January 8, 2010
Puerto Vallarta is an amazing spot for wildlife. As I mentioned in my last post it is a prime spot for whale watching in the winter months. Year-round it is also an amazing spot for bird watching. I would in no way call myself a birder, I do not know or recognize the species, but they are still really beautiful to see in the wild and as a photographer they are definitely fun to photograph. My sister’s boyfriend, Rhys, and I went on a birding trip with Eco Tours, the same company my dad and I went whale watching with. We chose a special tour that focused on spotting and counting Military Macaws. Unfortunately because I was so sick for so much of our time in Mexico we had to postpone our birding excursion to later in the week than originally planned, and I believe the tour we ended up going on was more of a broad bird watching tour than the Military Macaw conservation tour we had signed up for. It was still a pretty amazing experience though and we were able to spot about 10 Macaws, but from very far away. Our guide was Alejandro Martinez who had great knowledge and experience and was able to spot and identify lots of beautiful birds. The trip was very relaxed driving through the Cuale Mountains and up into the Sierra Madres. It was a very relaxed environment and we were able to hop out any time we saw something rustling in the trees above us. The tour leaves early, you have to be at the office at 6:30am, but it is definitely worth it and around 9am we pulled over on the road and had a nice breakfast Eco Tours provides of juices, tea, coffee, granola and pastries. We arrived at a spot in the mountains overlooking a large canyon right as the sun was rising. After waiting for about five minutes the birds started waking up and we could hear them all around us. Alejandro took us to the perfect spot to watch the Macaws as they woke up and started flying across the canyons in pairs of two. They were flying too high to see much color, but we could hear them and see their distinctive silhouette really well. At the same time a nearby tree suddenly became alive with the sound of birds waking up and we saw Thick-billed Kingbirds, San Blas Jays, and Yellow Winged Caciques just at that first spot. Driving through the mountains we saw parakeets, woodpeckers, Elegant Trogons, flycatchers, kiskadees, egrets, hawks and more. The mountains themselves are also beautiful- it is really amazing to watch the sunrise, the whole sky turns bright pink, then the blue sky came out and layers of fog slowly rolled over the mountain tops- quite beautiful. We also had a fun encounter with a heard of donkeys running down the mountain road, being herded by a man on a very old motorcycle. Alejandro brought us to the botanical gardens after the mountains, which I do not believe was supposed to be part of the trip, but it was beautiful and fun, another great spot for birding, flowers, and butterflies- my next post will be about the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens.
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