When you could have birded a single space as a lot and for so long as I’ve birded Michoacán, it turns into progressively tougher to search out first-time species (“lifers”) there. I achieved 5 lifers in Michoacán in 2019, 4 in 2020, three in 2021, and solely two in 2022. As you’ll be able to see, this isn’t a promising pattern.
And certainly, my first six months of the present yr had yielded precisely zero lifers for me in Michoacán. I had seen a number of species flip up in new and surprising locations there, however none of them have been birds that I had by no means seen earlier than. Thankfully, this case has now modified.
In my final submit, I discussed having gone downhill (1,000 meters, or 3,300 toes) twice lately to the little “Sizzling Nation” city of Paso Ancho. I did this to accomodate visiting People who had requested to go birding with me. Because it occurred, my two most fixed Mexican birding buddies have been additionally ready for the chance to go there (blame it on the very particular Sinaloa Martin, which is barely current there in mid-summer). However that they had been unable to accompany us on these first two journeys. And so, solely every week after go to #2, I made the one-hour drive downhill for but a 3rd time.
I can’t say I used to be all that enthusiastic about making this third journey. It’s an extended, twisty drive. And the city’s dry tropical warmth implies that it’s good to arrive early, which, together with Mexico eliminating Daylight Financial savings Time this yr, means it’s essential to stumble off the bed at 5 am, and be on the highway by 6. (An hour earlier can be even higher, however I’ve my limits.) Plus, dry tropical warmth.
Nonetheless, I like to fowl with Nacho and Jorge, so off we went. It did certainly change into an excellent outing. At one level it appeared no Martins can be seen, however they ultimately turned up. Many of the web site’s most charismatic species, such because the Orange-breasted Bunting and Crimson-breasted Chat, made their look. The Golden-crowned Emerald and Plain-capped Starthroat, hummingbirds we had didn’t see on the primary two visits, made temporary appearances.
As soon as once more, the Crimson-breasted Chat.
The realm’s endemic Banded Quails allowed us to see them for just a few seconds. I had solely heard these birds every week earlier. A Mangrove Cuckoo gave us unexpectedly respectable views, with the added perk that Paso Ancho is much inland from the place this lovely fowl can supposedly be seen.
This photograph is Nacho’s. Alas, mine have been sub-standard.
A gaggle of 5 spectacular White-throated Magpie-Jays made a raucous look. I didn’t handle any images this time, so I’ll present one from an earlier encounter in Acapulco. (You’ll have seen this species on an episode of “The Huge-Bang Principle”, during which it’s incorrectly recognized as a “Blue Jay”. It’s, nonetheless, a jay that’s largely blue.)
However each outing has its excessive level. And this one’s was positively when a fowl briefly took wing simply to the left of our path, solely to settle proper again all the way down to the bottom. We jostled round, desperately looking for a good photographic angle, impeded by barbed wire fencing. Finally, we settled for taking slightly-acceptable images by the dense brush. And all of the whereas, the fowl simply sat there. Clearly, this was a fowl whose survival mode is “don’t take a look at me, I’m probably not right here”.
It was additionally a type of birds which distinguishes itself by not distinguishing itself, with a combination of various hard-to-define brown tones. Nonetheless, we ultimately decided that it was a Buff-collared Nightjar. Lifer! (For all three of us, I ought to add.)
Like all members of the Nightjar household, the Buff-collared Nightjar hunts for bugs on the wing, at night time, and rests motionless in the course of the day, protected by its refined camouflage. Like lots of them, it often rests on the bottom. Their Latin American widespread title, Tapacaminos, means “path-blockers”, as a result of they often cover out in plain sight on the open floor of pathways, solely to fly away simply earlier than they might be stepped on.
With this sighting, I’ve now seen 4 of Michoacán’s six members of the Nightjar household. The remaining two are the Widespread Pauraque, which may solely be seen on the coast right here, and the extraordinarily tough Eared Poorwill, with solely 345 sightings and 30 images listed on EBird. I gained’t be holding my breath.
I’ll throw in a couple of extra images from our journey, simply because I can:
Can’t… cease… displaying footage of cute Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls.
… or Golden-cheeked Woodpeckers.
… or Inexperienced Herons.
Nacho assured me that these bats are fruit-eaters. That was a aid, since Mexico is residence to all three of the world’s vampire bat species. (Additionally, vampire bats are very small, and these guys have been BIG.) As you’ll be able to see, they have been roosting in a tree, not a cave. Straight over our heads, the truth is.