31 January – 4 February 2014
After spending three days in Cancun waiting for the new oil pan to arrive and be installed we were ready to chase down the last few Yucatan endemics that we had yet to see (Yucatan Poorwill, Yucatan Nightjar, and Yellow-lored Parrot). One of the best places in the Yucatan to see the poorwill and nightjar is Vigia Chico Road outside of Felipe Carillo Puerto in Quintana Roo. As we drove into camp on the first night we scanned the roadside for nightjars, but none were heard or seen. We tried again the next night but only heard a Yucatan Poorwill. Darn! We had, apparently mistakenly, thought they would be fairly common here. It seems that at least in the winter neither one is that easy to see at all. We spent four nights searching for the poorwill and nightjar and while we eventually heard several of each and did some quality bush whacking, we managed only fleeting looks at a Yucatan Poorwill and left with a heard only Yucatan Nightjar, though we also picked up a spectacular batch of chiggers. In our experience, the best place along Vigia Chico Road to find both the Yucatan Poorwill and the Yuctan Nightjar is actually close to the entrance in the area where there are still numerous cutover areas (milpas), approximately 1-2 km from the entrance (19.59407, -88.01416). We also heard Northern Potoo calling very distantly in this area.
We walked several stretches of the road during the day searching for parrots and enjoying our last few days of birding in Mexico.
We had quite a good list of birds during our four days there (eBird list 1, 2, 3, and 4). Highlights include Rose-throated Tanager, Black-headed Trogon, Yucatan Woodpecker, and more. We also had incredible looks at Scaled Pigeons in a very large clearing several miles down the road on the right side opposite a small ranch. Just before dusk hundreds of Scaled, Red-billed, and Pale-vented pigeons come into roost and fly across the clearing. In one snag we had several of all three pigeons. Every time we heard parrots fly by we yelled parrots and searched the skies for them, but it always seemed that the sun was behind the parrots making it impossible to make out any features. On our last day we again staked out a cleared area in the early morning and scanned for parrots that might be perching in the remnant trees and snags. We had some unidentified flybys and could hear some parrot chatter in the distance but could not find them. I finally put down the bins and started scanning the tree tops with the scope and finally we found a pair of Yellow-lored Parrots! A nice way to end our time in Mexico. The clearing seems to be a good spot to watch for parrots and it is just a little ways down the road on the left after the nightjar/poorwill spot. Vigia Chico Road was our last stop in Mexico. We packed up the truck on the morning of the 4th and headed to Belize! Up next a summary of Mexico and stories from Belize. Check out our facebook page to see photographic highlights from Mexico