21 March 2009

Another venture into Border Country…(Chiapas, Mexico): 13 March 2009

After a fairly fruitless session birding on the outskirts of a windy Union Juarez, where we picked up a couple of new wrens for the trip – Rufous-and-white, and Spot-breasted Wrens, in addition to getting some cracking views of a Blue-tailed Hummingbird – we continued our birding journey in Chiapas (incidentally Mexico must be one of the most diverse countries on Earth for wrens, holding over thirty species, including the biggest of them all, Giant).

We skirted the border northwards from Union Juarez, as we drove a further 200km or so northeast to the tiny town of Tziscao, (strangely passing two separate towns named New Mexico, and another place called Union Juarez en-route). Although we had moved considerable distance we were still perched on the edge of Mexico, glancing into Guatemala not too far off. However, the place was a world away from the (first) Union Juarez that we had stayed in the day before, as this place had undergone a depressing ‘face lift’, with almost no patches of cloud forest remaining, and with it our chances of catching up with the world’s most famous quetzal, the Resplendent Quetzal had seemingly vanished. This pristine quetzal was known from these parts as recently as two years previously, although our initial thoughts were that they must surely now have gone (?) This was in spite of the statements of the local park guard, (who must have been asleep when the chainsaws moved in), who continued to claim its continuing existence in the area. All we saw in a late afternoon stint of birding in a tiny remnant patch of poor cloud forest was a lone female Mountain Trogon. Just a few signs were evident of the magnificent cloudforest that must once have been here (see photos).

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