Tabasco might be the wettest state in Mexico. Throughout Mexico’s dry season (which is simply now ending), a lot of the nation turns brown, as our vegetation survive the annual drought by dropping their leaves. However Tabasco solely turns from an enormous swamp into barely swampy grasslands punctuated with some remaining swampy jungle. As such, it provides some distinctive birding experiences.
I lately traveled to Villahermosa, Tabasco’s state capital, to talk and sing in a number of Presbyterian church buildings there. Throughout my keep, I used to be busy on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights, in addition to all day Sunday. However the mornings, and all of Friday, had been free. Even higher, I occur to have a web-based birding buddy who supplied to create space that Wednesday and Friday to take me to see a few of Tabasco’s birds. Since I’ve restricted expertise with japanese Mexico, and even much less expertise with tropical species, I enthusiastically accepted.
Good selection! By week’s finish I had 30 new species on my life listing. And the ultimate species, seen within the neighborhood wherein I used to be housed, gave me my five hundredth species in Mexico. 500 down, 600 to go.
Our first time out, Wednesday, I noticed a number of lifers even earlier than reaching our goal web site. Two confirmed up blocks from my host’s residence. I grabbed some severely overexposed images of my first Inexperienced-breasted Mango.
There have been quite a few Pale-vented Pigeons, and one was clearly nesting.
Some non-lifer Plain Chachalacas appeared unusually assured; West-Mexican Chachalacas on my residence turf are far more timid.
I had seen Altamira Orioles just a few instances earlier than. Nonetheless, every species on this journey was a Tabasco-lifer, so each one was a welcome addition.
Then we detoured into the middle of Villahermosa, to see the Northern Potoo that spends every day within the backyard of one among Rolando’s relations. This was a lifer I had lengthy hoped for! Mexicans name this the “Stick Fowl” (pájaro estaca), and, certain sufficient, it by no means moved as I noticed it.
“Nothing to see right here, I’m only a stick.”
Then Rolando took me to Jonuta Highway (el Camino a Jonuta, pronounced hoe-NOO-tah). I had heard about Jonuta Highway for years. It stretches from Chiapas state to the border with Campeche state, Tabasco being a small and slim state. The highway travels virtually solely by marshy pasturelands. I advised Rolando I didn’t really feel I used to be actually in Tabasco, as a result of I had but to see a cow standing in water. Then we noticed a cow, standing in water.
Due to this, most of the species we noticed are water-loving species. Naked-throated Tiger-Herons, a rarety elsewhere, are virtually a pest right here.
In an uncommon twist, Tiger-Herons get their title from the markings on juveniles and immatures.
Adults are a lot much less tiger-ish.
This one had but to depart the nest.
The same Pinnated Bittern, nonetheless, was a fowl that Rolando had doubted he might present me. And but, there it was! This bittern has “tiger-stripes” in all ages, however they’re vertical, not horizontal.
Limpkins additionally appeared recurrently. Limpkins like to feed on freshwater snails. A west-coast Limpkin was a lifer for me only one month earlier; however on the Jonuta Highway, they had been in every single place.
Far more stunning, nonetheless, is that freshwater snails are additionally the popular meals for an area member of the hawk household. I had seen an grownup Snail Kite as soon as whereas birding in Veracruz state, however was nonetheless excited to now see an immature one in Tabasco.
Right here in Mexico, they name Ospreys “Fishing Eagles”. However Tabasco has a second fowl of prey that fishes. Once more, Rolando was protecting his fingers crossed that he might present me a Black-collared Hawk. However we didn’t see one… We noticed 4! I want I might have seen one fishing.
In Mexico they name this fowl the “Cinnamon Eagle”, Águila Canela.
I by no means did handle a photograph of the Olive-throated Parakeets that flew overhead, my lifer #6 for the day. However the #7 Sofa’s Kingbirds had been extra useful. This species is almost similar to the Tropical Kingbirds that may be seen and heard in every single place in tropical Mexico. However their decrease, raspier calls left little doubt that these had been Sofa’s. Rolando was additionally enthusiastic about this discover.
On the best way to Jonuta Highway, Rolando knowledgeable me that on this area, Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures are frequent, however Turkey Vultures are uncommon. Go determine! I want I might have gotten a great picture, however… Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures look identical to Turkey Vultures, until you get a close-up of their head. Which I didn’t get. I might present you a terrific picture from Acapulco, however that will be dishonest.
Japanese Meadowlarks sang from many fenceposts. They actually are usually not uncommon birds, however they do know tips on how to pose for his or her portrait!
Our one Tropical Mockingbird for the day most popular to decide on a dramatic stance for his portrait.
The absence of white wing patches confirms that this Mockingbird is Tropical, not Northern.
On a visit to Veracruz state a few years in the past, we noticed a number of Fork-tailed Flycatchers. However you’ll be able to by no means see too many Fork-tailed Flycatchers.
For sure, I had a spectacular expertise with my good friend/information. Rolando Chávez is a lawyer and accountant, however in his “spare time”, he does function knowledgeable birding information, utilizing his wonderful command of the English language. Click on on his title right here to contact him. Or yow will discover him in Instagram at rchavezdm. In the event you go to Villahermosa, do look him up!
Subsequent week: our even higher expertise in a Tabasco jungle.