[Tweeters] Tropical Rainforest info for Mexi-Tweets

David Hutchinson flora.fauna at live.com
Mon Jan 6 13:10:24 PST 2014

It is with some reservations that I do this! The last road I recommended, the Pluma Hidalgo road in the Sierra Miahautlan, Oaxaca, has been quite shredded by landslides and floods from the last Fall hurricane, and while I drove it twice, I was concentrating too hard to look for birds.

Have always wanted to sample the mountain tropical forest birds on the north slope of the Sierra Juarez in Oaxaca and the Sierra Las Tuxtlas on the coast of Veracruz. We decided to drive from the city of Oaxaca to the little town of Lake Catemaco in one day and then have three days to bird our way book. This was a BIG mistake as it is a helluva long way! About 10 hours non-stop. This route, especially if birding along the way, needs an overnight in Tuxtepec. But we ended up with the following:

Night One staying at Playa Azul in Catemaco, which was empty and a little eery. Later found out that Mel Gibson and film crew stayed there to make Apocaliptico! But it was quite birdy. Roads in the Catemaco area are confusing and it really helps to have a guide to drive and ID birds.

Day One went up the recent new Ruiz Cortinez cobbled road into the heart of rainforest of Sierra San Andres. Superb weather and birds.Highly recommended. Did not go to the reserve as just too much driving. In afternoon went to Sontecamapam beach on the Atlantic coast seeing numerous eastern passerines both ways.Beach quiet, but supposedly good for shorebirds. Night Playa Azul

Day Three - went back to San Andres in early am in a gale and driving rain, birding difficult, but did see two Crested Guan on a branch clinging for their lives. Then drove from Catemaco to a nice little hotel in Valle Nacional, on the northern upslope of the Sierra Juarez. Even this shortened route was a tiring journey, relieved by watching Aplomado Falcons hunting for insects around burning groves of sugar cane.

Day Four - drove very slowly back to Oaxaca in clear but cold weather. Birds were few, widely separated but utterly worth it. Best area was surrounding the mountain village of La Esperanza.
The scrambled eggs and beans also OK. Crawled back late into Oaxaca for dinner in Santa Maria del Thule. I think the major message from all this is that it would be better to allow twice as much time for this trip as we did. The roads can be slightly hair-raising and it is worth paying for a guide or two. We must have recorded a couple of hundred species, but trying to keep the list short, the highlights for me, i.e. life birds were:

Oaxaca: - Yellow-headed Parrot; La Esperanza area: - Unicolored Jay, Black-faced Grosbeak,
Red-crowned Ant-tanager, Spot-breasted Wren, White-naped Brushfinch, Emerald-chinned Hummingbird, Blue-crowned Chlorophonia and Olive-backed Euphonia. Playa Azul: Band-backed Wren, White-bellied Emerald; San Andres:- Black Hawk Eagle, Spectacled Foliage-gleaner, White-breasted Wood-wren, Little Tinamou, Crested Guan, White-winged Tanager, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat and Tuxtla Quail-dove heard in several places.

Happy to answer questions off-line. David

David Hutchinson
flora.fauna at live.com

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