Thanks to a prompting by Mike Judd, three of us left Patzcuaro early September 17. We drove through Morelia's morning traffic snarl, took the autopista east and exited at the Los Azufres sign. We made a few stops (in the town of Jerahuaro) before climbing into the mountains. The woods were eerily silent, and we weren't able to coax a single trogon in. Nor anything else.
Near the crest and just before a CFE power plant, we managed to find La Gachupina, a presa (dam) that is also an ecological park. We spent most of our time combing this area.
The most amazing bird of the day, as least for me, was a very vocal Green violet-ear. It was territorial and vocalized non-stop. Amazing views, and I kept thinking "Too bad Bob from Boise isn't here with his camera."
We also studied a woodpecker for quite awhile. It's bill was very small, like a Downy's. According to Howell and Webb, Downy's are not a Mexican species. Unfortunately, by the time we retrieved our cameras, we were not able to relocate the bird to photograph it. Thus, we reluctantly listed it as a Hairy.
Hearing the rumblings of our bellies, we sought lunch at Adelita's. The meal was good, another eating establishment to remember for future trips.
Rather than turn back to the Autopista, we decided to make a loop by driving towards Ciudad Hidalgo and then through Mil Cumbres on Hwy 15. Of course, we stopped at El Fresno's El Clarin restuarant just in case there were any swifts in the area. We got lucky: White-throated swifts swirled above. Plus, we enjoyed cold beverages and botanas.
The loop from Patzcuaro to Los Azufres and continuing through Mil Cumbres and back to Patzcuaro is an nice day trip.
Birds seen/heard in order of appearance:
Western meadowlark (singing as we exited the autopista)
Northern rough-winged swallow
Western sandpipers (11 of them)
Allen's - Rufous hummingbird
Black-throated gray warbler
Hairy woodpecker (with a very small bill....very similar to a Downy's bill)
Empid flycatcher (pine?)
Russet or Ruddy-capped nightingale-thrush (didn't fly/didn't see the underwings, no vocals)