Birder's Guide

MAR 2015

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 15 of 67

14 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2015 Avian Unicorns of Middle America the best birding in the world. Much more information about the logistics of accessing this area is on our blog at Townsend's Shearwater (Puffnis auricularis, sensu stricto) is one of the most endangered seabirds in the world. It has been extirpated from two of the three islands where it historically bred and is now declining on the last, Isla Socorro, due to predation by cats and burrow-trampling by sheep. Townsend's Shearwater could probably be seen readily near Isla Socorro dur- ing the breeding season, but there is no access to the island short of an expensive multi-day boat charter, and landing on the island is prohibited by law. Your best bet for seeing Townsend's Shearwater is a pelagic trip from Puerto Ángel, Huatulco, or Puerto Escondi- do in Oaxaca. The continental shelf is within 3–4 mi. (5–6km) of shore at Puerto Ángel, and the possibil- ity of seeing other rare seabirds is terrifc. Townsend's Shearwater, though, is most frequently seen inside the shelf edge; we saw one about two miles from shore. If you go, give yourself a couple of days in town to fnd a boatman and sort out some chum. Knowing Spanish or hiring a bilingual guide will help a lot. Note that Newell's Shearwater (P. [auricularis] newelli) of Hawaii is not considered part of Townsend's Shearwater for our purposes, and that the AOU is considering split- ting them this year. Bearded Wood-Partridge (Dendrortyx bar- batus) is an elusive species of forest quail that has a very restricted range in eastern Mexico, occurring in remnant cloudforest patches in Veracruz and a few surrounding states. If you spend a few days in its habitat, you will most likely hear one, but seeing it Bearded Wood-Partridge. Photo © Alberto Lobato Townsend's Shearwater. Photo © Matt Sadowski Gray-headed Piprites. Photo © Lev Frid Chocó Tinamou. Gouache painting © Michael L. P. Retter

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