Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Arrived in San Cristóbal

Hector and I arrived in San Cristóbal yesterday, and were shown three of the five Golden-cheeked Warbler sites here: Moxviquil, Huitepec and Laguna del Coche. These sites looked promising indeed: in the middle and arboreal layers we noticed plenty of oak of various species. Pronatura Chiapas has been monitoring these sites for GCWA for many years, and as we walked around, it became pretty obvious to me that this must be prime wintering habitat for this species.

That said, we didn’t encounter it today.

We weren’t looking for flocks so much as for access points to the sites, so the fact that we didn’t see a Golden-cheeked Warbler today for me was OK. We only spent some time on one flock, which had Hermit Warblers, Townsend’s Warblers, a Blue-headed Vireo, a Crescent-chested Warbler, a Slate-throated Redstart, a Greater Pewee, several Tufted Flycatchers and a bunch of Common Bush-Tanagers. It probably had more flock members, we only looked through this flock for 15-20 minutes.

I was quite excited when I found a Pink-headed Warbler in this flock! On the ride in, our guide Javier of Pronatura Chiapas had asked me what bird I most wanted to see here – besides a goldencheek of course. Well, Pink-headed Warbler! Yes, Javier said, all birders that visit here always want to see that bird. But they’re not easy to find.

Nice then to find it on the very first day. It is in the same genus with Red Warbler, and like that bird it is quite restricted in its range. While Hector and I were admiring the beauty of this Pink-headed Warbler, we heard Javier call out from a little further. When we got to where he was, he proudly pointed us in the direction of another Pink-headed Warbler. I hope I didn’t sound too jaded when I replied that I had just seen one.

The housing at the Pronatura Moxviquil field station is quite nice, with a beautiful little courtyard garden frequented by many hummingbirds, including the White-eared Hummingbird feeding in the last light of day, pictured above. I think I will like it here.

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