We spent 25 June around Bahía San Quintin looking for coastal species. Bahía San Quintin is a Ramsar site, which is a wetland of international importance. The Ramsar convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides a framework for conservation of wetlands. Bahía San Qunitin is an important wintering site for Brant and many migrating and overwintering shorebirds. Bahía San Quintin has an extensive marsh on both the north and south sides of the bay, providing habitat for rails and other salt marsh species.
We started the day out by birding the marsh on the northern side of the bay. As soon as we stepped out of the truck we heard a Clapper Rail calling! The Clapper Rail called twice but we never managed to see the rail, as it goes with so many marsh bird species. We had good luck with the tide and exposed mudflats had large numbers of birds, including early migrating shorebirds and waterbirds such as Willet, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Black-bellied Plover, Brant, and Red-breasted Merganser which was exciting. We also saw two Northern Harriers hunting over the marsh. Most of these were birds which we were not expecting to see in June in Baja or anywhere in Mexico for that matter.
Next we headed to the end of the coast on the the north side of the bay for a little sea watch. We were not expecting to see much over the ocean because visibility was pretty poor, but we did see seven Black-vented shearwaters, two Least Terns, two early arriving (or perhaps they never left) Surf Scoters, and a Reddish Egret flying by the point. We also saw hundreds of Brown Pelicans cruise by us heading north as well as the typical coastal species Heermann’s Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, Western Gull, and Caspian Terns.
The South side of Bahía San Quintin, while not as good as the north side of the bay, still has extensive marsh habitat that has supported breeding Black Rails and looks like it should still. We made an attempt to find Black Rails in the marsh, but they are a very secretive bird and we were out in mid-day heat and sun on a fairly low tide. A very high tide early in the morning or late in the evening is the best way to see Black Rails.