Monday, March 30, 2009

El Cielo trip - Day 1 - March 23, 2009

March 23, 2009

We met in Mission and Harlingen and were picked up by Roy Rodriguez. We crossed at the Los Indios bridge at 8:30 AM. While the group got visas, I watched swallows (Tree, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Cave, Cliff) fly by. A single flock of 8 Am Golden Plover flew silently by. Then it was a long drive with several stops (lucn at El Tinieblo, the museum of mescal). We arrived at Gomez Farias at 3:30 PM and checked in at the Casa di Piedre. I was given the key to the Magnolia room, a delightful room with a balcony overlooking several Mango trees. That's the hotel on the right - and their new dining room overlooks the valley. The food and staff were great!

Ricardo Jimenez Ramirez (, a local birding guide, joined us for the whole trip. We went down to La Florida, a popular swimming hole in the river (Rio Sabinas). Although there was a busload of tourists from Veracruz there swimming, we were able to locate a number of birds including a pair of Blue-throated Motmot, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, Spot-breasted Wren, White-crowned and Red-lored Parrot, Red-billed Pigeon, Vaux's Swift, and Boat-billed Flycatcher.

We went back to the hotel, stopping at a telephone pole with Bat Falcon perched on top. This pair has nested in the area for several years to the delight of visiting birders. A pair of Pale-billed Woodpecker were feeding on the hillside above us and put on a great show, allowing everyone to see them in the scope. We had a fantastic dinner at the hotel and turned in early.