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Birding Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo – 10,000 Birds

My spouse and I are, in a method, very uncommon People. Whereas our compatriots appear solely to need to go to Mexico’s touristy seaside cities, we might slightly go anyplace else on this nation. Certainly, though I simply celebrated 40 years of dwelling in Mexico, we’ve by no means been to Cabo San Lucas, and our solely expertise with Cancún was going although immigration in that metropolis’s airport.

However every week in the past, we drove downhill to the seaside metropolis of Ixtapa, 5 hours from Morelia, for a younger pal’s wedding ceremony. Its twin city of Zihuatanejo (see-wa-ta-NAE-hoe) was a sleepy fishing village till the Nineteen Seventies. (As such, it was immortalized within the closing scene of the film “The Shawshank Redemption“.) Then the Mexican authorities developed Ixtapa from the bottom up as a vacationer vacation spot, concurrently they developed Cancún. The marriage happened in what apparently was the primary lodge constructed within the new city.

If we have been extra enthusiastic beach-goers, I’d in all probability have many extra tropical birds on my life checklist by now. Because it was, I managed to squeeze about seven hours of birding out of our in any other case highly-social weekend. And even with solely seven complete hours, I managed to choose up 4 lifers.

I nonetheless can’t say that I’ve discovered Ixtapa’s greatest spot for shore- and marsh-loving birds. However I’m fairly positive that I made a sensible choice with my first inland web site: a “ciclovía” (paved bike path) on the west aspect of city. I’ll give attention to that web site on this publish, and transfer on to the extra coastal spots within the subsequent. The bike path (listed as Ruta de Bicicleta a Playa Linda on eBird’s hotspot map) begins by a really synthetic water-storage pond, besides, I managed to see a number of hoped-for species there. A single Ringed Kingfisher, which seems to be very very similar to the U.S.’s migratory Belted Kingfisher, however is about 40% bigger, missed the water. Strictly coastal White Ibises flew overhead. Yellow-billed Caciques have been nesting. And a pair of White-throated Magpie-Jays made a much-anticipated look.

A really early-morning picture of the Ringed Kingfisher

Three White Ibises

Nest constructing, for Yellow-winged Caciques, apparently includes a number of squawking.

I do know this Cacique was a male, as a result of it was carrying a male’s courtship show head feathers.

The Magpie-Jays have been severely backlit, however that did give the images a bit of additional drama.

The uphill journey up on the bike path was fairly nice till about 10 am, when the coastal area’s warmth kicked in. However it was nicely value it; I noticed three lifers there, birds that I didn’t even know to hope for, beforehand.

Two Olive Sparrows, endemic to Mexico’s coasts, foraged within the shady brush.

A very good variety of White-bellied Wrens sang from the bushes, and one lastly allowed me an honest view and {photograph}.

The Turquoise-crowned Hummingbirds have been a little bit of an armchair lifer for me. It was thought of a single species with the Broad-billed Hummingbirds that go to my backyard in Morelia each day. However now it’s thought of to be a separate species.

Though these three species have been my solely lifers for the day, I did see quite a few different thrilling birds. All in all, my journey up the ciclovía and again supplied 49 species in slightly below 4 hours. Listed here are a number of the higher species and images:

Tropical Kingbirds flutter as they trill. This one additionally gave me a uncommon view of its orange crown.

I solely lately noticed my first rich-brown feminine Blue Bunting, and it wasn’t till this outing that I obtained to see the electrical blue colours of the male. I had anticipated one thing extra like an Indigo Bunting, however the two birds actually don’t look alike in any respect.

Additional inland, the West Mexican Chachalaca is commonly heard, however not often seen.

Right here, nevertheless, you couldn’t miss them in case you tried. These turkey-sized birds have been everwhere!

My greatest and most quite a few sightings of the majestic Wooden Stork would come on the shore. However I began to see them in flight on the drive right down to the coast. A number of additionally flew over the bike path, as did a couple of surprising Magnificent Frigatebirds who had chosen to fly over land for a bit.

That’s a Stork on the left, and a Frigatebird on the best.

Cinnamon Hummingbirds have been fairly frequent, which was a uncommon deal with for me. Such good-looking hummers!

I’ll be again subsequent week with a number of the birds I noticed nearer the shoreline.

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