Final week, David Tomlinson wrote in regards to the pleasure of that first birding outing for the yr, when each hen is new once more. One all the time needs to see as many species as attainable in a single day, whether or not on an ocean island with few species, or in Suffolk, England. It was on this latter area that he experiences seeing 60 species on his first outing of this yr.
However what number of species can one see over just a few hours within the highlands of central Mexico? It gained’t shock you that our totals are increased. Again when birding was nonetheless a solitary exercise for me, my information present that my first outings yielded 75-85 species. These days, I’m a bit extra skilled now, and nearly all the time accompanied by a number of biologist associates. Which results in totals at or simply above 100 species.
A 7-hour outing final yr, alongside the shores of Lake Cuitzeo, gave my one biologist companion and I precisely 100 hen species. This yr, nonetheless, Lake Cuitzeo is only a dry lakebed, not enticing in any respect for many birds. So three biologist companions and I headed to the realm across the city of Las Mesas, with its reservoir surrounded by thorn forest, adopted by pine/oak forest with meadows, and at last, mature pine forest. It was a wise alternative, leading to a one-day complete of 104 species for the 4 of us.
In fact, for even the largest listers amongst us, it’s not simply the variety of species, but additionally their magnificence and character. Amongst our highlights have been 5 doves species, a full 9 hummingbirds, 6 herons/egrets, 3 hawks and a pair of falcons, 4 woodpeckers, all of 12 Tyrant Flycatchers, 3 vireos, 6 New World Sparrows, 4 New World Orioles in several shades of orange, 16 New World Warblers, 2 tanagers, and 6 grosbeaks and buntings. A Belted Kingfisher placed on a present by the reservoir, as did the Frequent Ravens flying overhead. Blue Mockingbirds, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrushes, and Brown-backed Solitaires serenedad us with their persistent songs. You may spherical out the listing with 1 duck, 2 grebes, American Coot, Killdeer and Noticed Sandpiper, 2 vultures, 2 swallows, Bushtits, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, 2 wrens, 1 thrasher, Grey Silky-Flycatchers, Olive Warblers (which aren’t actually warblers), 2 finches, and Brown-headed Cowbirds. And I hope I didn’t go away anybody out. Birds being simply offended, and all that.
I ought to point out, in passing, that this variety of species could be significantly bigger in Mexico’s tropics. It could even be a lot bigger if one did a real dawn-to-dusk (and a bit extra on every finish) Massive Day.
As for the day we had, it was not a banner day for photographs, for me. That’s as a result of I managed to knock my ISO (lighting) marker from Automated to 100 ISO, and for some purpose didn’t try any photographs as I took them. So I made an exquisite assortment of completely black photographs in the course of the center a part of the day. However the birds did their half; this was all on me. Listed here are just a few good photographs of these early — and late — birds:
Each time I’m going to the Las Mesas reservoir, I hope for and anticipate some good photographs of the attractive Black-chinned Sparrow.
Male Indigo Buntings look reasonably blotchy within the winter. However nonetheless stunning.
For some purpose, I’m much more keen on the Lazuli Bunting.
We additionally noticed a male Painted Bunting, however didn’t handle photographs.
New World Tanagers haven’t any downside competing with our Buntings.
Too many branches, however hey, it’s a Pink-faced Warbler!
We spent loads of time with this feminine Furry Woodpecker, a lifer for one in every of my associates.
Then we observed a male Furry Woodpecker close by.
Our greatest hummingbird for the day was a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird, as males not often winter within the highlands, and the females of that migratory species are basically equivalent to these of their closest relative, which additionally winters right here. However this resident Broad-tailed Hummingbird was the one which gave me good photographs.
There have been a number of Hammond’s Flycatchers round… together with 11 different members of the Tyrant Flycatcher household.
In fact, you go birding, and also you see different stunning issues. Imagine it or not, these two butterflies are from the identical species.