Dawn on the third day saw us edging up the dump track at the Grand Palladium. The sun had yet to warm the trees and bird life was hardly evident. As it did warm up the first hummingbirds started to chatter around their chosen bushes. Of those that we got decent looks at we identified Cinnamon, Ruby-throated, Black-chinned and Broad-tailed, the latter not really expected in this area. Back in the GP Arboretum we picked up a Violet-crowned Hummingbird and the now regular denizens of the fruiting fig. Not a bad start to the day but we were ready to try further afield.
One trip report referred to a track which ran uphill past the Vista Vallarta Golf Club. We were ascending the track by 8.45 after first taking the wrong road and finding a ditch with a Roseate Spoonbill, Greater Yellowlegs and both White and White-faced Ibis feeding not a few feet away. The Vista Vallarta track skirted the golf course and slowly climbed into taller forest. At a natural parking spot we found a nice viewpoint by a live stream and watched and waited. On the opposite bank a procession of warblers flitted past, all showing well. Nearby a Russet-capped Motmot called but never showed and a Pacific-slope Flycatcher made a prolonged show off flycatching around our watch point. By 11.00 it was warming up again as the tropics always do and the bird activity slackened. We went a bit higher but the track deteriorated and the drop in the valley seemed unappealing and possibly unavoidable as the track was only just wide enough for one vehicle.
Heading back down we stopped by a weedy field to see what was hopping and found White-collared Seedeaters and Yellow-breasted Chats easy enough. A good deal of pishing kept the birds interested and we were about to move on when a large bunting appeared, a very smart female Orange-breasted Bunting but sadly no sign of the even more striking male. We picked our way back to base resolving to go back to this track earlier one morning to try for the parrots we had yet to find.
Back at base the tide had turned and a few shorebirds had started to assemble such as Willet, Whimbrel and Sanderling. Sandra declined a late afternoon visit to the dump trail so I went on my own. It was pretty quiet but the shorebird activity on the adjacent beach had picked up and Wilson’s Plovers had suddenly found the place to their liking. Yellow-crowned Night-herons were also gathering and seemed completely oblivious to me. After taking a few snaps I turned around to find that four American Oystercatchers had arrived and were happy to pose. Offshore a couple of Black Skimmers were trolling for supper, something I never tire of watching.
As the sun dipped below the headland I wandered back through the scrub and decided to try for Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl. I played the toot a couple of times but nothing happened, no responses, not even chatter from the Sinaloa Wrens nearby. On the off-chance I thought I’d try Colima Pygmy-Owl, not really expecting much and for a species I’d never really considered to be a possibility for the trip. The higher pitched tooting had barely started a second sequence when there was a bird calling back. I turned off the song and backed off from the area, taking up a position where I had a more expansive view. I played a bit more audio and there they were, bounding into the tree in front of me, slightly backlit but very visible. The birds didn’t seem too bothered by me and I may have just chanced upon their daily evening ritual. They called a few times more before moving off to kill something. Sandra was none too pleased to hear that she’d missed this charismatic little owl and a try for them later in the week was unsuccessful so there we have another reason to go back.
Below a series of photos including Roseate Spoonbill, White-faced Ibis, White Ibis (immature), Pacific-slope Flycatcher, soaring Common Black Hawk with a Turkey Vulture, Willet, Wilson’s Plover, American Oystercatcher and adult and immature Yellow-crowned Night-Herons. For orientation there is a scan of the Grand Palladium complex.