Sierra El Tuito, western Jalisco, Feb. 02, 2021

https://ebird.org/checklist/S80343553Predawn found us in the lush Sierra El Tuito on the upper edge of tropical deciduous forest. Several Crested Guans were calling loudly from the densest forest along the highway. Some Russet-crowned Motmots joined in on this medley while some light began to come over the mountains to the east. Heading down the Bioto Road, we had several flyovers of Military Macaw and a sizeable group of Lilac-crowned Parrots. Although this part of Jalisco has chunks of altered habitat, overall the habitat is still unscathed. Within the forest we encountered regulars such as Golden Vireo, Ivory-billed Woodcreeper and Elegant Trogon. Less regular sightings included Louisiana Waterthrush, Black-capped Vireo, and Boat-billed Flycatcher. Out of nowhere a Collared Forest Falcon flew in to a tree not more than 20 feet from me. We marveled at the size and markings of this normally stealthy forest raptor. Losing all track of time, I drank in what turned out to be a lengthy viewing of this seldom seen avian predator. If there is birding karma, we were surely the beneficiaries in this instance.


Further down the canyon I heard a call that I felt was the rather shy endemic Flammulated Flycatcher. After some audio coaxing, we were able to glimpse this unique denizen of west Mexico. Nearby, I was surprised to discover another west Mexico gem, a Red-breasted Chat-normally seen in drier haunts down near the coast. Continuing our descent, we came upon an impressive grove of old growth majotes, massive trees with buttress roots. Our humbled reverie at the base of these monarchs, was interrupted by a curious Mexican Hermit that paused to inspect the two-leggeds for an eternity of five seconds. Recovering from this angelic visit, we walked to the nearby creek for an impressive foraging show by a Fan-tailed Warbler.


As the morning warmed, we departed the steepest part of the road into a more checkerboard of human altered nature. In a massive fig, we were "serenaded" by an uncountable number of Mexican Parrotlets, apparently quite content. Nearby isolated patches of forest still hosted a diverse mix of species including Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush (wintering here) and Red-crowned Ant Tanager. All this in just 6 hours of birding!




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