue-hooded euphonia E. elegantissima BRL, EP, EN
Yellow-winged tanager Thraupis abbas EN
Hepatic tanager Piranga flava BRL, EP, DH
Western tanager P. ludoviciana DH - small numbers in April
Flame-coloured tanager P. bidentata BRL, EN
Red-headed tanager Spermagra erythrocephala BRL
Greyish saltator Saltator coerulescens PR, La Petaca road (DH)
Black-headed saltator S. atriceps EN
Crimson-collared grosbeak Rhodothraupis calaeno EN - single male
Northern cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis LP
Yellow grosbeak Pheucticus chysopeplus PR
Black-headed grosbeak P. melanocephalus BRL, EP, H
Blue bunting Cyanocompsa parellina EN
Blue grosbeak Passerina caerulea PR, EP, H, LP
Lazuli bunting P. amoena H - single male
Indigo bunting P. cyanea EP, H, LP
Varied bunting P. versicolor PR, DH
Painted bunting P. ciris PR, H
Rufous-capped brushfinch Atlapetes pileatus BRL, DH
Green-striped brushfinch A. virenticeps BRL
Olive sparrow Arremenops rufivirgatus [LP], EN
Rusty-crowned ground-sparrow Melozone kieneri PR, La Petaca road (DH)
Spotted towhee Pipilio maculatus Chevaria road (DH), EP, H
Canyon towhee P. fuscus EP, H, DH
Blue-black grassquit Volatina jacarina EN
White-collared seedeater Sporophila morelleti LP
Cinnamon-rumped seedeater S. torqueola MZ
Rufous-crowned sparrow A. ruficeps H
Rusty sparrow A. rufescens La Petaca road (DH), EN
Striped sparrow Oriturus superciliosus DH - especially between Llanos Grandes and Las Cumbre.
Black-throated sparrow Amphispiza bilineata TE
Chipping sparrow Spizella passerina DH, TE, EP, H
Clay-coloured sparrow S. pallida TE, EP, H
Worthen's sparrow S. wortheni TE
Black-chinned sparrow S. atrogularis EP
Vesper sparrow Pooocetes gramineus TE
Lark sparrow Chondestes grammacus TE, H
Lark bunting Calamospiza melanochorys TE
Baird's sparrow Ammodramus bairdii TE
Grasshopper sparrow A. savannarum TE
Savannah sparrow A. sandwichensis LP
Song sparrow Melospiza melodia TE
Lincoln's sparrow M. lincolnii DH
Yellow-eyed junco Junco phaeonotus BRL, EP, H, DH
McCown's longspur Calcarius mccownii TE
Red-winged blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus LP, EN, MZ
Eastern meadowlark Sturnella magna LP
Western meadowlark S. neglecta TE
Melodious blackbird Dives dives EN
Brewer's blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus TE, EP
Great-tailed grackle Quiscalus mexicanus Ubiquitous
Bronzed cowbird Molothrus aeneus EN
Brown-headed cowbird M. ater TE, EP
Hooded oriole Icterus cucullatus LP, EN
Black-vented oriole I. wagleri TE, EP
Audubon's oriole I. graduacauda EN
Streak-backed oriole I. pustulatus PR
Altamira oriole I. gularis LP, EN
Baltimore oriole I. bullockii EP
Yellow-winged cacique Cacicus melanicterus PR, DH
House finch Carpodacus mexicanus TE, H, MZ
Red crossbill Loxia curvirostra DH
Pine siskin Carduelis pinus EP, DH
Black-headed siskin C. notata La Petaca road (DH)
Lesser goldfinch C. psaltria PR, LP, EN
House sparrow Passer domesticus Common in urban areas and around habitation

Phil Benstead is a freelance birder based in the UK and is available to lead tours to Northern Mexico and the Yucatan.

 

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