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This Baja birder leaving the Durango Hwy. and on to San Blas, Mexico. – Chris Llewellyn's "Birds Eye Views"

This Baja birder leaving the Durango Hwy. and on to San Blas, Mexico.

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Here is a photograph of my guide, Mark Stackhouse, at one of the viewing areas on the Durango Hwy.  You can see the hazy lighting conditions I’ve been whining about.  Still had a great time there.

Mark Stackhouse










Now on to San Blas.  Mark knew right where to find this hummer of a hummingbird.  The elusive Mexican Woodnymph.

Mexican Woodnymph













Sorry about that watermark but people were always stealing my photographs. The Mexican woodnymph (Thalurania ridgwayi) is a species of hummingbird in the family Trochilidae and is endemic to western Mexico. Its habitats include subtropical or tropical moist lowland/foothill forest and plantations . It is threatened by habitat loss. It has been considered conspecific with the crowned woodnymph of Central and northern South America.

In some of the wetlands of san Blas, we found Spotted Rails.

Spotted Rail













These birds had to be coaxed out the thick waterplants by calling them.The Spotted Rail is a large rail of Central America, the Caribbean, and parts of South America.  It is relatively poorly known, and is curiously distributed in widely disjunct patches.  The species has proven to be a long distance vagrant, with a specimen record from southwestern Pennsylvania, USA.  Adults are quite dark overall, with a tapered, yellow bill with red spots at the base of the mandible, blackish head with red eye, black and brown upperparts, black underparts with white spotting, and pinkish legs. 

Moving to a different marsh we call up a Ridgeway’s Rail…

Ridgeway’s Rail













Ridgway’s Rail is a handsome gray-and-rusty bird that lives most of its life concealed in dense vegetation. It uses its formidable bill to probe into muddy wetlands for invertebrate prey. It lives in saltwater marshes, freshwater marshes, and mangrove swamps in California, Arizona, Nevada, and coastal western Mexico. Populations are declining largely due to wetland loss and degradation, and the species is listed in the U.S. as federally endangered. This species and Clapper Rail were considered the same species (along with Mangrove Rail) until 2014.

After moving to higher ground and listening carefully, we followed our ears to capture photos of these endemic Rufous-bellied Chachalacas.

Rufous-bellied Chachalacas













The Rufous-bellied Chachalaca is a Mexican endemic found from southern Sonora to northwest Jalisco. The most richly colored chachalaca species, the Rufous-bellied Chachalaca has bright chestnut on the belly and undertail-coverts and a bare red skin patch around its eyes. These birds are found in tropical deciduous forest and thorn forest, as well as palm plantations and mangroves where they forage for fruit and berries. The Rufous-bellied Chachalaca is tolerant of human disturbance and is not a species of conservation concern. 

Next is a nemesis bird for me.  So darn hard to photograph.  This is the best photo I could shoot of this shy bird. Constantly moving in mostly high branches is the beautiful Elegant Euphonia…

Elegant Euphonia












Unlike most euphonias that are attired in dark blue and yellow, the Elegant Euphonia sports turquoise and orange, similar to Antillean Euphonia (Euphonia musica) and Golden-rumped Euphonia (Euphonia cyanocephala), all three of which were once considered a single species. Most often, this dainty finch is encountered in humid, montane oak forests as high as about 3500 m. It occurs northward to Sonora and Nuevo Leon and southward to the highlands of western Panama. There, flocks, occasionally numbering dozens of individuals, may be seen feeding in clumps of fruiting mistletoe. The male’s bright blue crown and orange belly aid in locating this tiny bird (length 11 cm) in the foliage of tall oaks. The female also sports a blue crown, but her green back and underparts is more cryptic among the green leaves. Elegant Euphonias undergo some seasonal and altitudinal movements, occasionally being found close to sea level….Moving on, I was able to add another new bird to my photo list.  The Flammulated Flycatcher…

Flammulated Flycatcher













Originally described in the genus Myiarchus, Flammulated Flycatcher now generally is afforded its own, monotypic genus, although it has been suggested that the species is better treated as a member of Ramphotrigon. Needless to say, the plumage of Flammulated Flycatcher does recall that of a Myiarchus, but in size this species is smaller than most members of Myiarchus, and the pale supraloral, broken orbital ring, and streaked throat and breast all serve to distinguish Flammulated Flycatcher from any Myiarchus. This species appears to be a Mexican endemic: although postulated to range into Guatemala, no evidence for its occurrence in the latter country has been found to date. Flammulated Flycatcher inhabits dry deciduous woodland and thorn forest, as well as shade coffee plantations, and is found from sea level up to approximately 1400 m.  Lastly for today, one of the most difficult to photograph birds I’ve ever tried shot.  True to it’s name, the Rusty-capped ground Sparrow dodged my camera lens by running along the ground only pausing long enough to tease me…

Rusty-capped ground Sparrow












Its size ranges from six to seven inches (15–17.5 cm). The adult has a rufous crown with white lore spot and its face is olive brown with white eye ring while the upper parts grayish olive. Its throat and underparts are white with a black central chest spot and the undertail covers are pale cinnamon. Juveniles are dusky brown on the upper parts with the throat and underparts dirty pale lemon, streaked with brown.

Okay, I hope you enjoy today’s blog.  Happy birding!  My new email is chrisllewellyn0211@gmail.com

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