My darling Debbie and I birded Chiapas (the southern-most state in Mexico) for about 10 days in February. We flew from San Jose, Baja Sur to Mexico City, overnighted and continued on to Pelenque, Chiapas the next day. We were met there by Brock Huffman and company (Chiapas Birding Adventures) for a birding adventure we will never forget. Our highly qualified birding guides always went out of their way to ensure our comfort and safety. And by-the-way, there was never a question or feeling that we were in any way un-safe. The people of Chiapas are friendly, shy and curious. Most of the time, the weather was very cloudy so many photos we took are not as crisp as usual. In what little time we had, we birded many different habitats from sea-level to 7,000 feet or so. The artificial goal I set of photographing 50 new birds was achieved and actually surpassed by 2. Yep, 52 birds new to our cameras. Today, I’ll show you a few shots we took of Trogons and Kingfishers.
If you have ever tried to photograph Trogons in their natural habitat (not in a zoo), you will probably appreciate these shots even more. Trogons can be extremely shy and DO NOT like to pose for photos. Seems like almost every time I think I’m close enough to take a pic of one, its still too far away in the shadows of the trees they like to hide in.
In general, Trogons like to land on a branch and slowly scan the area for insects. One would think they are not paying any attention so sneak up just a little more to take that shot, right? No, one step too many and flush!!!!!!!they are gone.
This Black-headed Trogon was the only one we/I saw the entire trip. Debbie sat-out the boat ride I was on to capture kingfishers where I spotted this bird about 500 yards away. That distance and a rocking boat lead to a somewhat fuzzy photograph. If I only had more time.
If you follow our blogs you might remember a photo of an Amazon Kingfisher I shot in Oxaoca. That shot was taken from 1/4 mile away and not very good but it was the only one we ever saw so this one at fifty feet is certainly an up-grade, even though the day was very cloudy. Check out the size of it’s bill compared to the head.
Our boat captain really knew the birds on the river. He knew exactly where to find this Ringed Kingfisher, a bird I told him I really wanted to photograph. What a beauty!
I had no idea I would be seeing so many different kingfishers types on this tiny river. Jokingly, I mentioned to the captain while we were launching the boat that “there may be a little something extra for you” if we find a Pygmy Kingfisher. I didn’t think he understood a word I said because he just smiled. While we were moving along, suddenly the boat stops near a brush pile. The captain starts pshishing, pssh, pssh…And suddenly, out of a thicket flys a Pygmy Kingfisher! Before I can shoot, it flys back in. I’m whispering no.no.no…he’s gone. The captain winks at me and psshes some more. This time I’m ready and take the shot and before he’s gone again. “Let’s go”, I say, I don’t like stressing birds. 500 pesos for the very happy captain. I think it made him proud of his expertise.
I’ll leave today with photos of a Sungrebe, (how lucky am I?)
and a Mangrove Swallow, both taken on the river.
Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie. Don’t forget to like us, if you do.