Personalized Birding Trip for Crystal Ledezma
This four-day birding trip was designed for Crystal Ledezma and guided by Luis Trinchan. Our goal was to do some good birding starting from the city of Mérida and ending in Tulum. The birding itinerary and route was designed based on Crystal's possible life birds.
Day 1. Mérida.
We started our birding trip driving early from Mérida and headed north looking for some of the Yucatan Peninsula's endemic birds. It didn't take long until we found our first birds, including the endemic Yucatan Gnatcatcher, Yucatan Woodpecker, Yucatan Flycatcher, Yucatan Jay, Orange Oriole and Black-throated Bobwhite. Some other interesting birds from our first stop included: Groove-billed Ani, Squirrel Cuckoo, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Turquoise-browed Motmot, White-fronted Parrot, Olive-throated Parakeet, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Mangrove Vireo, Olive Sparrow, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat, Blue-black Grassquit.
Yucatan Woodpecker (Melanerpes pygmaeus) near Mérida, Yucatán.
After a very productive morning, we drove to the coast and started looking for the coastal endemics plus some shorebirds and waterbirds. Sun was starting to raise the temperature but we still managed to get some really nice birds. Some of the highlights include: Mexican Sheartail, Yucatan Wren, Hooded Oriole, Northern Cardinal, Magnificent Frigatebird, Mangrove Swallow, American Flamingo, Reddish Egret, Common Ground Dove, Blue-winged Teal, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Royal Tern and Sandwich Tern.
After birding we went for seafood and to cool off a little bit and then back to Mérida to rest for the next day.
Day 2. Valladolid.
We left Mérida and drove towards Valladolid for our next morning of birding, looking for a completely different set of species. Birding was great, as we got a little more than 60 species with some great birds like: Canivet's Emerald, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Roadside Hawk, Gray Hawk, Lineated Woodpecker, Masked Tityra, Rose-throated Becard, Bright-rumped Attila, Yucatan Jay, Cave Swallow, White-bellied Wren, Black Catbird, Orange Oriole, Gray-throated Chat, Blue Bunting, Gray-headed Tanager, Yellow-faced Grassquit and Cinnamon-bellied Saltator.
We continued birding inside the Amazili Nature Reserve, there we saw the endemic Rose-throated Tanager plus some other nice birds including: Canivet's Emerald, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Olivaceus Woodcreeper, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Green Jay, Yucatan Jay, Magnolia Warbler and Red-throated Ant-Tanager.
After a very productive morning of birding, we went for lunch to a restaurant right next to a Cenote. While eating yucatecan food we added Summer Tanager to the trip list.
We went to our hotel to do the check-in and to rest the hottest part of the day. Then, we went out to another birding trail to spend the afternoon. Although we didn't see as many birds as we did in the morning, we still managed to pull a list of 41 bird species seen and/or heard, including: Thicket Tinamou, Singing Quail, Red-billed Pigeon, Caribbean Dove, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Lesson's Motmot, Yellow-lored Parrot, Olivaceus Woodcreeper, Masked Tityra, Tropical Pewee, Spot-breasted Wren, White-bellied Wren, Scrub Euphonia, Orange Oriole and Black-headed Saltator.
Yellow-lored Parrot (Amazona xantholora) near Valladolid, Yucatán.
After that, we went for dinner and to rest for the next day.
Day 3. Valladolid.
On day three, we repeated the birding trails we did on day two, but the other way, so we would do the one we did in the morning in the afternoon and the one from the afternoon in the morning.
Bird activity was great in the morning as we got a checklist of 75+ bird species. Some of our highlights include: Plain Chachalaca, White-tipped Dove, Vaux's Swift, Green-breasted Mango, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Wedge-tailed Sabrewing, Lesson's Motmot, Ruddy Woodcreeper, Tawny-winged Woodcreeper, Rose-throated Becard, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Yellow-throated Vireo, Yellow-throated Euphonia, Olive Sparrow, Altamira Oriole, Bronzed Cowbird, Melodious Blackbird, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Blue Bunting, Gray-headed Tanager, Yellow-faced Grassquit and Black-headed Saltator.
After that, we went for lunch and added Yellow-winged Tanager to the list.
We went out again in the afternoon with the idea to stay and try for the night birds. The highlights from the afternoon include: Caribbean Dove, Lesser Roadrunner, Vaux's Swift, Gray Hawk, Lineated Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Least Flycatcher, Brown Jay, Purple Martin, Long-billed Gnatwren, Scrub Euphonia, Hooded Oriole, Yellow-backed Oriole, Gray-throated Chat and Blue Bunting.
As it got dark, our first night bird arrived, a Common Pauraque sitting on the road. We tried for the poorwill and the nightjar but without any success. Fortunately for us, we came across a Middle American Screech-Owl which gave us great views!
Middle American Screech-Owl (Megascops guatemalae) near Valladolid, Yucatán.
Day 4. Coba Archaeological Site.
For our last day, we left Valladolid and started driving towards Coba. On our way to it, we got to see a Bat Falcon perched on top of an electricity pole.
We got to the site and started birding around a lagoon surrounded by tropical forest, definitely a good combination for birds. Our highlights include: Least Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Ruddy Ground Dove, Ruddy Crake, Limpkin, Northern Jacana, Wood Stork, Anhinga, Keel-billed Toucan, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Clay-colored Thrush, Cape May Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Painted Bunting, Blue-gray Tanager, Morelet's Seedeater and Cinnamon-bellied Saltator.
After birding around the lagoon we went inside the archaeological site for some more birds. As we got in, the first birds to welcome us were a Louisiana Waterthrush, a couple Black-headed Trogons and a Collared Trogon. Then, we spotted an ant-swarm which produced a mixed flock of birds feeding on the ants, including: Squirrel Cuckoo, Oliveceus Woodcreeper, Ruddy Woodcreeper, Tawny-winged Woodcreeper, Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, Eye-ringed Flatbill, Green Jay, Hooded Warbler, Red-throated Ant-Tanager and Gray-Headed Tanager. We kept walking around the site and we came across some other great birds including: White-bellied Emerald, Gartered Trogon, Olive-throated Parakeet, Masked Tityra, Gray-collared Becard, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Couch's Kingbird, Lesser Greenlet, Brown Jay, Yucatan Jay, Tropical Mockingbird, Black-and-white Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler and Rose-throated Tanager.
Tawny-winged Woodcreeper (Dendrocincla anabatina) at the Cobá Archaeological Site.
That was our last birding stop of the trip, after that we drove to Tulum where I dropped Crystal so she could continue with her trip. The total of birds seen and heard on this trip was 168 species and Crystal got 42 lifers!
Written by Luis Trinchan.