Mexico has always felt very comfortable and homey for both of us, and that feeling has only increased after spending more than 7 months there. While we were eager and excited to hit the road and travel further south our farewell to Mexico was quite sad as well. In a way, it feels like now we are finally starting our trip as we’re into new territory and out of a place we felt so at ease. In our Mexican travels we had a terrific time and nothing but wonderful experiences (if you discount bug bites and Bimbo bread!). We made some wonderful friends who we hope to keep for life, we made leaps and bounds with our Spanish, we saw many parts of Mexico we had never seen before, we volunteered or otherwise contributed to a handful of conservation projects along the way, and of course we saw a tremendous number of great birds!
Some quick stats:
- 227 days in Mexico
- 12,500 miles driven
- 23 Mexican states visited
- 780 species of birds seen
- 330 eBird checklists
- 54,289 individual birds logged
Not surprisingly, the bird we logged the most frequently was Turkey Vulture – edging out Black Vulture as the Black Vulture is missing from the Baja peninsula where spent almost three weeks. More surprisingly, the bird for which we logged the single highest count was Elegant Tern! We found a massive roost of them in Baja, numbering nearly 3000, and decent numbers in many other places, putting the total somewhere up around 3300.
However, when it comes to highlights, they are many. Here is our best effort at a list of best birding sights and best birds of Mexico!
Best or just plain favorite birding sites in Mexico (in no particular order)
- Yaxchilan + Bonampak
- El Triunfo and Paval
- San Blas and La Bajada + Tecuitata
- Durango Highway + Tufted Jay Preserve
- Baja from San Pedro Martir to Sierra de la Laguna and much more
- Volcan de Fuego + Nevado de Colima
- Ruiz Cortines (Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, for the Tuxtla Quail-Dove and much more)
- El Ocote (northern Chiapas for Nava’s Wren and much much more)
- Sumidero Canyon
Best or just plain favorite birds of Mexico (again in no particular order)
- Horned Guan
- Tufted Jay
- Giant Wren
- Resplendent Quetzal
- Townsend’s Shearwater
- Bearded Wood-Partridge
- Sinaloa Martin
- Aztec Thrush
- Azure-rumped Tanager
- Unspotted Saw-Whet Owl
- Blue-crowned Chlorophonia
- Pink-headed Warbler
- Military Macaw
- Scarlet Macaw
- Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird
- Nava’s Wren
- Lovely Cotinga!
As far as traveling and places we visited, our favorites for the non-birding experiences were again Baja from top to bottom, Guanajuato, San Miguel Allende, the rugged and uninhabited Jalisco coast, the city of Oaxaca, the Oaxaca coastline, and perhaps our favorite of all was San Cristóbal de las Casas.
We’ll get something posted soon about our start to Belize including amazing looks at Northern Potoo and finally actually seeing the Yucatan Nightjar.
Josh and Kathi
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