Sunday, December 30, 2012

Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), Belize & Guatemala (Part 2)

Back on the mainland, we took a bus 2.5 hours south (picking up a Jabiru along the way) arriving in Felipe Carrillo Puerto a couple hours before sunset. Originally the plan was to make a quick stop at a supermarket, stock up on foods, and head straight to the famed Vigia Chico Road.  However, we were stalled for nearly two hours as we huddled under the supermarket overhang as it poured. The rain eventually ceased, we caught a taxi to the road and continued walking a couple kilometers in the dark. With our headlamps, we examined several milpas until we found one that looked good and set up camp.

Rain in Felipe Carrillo Puerto
At first light we headed back down the footpath towards the gravel road – the morning chorus was dominated by Yucatan Jays and the screeches of Olive-throated Parakeets and White-fronted Parrots overhead. Vigia Chico Road was by far one of the best areas we visited. We spent the entire day birding along the road and various paths leading into milpas and prime forests.

Track off Vigia Chico Road
I don’t even know where to begin on describing all of the highlights. With roughly 90 species, there’s just not enough time to type everything out! For those interested, you can find our counts for the day on eBird here ( Some of the highlights include: Keel-billed Toucans, Long-billed Gnatwrens, Rose-throated Tanagers, Gray-throated Chats, and five species of orioles. Of course, there were all of the peninsular endemics such as Yucatan Woodpecker, Yucatan Flycatcher, Yucatan Vireo, Yucatan Jays (everywhere) and without a doubt – the best bird of the trip, Yucatan Poorwill (SEEN!). 

Yucatan Poorwill
Yucatan Jay
Stumbling upon a Yucatan Poorwill was out of pure chance. Behind our camp, we heard this odd noise…perhaps a frog or insect. I was creeping around very slowly in thick vegetation trying to track down the culprit. Just before turning around and giving up, I noticed two eyes staring at me – Yucatan Poorwill! I could care less what that thing was making that noise, it led me straight to the poorwill! Not many birders get a good view of one in the middle of the day…let alone, get a photo.

After a successful day, we laid down in our tents and listened to Thicket Tinamous and a Collared Forest-Falcon calling not too far away. In the morning we’d bird the road back into town and head into Belize.

I also wanted to apologize for the lack of photos. My camera isn’t that great and since the others had good camera equipment, I decided to focus on audio recording instead.

1 comment:

Kimberly Kaufman said...

Great report, Ethan! It's okay to have just a few photos -- especially when they're great photos of amazing birds!

Looking forward to the rest of your trip report!