Birder's Guide

JAN 2019

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 46 of 67

45 January 2019 | Birder's Guide to Travel laps against the very edge of a small dis- used parking lot, just the place to linger for an hour in the early morning. Cinnamon and Blue-winged teal, Northern Pintails, Redheads, and Lesser Scaup float among the submerged palapas while White-faced Ibis, Green and Tricolored herons, Long- billed Dowitchers, and Spotted Sandpip- ers hunt the edges. Ruddy Ground-Doves, relatively new colonizers in the region, are easy to see in the shady stalls, feeding at the feet of the horses. The palms and other small trees around the parking lot and stables were very at- tractive to passerines in January, both residents and winter visitors. For reluc- tant Easterners like us, the abundance of Audubon's and Orange-crowned warblers and Hooded Orioles was a welcome balm, although a single "Western" Palm Warbler was far "better" by local standards. Tropi- cal Kingbirds and Black Phoebes plucked insects from the surface, and the shallow edges were always good for Spotted Sand- pipers and Long-billed Dowitchers. Shady and relatively peaceful, outfitted with a low concrete wall and what are now wa- terside benches, this would be a fine spot for a Big Sit. T urning back towards the sea, it is a short walk past the Holiday Inn and the yel- lowthroat bench to the beach. Our Janu- ary visit found the sand and surf not es- pecially birdy, but the estuary itself widens here to form a substantial marshy pool, overlooked by an observation platform with wooden benches. Even with an early morning start, the shade provided by the platform was more than welcome, and the additional height helps in finding some more reclusive species. The only Soras to give good looks were here, and Black- crowned and Yellow-crowned night-her- ons proved considerably more common than we'd at first thought from the view on the ground. Many of the wintering water- fowl also tended to hug the edges, perhaps made nervous by the twisting unpredict- ability of the Magnificent Frigatebirds hunting low over the water all day long. They certainly had more to fear from the adult Peregrine Falcon that spent most of one morning resting on the beach after a leisurely breakfast of coot. The beach path continues to the nar- row marina inlet, where ambitious bird - ers can turn left (west) and walk through a small stand of palms to reach the back gate to Wirikuta Botanical Cactus Garden, a cactus nursery and exhibition ground for some weirdly striking outdoor sculptures. The irrigated lawns here are good for Ver- milion Flycatchers and Killdeer, while the dusty, scrubby edges held Ash-throated Flycatchers and Common Ground-Doves. Wirikuta can also be entered more for- mally from Camino Cabo Este; the admis- n Estero San José is a perfect place to enjoy the sun while you wait for birds such as the endemic Belding's Yellowhtroat to chance by. Photo © Michael L. Retter n Xantus's Hummingbirds are common at flowers in villages and on farmsteads. A visit to San José del Cabo is the chance to really get to know this lovely hummer. Photo © Michael L. Retter

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