Day and a half of Bird Photography near Mérida, September 2019.
On September 1st of 2019, Luis Mauricio Mena Paramo, better known in the Mexican Naturalist community as "LuisAve", hired the guiding services of Yucatan Birding Tours for a day and a half birding tour.
LuisAve is a passionate photographer who wanted to add some of the Yucatan Peninsula endemics and other target birds to its personal checklist. So, he hired both me (Luis Trinchan) and Ramón Trinchan as his birding guides, we designed an itinerary and we went birding.
LuisAve taking pictures of a male Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) in Merida.
Our first stop was the Misnebalam Road (this name may sound familiar to you as it is mentioned may times on the blog because it is one of our favourite birding hotspots for endemic birds near Merida), we arrived very early and it was still dark, so we had some Common Pauraques on the middle of the road.
Common Pauraque sitting on the middle of the road.
As the sun started to rise and the morning was becoming clearer, we started hearing and watching birds all over the place. We finished our checklist for this birding hotspot with 46 bird species, including some very interesting ones like: Black-throated Bobwhite, Ocellated Turkey, Lesser Nighthawk, White-tailed Kite, White-tailed Hawk, Yellow-headed Parrot, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Barred Antshrike, Mangrove Vireo, Yucatan Jay, Yucatan Gnatcatcher, Botteri's Sparrow and Gray Crowned Yellowthroat.
Complete eBird checklist here: Birding at the Misnebalam Road with YBT
The North Coast of the Yucatan State.
After birding at Misnebalam, we drove to the coast and we headed to the "Reserva Ecológica el Corchito", a small reserve with 5 cenotes, good for kingfishers, rails, some egrets, and also Raccoons and White-nosed Coatis.
We spent about an hour there, and we had 24 bird species, including: American Flamingo, Ruddy Crake, Reddish Egret, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Boat-billed Heron, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Common Tody Flycatcher, Green Jay and Yellow-billed Cacique.
Mammals: Raccoon (Procyon lotor), White-nosed Coati (Nasua narica) and Greater Sac-winged Bat (Saccopteryx bilineata).
Boat-billed Heron at El Corchito Reserve.
Greater Sac-winged Bat (Saccopteryx bilineata) at El Corchito Reserve.
After El Corchito, we went to another one of our favourite birding hotspots near Merida for some shorebirds and some other endemic birds like the Yucatan Wren.
Although the weather was starting to get hot, we managed to pull some 27 bird species, like: American Flamingo, Snowy Plover, Least Tern, Black Tern, Neotropic Cormorant, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Yucatan Gnatcatcher, Yucatan Wren and Morelet's Seedeater.
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture soaring at Progreso, Yucatan.
Then, we continued driving towards another locality called "Chuburna Puerto", we saw many species of shorebirds there, like Black-necked Stilt, Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Wilson's Plover, Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Willet and also Laughing Gull, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Magnificent Frigatebird, Reddish Egret, White Ibis, Mangrove Warbler, Mexican Sheartail and Yucatan Wren.
On our way back to Merida, we took what we would call a "birding road", this road goes across a big wetland so it is very productive for waders. We found a group of 448 American Flamingos! Luis was very entertained taking lots of pictures of those pink beauties; we also added Forster's Tern, Black Skimmer and Tropical Kingbird to the triplist.
We arrived in Merida, and we began to do birding at some ecological parks inside the city. Highlights for the parks in Merida include: Least Grebe, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Common Gallinule, Northern Jacana, Olive-throated Parakeet, Great Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Couch's Kingbird, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Yucatan Jay, Clay-colored Thrush, Grayish Saltator and Scrub Euphonia.
Adult Yucatan Jay perched at a park inside Merida city.
For our next morning, we went to another park inside Merida, because Luis wanted to see the Least Bittern, and this was a place I was sure we would have a chance to find one; we did find it, with another extra 29 bird species. Highligths include: Vaux's Swift, American Coot, Limpkin, Anhinga, Least Bittern, Snail Kite, Social Flycatcher, Cave Swallow, House Wren (Southern) and Prothonotary Warbler.
Vaux's Swift at Merida.
This was the end of the birding tour for LuisAve, we finished with a total of 108 bird species.
Written by Luis Trinchan Guerra