Category Archives: Birding

Puffin Photo Adventure!

  Ten miles southeast of the quaint town of Cutler, Maine, lies a true gem for birders and photographers. Machias Seal Island spans a mere twenty acres, but during the summer months, the rocky shores host thousands of breeding seabirds. Most notable among them is the Atlantic Puffin.     The island is contested, claimedContinue Reading

Species Spotlight: Galapagos Petrel

  Recognizing the buoyant flight of the Galapagos Petrel (Pterodroma phaeopygia) is the best way to ID this large, long-winged ‘gadfly petrel’ as it floats effortlessly over the Pacific in search of food. Squid, fish and crustaceans make up their diet. Once considered a subspecies of the Dark-rumped Petrel (Pterodroma phaeopygia phaeopygia) it was splitContinue Reading

VERACRUZ 2014: Day 11 – Rain Forest to Zocalo

Day 11 / Oct 12: Ruiz Cortines; Las Barrancas     On this last day of our Veracruz trip we visited one of the best birding sites in the region, the cloud forest at Ruiz Cortines. There we were met by Braulio Malega, local guide, Tuxtla Quail-Dove expert, and great friend. The cool drizzly weatherContinue Reading

VERACRUZ 2014: Day 10 – Selva and Laguna

Day 10 / Oct 11: UNAM Biological Station; Laguna Sontecompan; Los Mangos We spent the morning exploring the lush rainforest habitat of the UNAM Biological station. This expansive reserve, founded in 1967, belongs to the Institute of Biology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). It protects an array of threatened and diverse wildlife species,Continue Reading

VERACRUZ 2014: Day 9 – South to Catemaco

Day 9 / Oct 10: Las Barrancas; Tlacotalpan; Nanciyaga   Today we said our final farewells to Cardel and the famous hawk-watching sites, to trek southward into an entirely different region. Our goal was to explore the savannah and dry forest at Las Barrancas, looking for several specialty birds. Driving down a flat, open road,Continue Reading

VERACRUZ 2014: Day 8 – Raptors Close Overhead

Day 8 / Oct 9:  Villa Rica; Quiahuiztlan; Cardel; Chichicaxtle   We started early this morning, heading up the coast to Villa Rica. Away from the highway, the quiet road was lined with pastures, mangroves and forest patches, hosting a variety of interesting birds including a close Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl and Common Black Hawk.    Continue Reading

VERACRUZ 2014: Day 7 – Rancho El Mirador

Day 7 /  Oct 8: Rancho El Mirador; Chichicaxtle After yesterday’s amazing raptor flight with nearly 200,000 birds reported streaming through the region, we deferred our focus on hawks today, and headed up the mountains to the El Mirador Ranch and coffee finca, situated at elevation 3,000 feet. There we met our gracious host JorgeContinue Reading

VERACRUZ 2014: Day 5 – The Highlands

Day 5 / Oct 6: Las Minas; Los Humeros; La Joya Today we explored the higher regions around Xalapa, finding many new species and some Mexican endemics in lovely conifer and mixed-wood forests above 6,000 feet elevation.     Only about 30 minutes drive from Xalapa we arrived at our first site, La Joya. ThisContinue Reading

VERACRUZ 2014: Day 6 – River of Raptors

Day 6 / Oct 7: Chavarillo; Cardel; Chichicaxtle; Rio Escondido   On our last morning in Xalapa we visited the small town of Chavarrillo, situated just below the city in elevation. This slightly lower, drier location yielded new birds for our trip list. We were accompanied by my friend Alvaro, who guided us through theContinue Reading

VERACRUZ 2014: Day 4 – Into the Cloud Forest

Day 4 / Oct 5: Xalapa -Macuilteptl Park; Anthropological Museum; Xico-Texolo Waterfall   Our first full day in Xalapa, the capital city of Veracruz, dawned clear and bright. We spent the morning birding in the lovely Macuilteptl Park, in the center of Xalapa. The park is built around an old volcano, with walkways that steadily ascendContinue Reading