Sunday, 19 March 2017

Bird watching the Yucatan (Feb 22nd - 9th March) - Chichen Itza

I wanted to visit Chichen Itza to see the Mayan ruins. Just by chance there happens to be a rather nice hotel adjacent to the ruins that not only has extensive gardens but also a wild life reserve.

We arrived late afternoon where we were taken to our room - a rather nice detached chalet in the midst of the gardens:

Hacienda Chichen Itza

Our chalet.....and me on look-out

View from our chalet
After unpacking Angie settled down in the hammock and I had a quick look round the gardens and area immediately outside the hotel to see what I could find.
On the grass just outside the main building I found golden fronted woodpecker, clay coloured thrush, got a glimpse of a group of  plain chacalacas, white fronted parrots plus some really tame sociable flycatchers. High in the trees near the entrance to the ruins a couple of  Canivet's emeralds were feeding on the blossom.

Clay-coloured thrush

Canivet's emerald

Moving on I found turquoise-browed motmot, altamira oriole and melodious blackbird. Also around were kiskadee and a magnolia warbler but I'd seen these already at the coast.

Turquoise-browed motmot
Altamira Oriole

The second day I went out in the morning at first light, did another circuit after breakfast with Angie and did a final round late afternoon. Overall the birding was a bit of a disappointment - I'd possibly built up my expectations too much - always dangerous. The garden whilst very pretty didn't have any areas of flowing plants to bring the hummingbirds down from the trees, a lot of the planting around the garden was of palms (both tall and short)  and  there were few shrubs for the small stuff.  I did find one of the tracks into the nature reserve but this was quite narrow, more like a tunnel through the trees making birding a little challenging and everywhere outside the garden itself (which was copiously watered every night) was parched with a lot of the trees and scrub being devoid of leaves.

Those comments not withstanding notable additions to the holiday list were blue-crowned motmot, masked tityra, blue bunting, hooded warbler, yellow-throated euphonia, golden olive woodpecker, American redstart (female), yellow-bellied sapsucker (female), wedge-tailed sabrewing, squirrel cuckoo and common black hawk.

Blue-crowned motmot

Masked tityra

Blue bunting

Golden-olive woodpecker (from the chalet terrace)

Ivory-billed woodcreeper with one big bug.

Yellow-winged tanager

Summer tanager (female)

Squirrel cuckoo
Yellow-throated euphonia
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (female) 
Wedge-tailed sabrewing
Common black hawk

The list looks somewhat better now than it did at the time. !

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