Wednesday 6 April 2016

San Sebastian and Back.

Mar 18/16 San Sebastian, Mexico 

I suppose sticking to one location has its benefits but as the first few days passed it was time to explore further afield and a trip to the mountains and San Sebastian for a cultural tour was just what the doctor ordered. Perhaps during the tour of the tequila distillery and the market square I might be  able to sneak off and bird. The tour included a tour of an abandoned silver mine (yawn) and a coffee plantation. I was really more interested in avifauna. After we left the coast and had passed the farmlands we began to climb ever upward through a series of switchbacks. The mist shrouded oak and pine forests which the guide called 'fog forest' were a far different that we had experienced on the coast and welcome change of scenery.

Black Vulture

Brown-backed Solitaire
I saw the solitaire skulking around the gardens during out lunch time stop in San Sebastian. There were also a few yellow warblers in the same bushes as well as a few Bullock's Oriole, Wilson's and Nashville Warblers.

Orange-fronted Parakeet
During the tequila tasting session and the inevitable sales pitch I took off down the road past the line of coaches and across a meadow where I saw some birds in a tree. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was the first time I had seem parakeets in the wild. It took me a while to gain their trust but eventually and with our bus ready to leave I managed to fire off a few shots of them eating seeds. It made my day and the tequila was awesome but that's another story!

As we made our way along the mountain roads the driver suddenly stopped and off we all got. In the middle of a farmers field were a series of stones jutting through the grass. Each one of them had a series of petroglyphs.

As we listened to the guide I noticed a movement to my left, it was another lifer, a Groove-billed Ani. 

Grove-billed Ani

Back at the beach.

Neuvo Vallarta
In the distance right below the mountains is Puerto Vallarta

It was back to the hotel for the late afternoon and evening sunset. Out in the bay a mixed flock of blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans and heeman's gulls were ganging up on a shoal of fish.

Herman's and laughing gulls were the most abundant gulls.
A mixed flock of brown pelican, blue-footed booby and Heeman's gull plunder a shoal of fish in front of the hotel.

Heeman's gull.

A royal tern snags a fish from the breakers.
Blue-footed booby.

Black skimmer

Reddish egret
Common tern.

Neo-tropic cormorant

Blue-footed Booby diving for fish.

Tomorrow will be the last day in  Neuvo Vallarta before we move digs and finish our ten day break in the old town of Puerto Vallarta.

"It's never too late to start birding"

John Gordon
BC Canada

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