Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Birds of Michoacan

I was recently given a gift: a digital version of "La Biodiversidad en Michoacan Estudio de Estado", which includes a chapter and list of the birds of Michoacan. This gift was from Dra. Laura Villasenor Gomez and Dr. Fernando Villasenor, who are siblings and ornithologists at the University of Michoacan in Morelia. Muchisimo gracias!!

The appendices (anexos in Spanish) are incredibly useful:
  • a list the birds of Michoacan
  • lists of species that are threatened (16 species), in danger of extinction (11 species), are under protection (49 species), and are extinct (only 1 species, the Imperial woodpecker)
  • lists of endemic (43), semi-endemic (35), and quasi-endemic species (16).
I have transcribed the data into a spreadsheet. If you'd like to have any of these lists, email me at antep9[at]aol[dot]com. Meanwhile, I am trying to learn how to upload an Excel file to this blog....if you can help, let me know!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bolillos, birds, bugs, and beauty in Tacambaro-Pedernales

Monday's outing was fabulous, and I cannot wax more eloguently than Bruce Cox who summarized the day in the following words (see photos at the end):

"A spectacular day, yesterday. Whether an ardent "birder" or simply a day-venturer, many of you may not yet know about one of the best kept secrets of Patzcuaro and central Michoacan: day trips with Georgia Conti and her co-leader Hugo.

Begun early, the day's first stop was a local bakery not far from Don Chucho's for steaming bolillos. We couldn't wait to savor with a crunch-crunch any longer than the bakery's street-front where Georgia offered butter and jams from the back or her SUV. Then off to the south and Tocambaro where we visited utterly wonderful and spectacular sites that offered us a number of area birds. The second site, a bit past Tocambaro and hidden in a box canyon, waterfalls streaming, was a balneario/restaurant where serveral of us, for the first time, repeatedly saw a Russet-crowned Motmot. Tasty tortas, cervezas, and chips... and lively discussions brought a wonderful trip to a finale........ no wait, more birds, another Motmot.......... and a raven seen from the highway back to Patzcuaro. Other feathers identified were: Happy wren, Blue-black, Sulphur-bellied flycatcher, Rusty-crowne ground-sparrow, juvenile Eastern bluebirds, and a Hepatic tanager.

Note: several of the most jubilant venturers had never been birding before..... and living and traveling in this area will never be the same for them. I think."

Birds of the day:

Hepatic tanager
Eastern bluebird
Barn swallow
White-breasted nuthatch
House finch
Acorn woodpecker
Olive warbler
Chipping sparrow
Grace's warbler
American robin
Black vulture
Blue mockingbird
Vermilion flycatcher
Blue-black grassquit
Golden vireo
Happy wren
Bronzed cowbird
Sulphur-bellied flycatcher
Russet-crowned motmot
Rufous-backed robin
Magnificent hummingbird
Berylline hummingbird
Black-vented oriole
Rock dove
House sparrow
Curve-billed thrasher
Canyon wren
White-throated thrush
Great kiskadee
Rusty-crowned ground-sparrow
Great-tailed grackle
Groove-billed ani
Blue-gray gnatcatcher
Cassin's kingbird
Inca dove
Common raven

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

La Estacion, the old train station near Erongaricuaro

In March, Hugo introduced me to La Estacion, the old train station near Eronga. His father worked for the railroad for 30 years, so he has spent much time here. His father passed away a few years ago, and there is a special place in Hugo's heart for La Estacion. It is also an especially good place for birds. Each time we visit the area, we find Elegant trogon, an exciting species no doubt for most birders. We also add a new species to our list with each visit. For example, today we watched a family of Slate-throated redstarts. Although not a new species, we were able to watch the adults busily feeding youngsters and teaching them to forage. This was the first time I saw baby redstarts. Without the adults nearby and without the tell-tale fanning of their tails, it would have been a trying time for me to identify the juveniles.

After the photos, you will find a list of all birds we've seen these past months.

Here is a list of species seen at La Estacion since March:

Turkey vulture
Sharp-shinned hawk
Cooper's hawk
Common black-hawk
Red-tailed hawk (dark morph)
Mourning dove
Inca dove
White-tipped dove
Broad-billed hummingbird
White-eared hummingbird
Berylline hummingbird
Blue-throated hummingbird
Elegant trogon
Acorn woodpecker
Golden-fronted woodpecker
Ladder-back woodpecker
Hairy woodpecker
White-striped woodcreeper
Tufted flycatcher
Greater pewee
Hammond's flycatcher
Gray flycatcher
Dusky flycatcher
Cordilleran flycatcher
Vermilion flycatcher
Dusky-capped flycatcher
Great kiskadee
Cassin's kingbird
Rose-throated becard
Violet-green swallow
Northern rough-winged swallow
Barn swallow
Ruby-crowned kinglet
Gray silky-flycatcher
Spotted wren
Canyon wren
Bewick's wren
Curve-billed thrasher
Blue mockingbird
Eastern bluebird
Brown-backed solitaire
Orange-billed nightingale-thrush
Hermit thrush
White-throated thrush
American robin
Blue-gray gnatcatcher
Mexican chickadee
Mexican jay
Common raven
House sparrow
Warbling vireo
Chestnut-sided shrike-vireo
House finch
Lesser goldfinch
Orange-crowned warbler
Nashville warbler
Yellow warbler
Yellow-rumped warbler
Black-throated gray warbler
Black-and-white warbler
MacGillivray's warbler
Wilson's warbler
Painted redstart
Slate-throated redstart
Rufous-capped warbler
Yellow-breasted chat
Hepatic tanager
Summer tanager
Western tanager
Elegant euphonia
White-collared seedeater
Cinnamon-bellied flowerpiercer
Rufous-capped brush-finch
Spotted towhee
Hybrid towhee (Collared x Spotted)
Canyon towhee
Stripe-headed sparrow
Rufous-crowned sparrow
Rusty sparrow
Chipping sparrow
Lincoln's sparrow
Black-headed grosbeak
Blue grosbeak
Bronzed cowbird
Bullock's oriole (Abeille's)
Black-vented oriole