The border crossing in Tecate was pretty easy. After we clarified some misunderstandings with the immigration officer, we were across the border in no time and headed straight for Josh’s favorite Panaderia (bakery) in Tecate.
The drive to San Pedro Martir was pretty mellow. We stopped briefly at a couple of spots along the way and managed to see an adorable family of Burrowing Owls, Lark Sparrows, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Hooded Orioles, and even got our first Crested Caracara while doing about 90kph down Highway 1.
We got to Colonet and the turnoff for the San Pedro Martir about 2pm. The road up is no longer the dusty and bumpy road it used to be, in fact it’s now paved all the way to the observatory. San Pedro Martir is an amazing and rugged place! Absolutely spectacular! There were perhaps 4 or 5 groups camping on a Saturday night and only 3 on Sunday night that we saw. The campground is really nice, in mature Jeffrey pine forest, and each site has a private pit toilet. We had a family of Western Bluebirds and a mob of Pinyon Jays in our site fairly non stop which was great entertainment.
Although the main meadow (Vallecito Meadow) still being heavily grazed (with cattle standing right next to the grazing activities prohibited sign), we found a gorgeous meadow at about 9000′ along the trail to the Mirador El Altar where we found Dusky Flycatcher and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. We are not sure if they are documented breeders for San Pedro Martir, or Baja, or Mexico for that matter. eBird doesn’t show any May-Aug records that appear to be in breeding locales but we found three males singing in appropriate habitat in the large meadow near the end of Mirador El Altar trail. Interesting…
Additionally San Pedro Martir is now a release site for the California Condor and there have been wild nestings here. We were fortunate to see two soaring high in the heat of the afternoon. Other nice birds we found in the area were Yellow Warbler, Black-chinned Sparrow, Scott’s Oriole, Grey Thrasher, Cassin’s Finch, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western Wood-pewee (which is extremely common up there), Mountain Quail, Williamson’s Sapsucker and Gray Vireo.
We are now relaxing near the San Quintin estuary, where we will spend the next few days in search of coastal species.