10 March 2009

Brows of Gold on the Pacific Slope…(Oaxaca, Mexico): 7 March 2009

A very quiet morning for birds, in the highlands of the Pacific Slope in southern Oaxaca. What we’d hoped for and what we got was very different, as winter birding in Oaxaca proved a tough cookie to crack. We picked up some new birds though with a male Gray-collared Becard, a number of striking Golden-browed Warblers (see photo), a lone Russet Nightingale-thrush, a male Mountain Trogon, Black-headed Siskin, White-throated Thrush, and a ‘bloodied’ Red-faced Warbler near El Porvenir, (on highway 175 heading south from San Jose del Pacifico). We also picked up a key hummer in the area, with a Blue-capped Hummingbird or two alongside the highway, a restricted range species only found in Oaxaca. We finally started getting some other hummers in addition to White-eared Hummingbirds today (that was all we had seen until then), with a few Blue-throated Hummingbirds, a bird that I had seen in the desert canyons of Arizona last year, and a Berryline Hummingbird (a vagrant to the US, which I had frustratingly missed in Ramsey Canyon, Arizona, last year).

A quick stop off near La Soledad was predictably quiet at midday, although we managed to squeeze an endemic out of it, Golden Vireo, in addition to Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, a couple of Wagler’s (Emerald) Toucanets, a few further Blue-capped Hummingbirds, Tufted Flycatcher, and a pair of Greenish Elaenias. We then continued on down to the coast, to the tiny coastal town of Puerto Angel (perched right on the edge of the Pacific), passing over a multitude of ‘topes’ or speed bumps along the way. There is no chance of speeding in this state, as there are literally thousands of well-concealed humps to keep you from getting a good speed going, and can also do some damage to your car along the way!

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