Guided by Nick Athanas. This was a set-departure tour.
March in much of the Northern Hemisphere was rather dreary, but in southern Mexico we enjoyed day after day of warm, sunny days and cool, pleasant evenings – it was a wonderful and bird-filled reprieve from winter for the whole group including me. The tour visited the dry Oaxaca Valley (rich in culture as well as endemics), the high mountains surrounding it, lush cloudforest and rainforest on the Gulf slope, and dry forest along the Pacific. This provided a great cross-section of the habitats and offered fantastic birds everywhere. Some favorites included Bumblebee Hummingbird, Dwarf Jay, Orange-breasted Bunting, and a daily fix of warblers, both resident and migrant, like the unique Red Warbler shown above. The extension took us east across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, which serves as a natural species barrier. Numerous different species entertained us like Pink-headed Warbler, Rose-bellied Bunting, and a Nava’s Wren which put on an especially magnificent performance. Owling was a mixed bag, but our first attempt got us a spectacular Fulvous Owl, which was high up on the list of tour favorites. On tours like this, the group largely determines the success of the trip, and once again we had a friendly and pleasant set of folks who were a pleasure to travel with. Mexican food is famous throughout the world, though not everyone is a fan. I have to say that this group took to it with gusto, gaining appreciation for some of the local dishes like chicken with mole, spiced pork entomatadas, shrimp enfrijoladas, and chilaquiles, though no one was too keen on the chapulines… The seafood feast for lunch one afternoon along the coast was quite unforgettable too, and we couldn’t finish the trip without having a taste of some local mezcal.