16 March 2009

The Dead Sea…(Oaxaca, Mexico): 8 March 2009

We spent the early morning and late afternoon in the coastal thorn forest, just outside Puerto Angel. In the middle of the day we went on a pelagic experience looking for seabirds out in the Pacific. Unfortunately, this experience was far from what we had planned as glassy waters offshore and dead calm seas brought us little reward for a pelagic trip armed with a bottle of cod liver oil. A few ‘wedgies’ (Wedge-tailed Shearwaters), around five Galapagos (Audubon’s) Shearwaters, and two or three Red-billed Tropicbirds by the offshore stack were almost all of what was seen in five frustrating hours at sea. Perhaps the best site though was seeing a Brown Booby perched on a surfaced turtle, only to be dislodged when its ‘island in the pacific’ submerged suddenly!

Thankfully, though the land-based birding was better. A productive hour in the thorn ‘scrub’, pre-pelagic disaster came up trumps when Nick pulled a Red-breasted Chat out of the bag, the undoubted showstopper of the day. Other highlights included a pair of West Mexican Chachalacas, Orange-fronted Parakeets, Nutting’s Flycatchers, White-lored Gnatcatchers, Altamira and Streak-backed Orioles, and a bold Russet-crowned Motmot on the roadside in Playa Zipolite.

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