Saturday 4 February 2017

Birding San Pancho

Jan 20 2017 San Pancho/San Francisco Nayarit Mexico Sunny 24c

San Pancho, also known as San Francisco is less than an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. 
Scott, a good friend of mine from my newspaper days was kind enough to pick me up at Rincon de Guayabitos. Our first stop was Huertas Golf Club in San Pancho where the first bird we saw was the resident bat falcon. The easiest lifer one could hope for and brilliant way to start the day.

Bat falcon

We birded the golf course before making our way north a few kilometres on Hwy 200 where we turned off at the 116 km sign. We followed a dry creek bed slowing gaining altitude. Every stop revealed a great selection of birds. I'm sure we missed more birds than we saw but the scenery made up for any of our shortcomings as birders.

We crossed the creek a number of times in Scott's 4x4, passing through open grasslands and mixed decidious forest. There were numerous kinds of flycatchers including pacific-slope, grey and white-breasted. Parakeets flocked to trees laden with fruit. Watching the latter fly free in the wild is an awe inspiring experience. 
White-breasted flycatcher
 As we approached one of the many fording points over the creek a pair of green kingfishers kept just ahead of us. I photographed the kingfisher from the car window, while the engine was still running. Birding from a car is often more successful, it seems birds are accustomed to vehicles more than they are of humans on foot.

Green kingfisher.
 Due to logistics we had in birding terms a late start. After climbing through the hills the freshness of the morning had already wore off. Birding in Mexico is best from 7-11 a.m after which it gets too hot  and too contrasty for decent photography. 


Photographing a black and white bird in searing heat and haze is as difficult as it gets so the shot below ends up being classified as an ID shot.

Below is one of my series of having more than one species in a frame.
Juvenile 1st year little blue heron (foreground) and snowy egret.
As we drove around one corner I spotted a flock of thick-billed ani bathing themselves on an ant hill. 

Thick-billed ani

                 Look closely at the tail of the bird where ants can be seen crawling over the bird.

Lineated woodpecker.
Finally as we returned a flock of orange-fronted parakeets landed in a tree above our heads. This shot  below is from thirty feet away and is far better than I would have ever thought as I had to shoot through thick foliage.
Orange-fronted parakeet.
Another great morning of birding and time to have a cold beer and a well deserved afternoon siesta.

"It's never too late to start birding"
John Gordon 
BC Canada

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic i especially love the black-throated magpie jays