17 July 2013
The La Noria Rd heads up into the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental from the Hwy 15 libre just NE of Mázatlan. Along with the agriculture and cutover areas along the highway there are still some good patches of thorn forest, but we found the best birding and the best habitat along a dirt side road signed for Los Ebanos, Veranos and Pichilingue that heads south before the town of La Noria. The road is quite narrow but has places to pull off every few hundred meters. There is much more intact forest and in many places you can great views into both the understory and the canopy. Along the La Noria Rd itself we found Elegant Quail in two locations, Lilac-crowned Parrots, Varied and Blue Buntings and along the Los Ebanos road we also found Russet-crowned Motmot, large numbers of Orange-fronted Parakeets, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Bright-rumped Attila, Mangrove Cuckoos in two different locations as well as a female Golden-crowned Emerald. We also headed up the La Noria Rd past La Noria and found more promising looking habitat but no side roads or good access to the habitat. This road eventually leads towards Concordia, a place that is currently not considered very safe, so we didn’t head too far up, perhaps 5 km past La Noria without finding any good spots to get into the thorn forest. The relative danger or safety of various birding locations in Sinaloa changes frequently, be sure to ask several different locals before visiting any areas (although Estero del Yugo ought to always be safe, being an enclosed reserve). We had no problems on the La Noria Rd and saw many road and mountain cyclists also using the road on our visit in July 2013. The side road to Los Ebanos is highly recommended, at least for the first few kilometers which we birded.