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A Bird In The Hand . . .

MEXICO | Tuesday, 3 August 2021 | Views [51]

John among the flora

John among the flora

WE HAD THE LUXURY OF BREAKFAST at the hotel today—we’re staying local and it doesn’t get light until after seven. After heaping plates of mango, papaya, banana, cantaloupe and pineapple—more fruit than I usually eat in a week—washed down with Don Gustavo’s special blend of El Gallo Coffee we were ready to rock and roll. 


            With A Little Help From Above?

This area of Mexico is the only place in the world to find the Spot-breasted Wren and   Sumichrast’s Wren. Both species skulk quietly in the understory, making them difficult to spot and harder to photograph, especially in the early morning gloom. Lucky for us, both respond to calls. Even better, Eric knows where in their dwindling territory to look. We could hear a Spot-breasted Wren in the distance and waited, camera and binoculars at the ready, as it moved nearer. Getting a photo was easier than I could have hoped—maybe our stop near the shrine helped. One down, two to go.


        Spot-breasted Wren

Sumichrast’s Wren could be called the Narcissus Wren. We hiked a quarter mile up a slippery overgrown trail and while we could get the wren to reply to Eric’s call it wouldn’t approach. It was time to use technology. Eric recorded the actual bird’s vocalization and played it back he came lickety-split. Vanity, thy name is Sumichrast’s Wren. The photos aren’t the best I’ve ever taken but there are only 33 posted on e-Bird, the most popular birding site, so I am satisfied. That’s two.


                        Sumichrast’s Wren

Rufous-breasted Spinetails aren’t endemic to the area—not even to Mexico—but that doesn’t make them easy to see. When it comes to skulking these guys are masters. But with Eric’s spotting skills we got a good look at one. With my new Sigma 150-600 lens and a lot of luck I managed to get a passable photo. Three up, three down.


                        Rufous-breasted Spinetail

With the serious business out of the way we were free to see what else was around. John even found time to pose among the greenery. After the Yellow-tailed Oriole and Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, we struck gold with a Golden-Fronted Woodpecker and Golden-crowned Warbler. 


    Yellow-tailed Oriole


                                           Ivory-billed Woodcreeper



   Golden-fronted Woodpecker


                                           Golden-crowned Warbler

Eric was using a pygmy owl call as an attractor—birds HATE pygmy owls and rally to mob them. When the REAL Ferruginous Pygmy Owl replied to the call, it was quite easy to get his mug shot.


                        Ferruginous Pygmy Owl

We spent the rest of the morning sweating in the hot sun, mostly photographing butterflies—mariposas, en español. Although I can identify only a handful I find butterflies beautifully mesmerizing. When it got too hot we retired for lunch in town and a well-deserved siesta until four.


          Splendid Blue Keeper                                                 Starry Cracker

        Many-banded Daggerwing                                        Unknown but Still Cute


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