YAVAROS, SONORA APRIL 13, 2018

No trip to Sonora is complete without a serious estuary excursion. And Bahia Yavaros offers just that. An enormous horseshoe shaped bay, Yavaros is a haven for both wintering and migratory coastal species. Coming from El Fuerte that morning, we arrived in time for lunch at Benny's, a restaurant that backs onto estuary mudflats and mangroves. A great mix of gulls, herons, egrets and sandpipers are up close and personal. From the subtle but striking blues and purples of the Little Blue Heron to the overtly dazzling pinks and reds of the Roseate Spoonbill, this location is a most welcome palette for any birder or photographer. We even had the chance to compare winter plumaged Long-billed Dowitchers with their breeding plumaged Short-billed cousins.

Out on the edge of the sprawling mudflats after lunch, we viewed the gamut of shorebirds from diminutive Wilson's Plovers scurrying near the high tide line to the majestic Long-billed Curlews working the mudflats. Always a possibility at this season at Yavaros, the migrating Knots did not disappoint. Unfortunately in steep decline, these mid sized sandpipers still show along the Pacific coast of Sonora. Although most of the 35 individuals we viewed were still in drab winter plumage, a handful had already molted into the bright orange breasts of their breeding plumage. What a treat! Overhead, we were accompanied by Mangrove Swallows and a lone Gull-billed Tern put in an appearance. More distant on the flats were hundreds of Marbled Godwits, fattening up on the largesse of this estuary in preparation for their journey to the prairie provinces of the Great Plains. Amazing some of the journeys our winged cousins make.

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