As I discussed final week, the world appears to have turned the wrong way up recently, a minimum of right here in central Mexico. After a devastatingly dry summer season (our wet season), now we’re having a surprisingly moist winter (our dry season). On Tuesday my closest birding buddies, and, of late, my common companions, needed to go right down to Paso Ancho. This city is a thousand meters (three thousand toes) decrease than Morelia, and in our state’s Tierra Caliente/Scorching Nation. It’s also within the rain shadow between the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Transvolcanic Vary. That signifies that it will get a lot much less of our summer season rains, and is normally bone dry through the winter.
And but, through the days main as much as our outing, the web climate web page stored predicting a chance of rain for that day. Then, the day earlier than, they moved to a 50% chance for every hour till the late afternoon. This didn’t appear to be an issue to me, as a result of a little bit of rain actually appears to convey out the birds in such a dry habitat.
But it surely wasn’t a little bit of rain. As an alternative, this semidesert acquired a gradual drizzle, with moments of actual rain, from effectively earlier than our early-morning arrival till simply earlier than our mid-afternoon departure. My final photographs, in actual fact, seem to have been taken via a dense fog, as a result of my lens had fogged up, though the impact was solely beauty, and reversed with a while within the solar two days later.
Considered one of my companions stated that in his area of Mexico, such a rain is known as a “mojapendejos” rain. Pendejo is a moderately impolite phrase for somebody who’s both of low character, or not very sensible; and the verb mojar means to make one thing moist. And certainly, it did rain simply sufficient to maintain us constantly moist, however we have been too pendejo to hunt shelter. So true, so true.
In our protection, toughing it out allowed the 4 of us to see 83 species in at some point, a really respectable whole for Paso Ancho. And the drizzly situations made a few of these birds extra reluctant to fly away which, mixed with the low mild, actually made their colours pop. Listed below are a couple of of the ensuing photographs. I’ll make clear that that very same low mild required an additional quantity of enhancing right here at residence (up the sunshine ranges, drastically improve distinction, and sharpen the pictures as a lot as doable). Additionally, you’ll be able to truly see proof of the rain in most of these pictures, in addition to a lot of twigs, for the reason that birds principally most popular to remain below cowl. Having stated that, I hope you get pleasure from these:
The Crimson-breasted Chat is one in all Paso Ancho’s flagship species, and I’m so glad to now know the place to reliably discover it.
It was a thrill to see this male Painted Bunting so up shut. My solely remorse is that it by no means turned sideways, to indicate the opposite 5 of its seven colours, as indicated in its Spanish-language title “Sietecolores“.
We had the same expertise with this male Assorted Bunting.
The Orange-breasted Bunting, one other Paso Ancho flagship species, did let me down a bit, as solely this feminine allowed me some satisfactory photographs.
I obtained luckier once more with this male Elegant Euphonia.
It was an unusually good day for Plain-capped Starthroats, usually being harassed by a lot smaller Lucifer Hummingbirds. The Plain-capped Starthroat is the biggest hummingbird in our area, with a invoice as much as half so long as its physique.
Hummingbirds are usually not the one birds occupied with Paso Ancho’s considerable Fouqueria blooms, as demonstrated by this feminine Hooded Oriole.
However I used to be extra excited to see Barkeria unifloras blooming in all places we went. It all the time appears odd to see orchids blooming in a semidesert habitat. However I’m not complaining.