Monday, March 30, 2009

El Cielo Trip - Day 4 - March 26, 2009

During the night I woke up and heard four Mottled Owls sounding off.

It was great to wake up and be at 4000 feet in the pine-oak zone. The bird song surrounded us. We took the truck and went to a former town site called again Casa de Piedra – house of the rock. This high elevation site had great birding on the way in, with flocks of warblers including good looks at a Golden-cheeked Warbler, a life bird for Esteban! I glimpsed a perched Amethyst-throated Hummingbird which flew off immediately.

We walked on from Casa de Piedra and saw another Bumblebee Hummingbird male, and had great looks at Golden-browed Warbler. A Bat Falcon was rousted off its perch on the mountainside by a pair of Common Ravens. The Bat Falcon stooped at the Ravens several times and was joined by its mate, and then succeeded in driving the Ravens off the hillside. Other birds included Hutton’s Vireo, Magnificent Hummingbird, and more Mountain Trogon.

We drove back down the mountain for lunch at the hotel. After lunch, we drove into the town of San Jose, birding on the way. Blue Mockingbirds were singing and mimicking other birds. We saw many Azure-crowned Hummingbird and Greater Pewee, and Acorn Woodpecker were well seen by the group. We walked part way back to the hotel through mostly second growth and farms.

After dinner we tried to call in the Stygian Owl that I heard the night before with no luck. We then went back to the open area where the guys had been looking for Stygian Owl the first morning and tried a tape there. The bird hooted back once but we could not find it with a flashlight. “Mexican” Whip-poor-wills sang up on the rocks well up the mountainside, a fitting end to a great day.