Mexico Travel Diary - p 2 of 2

25 March 2013
As bird activity waned at the Finca, I drove back to Huatulco and my hotel, Mision de Los Arcos.  Then I decided to have a bite of lunch.  But in true Spanish style, the Terra Cotta restaurant here doesn't begin to serve lunch until 1 p.m.  So at noon I ate breakfast again.
    A road winds past fancy resorts east of town, with a side road up to their water pumping station.  Here were Great Kiskadees, more jays, Russet-crowned Motmots, with Black Vultures and Magnificent Frigatebirds circling overhead.
    At the gate to the station was a mango tree laden with fruit.   Eager patrons were Orange-crowned Parakeets and a dozen handsome Yellow-winged Caciques.
    In between feeding sessions, the caciques bullied their smaller cousins in the icterid family, Streak-backed Orioles.




Yellow-wing-Cacique.jpg (368974 bytes)




Rosita-on-limb2.jpg (142854 bytes) 27 March 2013
Yesterday came a long drive from Huatulco east to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the town of Juchitan de Zaragoza.  There's nary a turista in sight here.  Ana, at the Hotel Central, speaks English, but the rest of the staff does not.  At the excellent restaurant to which they directed me, the Internacional, the menu is in Spanish only.
    My trip to Mexico has been a disappointment so far.  I struck out on Red Warbler.  The second bird on my want list, Orange-breasted Bunting, has also been scarce, glimpsed twice along th roadside.  That leaves only the third, Rose-bellied Bunting.
    eBird to the rescue.  Birders Amy McAndrews and Jorge Montejo have identified on eBird maps a locale, called Jabba's Canyon, where the Rose-bellied, or Rosita's Bunting as it was earlier called, seems common.
    In pre-dawn darkness I drive to the canyon, the winds howling.  At the mouth of the canyon are Gumbo-Limbo trees, Bursera simaruba.   And pecking at its fruit is ... Rosita.  Seven or eight of them.  So begins four hours of watching and photographing this rare, long-sought bird.
More luck.  The buntings also come down to the ground under the trees to feed on the pseudoaril part of the fruit.  They play hide-and-seek within the underbrush.  But with patience comes a chance now and then.  In true bunting style, the female is drab, not at all like the handsome males. Female-Rosita.jpg (236696 bytes)
White-lored-Gnatcatcher.jpg (220052 bytes) The canyon mouth has lots of bird activity.  Also seen are Indigo Buntings, Orange-fronted Parakeets, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, and an old friend soon to migrate perhaps to Oklahoma, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.
    And of course White-lored Gnatcatcher, which showed up for a few seconds and then disappeared.  But not without a brief pose for the camera.


So here in a small corner of the world, dry and windswept, lives a truly beautiful bird.  Go 100 miles in any direction and you will be out of its range - one can only find Rosita's Bunting here.  Was it worth the time and expense to come all this way to see something so rare?  Yes, of course. male-Rosita.jpg (335109 bytes)

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