Today was to be a full day birding within the grounds of the excellent Rancho Primavera. We had some target species in mind but really just wanted to enjoy the day. A cup of coffee and bowl a porridge on the deck got the ball rolling on the day list with the easy to see aquatic species showing around the lake and, as expected, Military Macaws and Lilac-crowned Parrots leaving their hillside roost. We started out to walk up to the main house where there were hummer and fruit feeders. It took nearly an hour to do the ten minute walk, birds were everywhere and in the main most were easy to get a good look at, even the Macgillivray’s Warblers.
The house feeders were active with Broad-billed and Cinnamon Hummingbird noisily contesting the spoils, neither could compete though with the larger Plain-capped Starthroat that eased both away at will. A chattering announced the daily arrival of the Black-throated Magpie-Jay troop. Shy but hungry they kept watch as individually they dropped down to sample the free fruit. Stripe-headed Sparrows were abundant and a couple of Greyish Saltators seemed to get the better of the bigger and tougher looking Mexican Yellow Grosbeaks.
Mexico warms up quickly so we pushed on with our searching. At Bonnie’s suggestion we tried the ‘secret’ trail looking for Rosy Thrush Tanager, they were not playing today but in a few weeks they will be singing as the breeding season starts for most species. Empidonax flycatchers were met quite frequently but we could not get them to call, the likelihood is that they were all Pacific-Slope Flycatcher but perhaps a few Cordilleran slipped through. Sandra’s cold was getting heavier, she was leaving a snot trail like a sweating snail so we decamped back to base for drinks. Our resident Broad-billed Hummingbird was on its perch and seemed unconcerned that we were sat just a few away admiring him. As the heat of the day passed and I fidgeted Sandra suggested that I go for a walk!
I tracked back through the Rosy Thrush Tanager’s domain but it was pretty quiet apart from the ubiquitous Nashville Warblers and the odd Black-throated Grey and Wilson’s. I walked the Rancho access track down to the ford finding Hammond’s Flycatcher and, best of all, a Greater Pewee, another lifer. I did a fair bit of wander in hot conditions seeing a fair few mad dog but no further Englishmen. I dropped back at base for fresh water and pulled my trousers out of my socks, our standard chigger prevention method, tuck them in and spray with Deep Woods or similar, very effective.
Refreshed, I went off again but this time getting no further than the end of the drive, a pair of Fan-tailed Warblers were fanning their tails at me, Sandra had to see this at least so I dragged her out for her own good. The birds were hard to photograph, non-stop action, but I tried anyway, see below.
Once more into the Thorn scrub I plunged hoping to find a few more of the elusive endemics that make the Rancho their home. I wandered Horse trails for a couple of kilometers seeing a fair bit including Greenish Elaenia which is best described as looking greenish. At one point along the trails I felt sure I was being watched and picked up the musky scent of some animal. It could probably smell me too, teenage applications of Brut aftershave and later Patchouli Oil when I let my hair grow still linger, wafting from some unknown recess even after all these years!
I was still not seeing Russet-crowned Motmots so I set off back through the grassy trails. In a flash a dark bird shot across the path and vanished. After pishing until I was puce it popped up for a look and was a Blue Mockingbird – tick.
The day wound down to the gentle cough of a woman with a cold but fit enough to make her special omelet bless. The evening was colder and clearer and the stars were even more intense than the night before. The day total had been 88 species and we’d missed 15 seen the previous day around the site.
We turned in, Sandra sneezing and sniffing, me starting to gently itch, more of which in the next post.
Below are a few photos from the day: Broad-billed Hummingbird, Green Kingfisher, Thick-billed Kingbird, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Mexican Yellow Grosbeak, Greyish Saltator, Black-throated Magpie-Jay, Mexican Yellow Grosbeak, Stripe-headed Sparrow, Greater Pewee (2), Cinnamon Hummingbird, Groove-billed Ani, Fa-tailed Warbler, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Ladder-backed Woodpecker (2), look at the tongue on the head shot drawing the bug out, Little Blue Heron, Vermillion Flycatcher, Mexican Yellow Grosbeak (arty). Many of the shots were taken by Sandra here.
If you want to take a look at the Rancho Primavera web site here is the link http://www.ranchoprimaveramexico.com/