Mexico – Nonbirding Trip… (ok, I managed a little bit of birding)

Species seen while vacationing at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya in Playa Paraiso in the Yucatan Peninsula…

Birds with an asterik are Lifebirds….

  1. Yucatan Jays*
  2. Green Jays*
  3. Plain Chachalaca
  4. Cinnimon Hummingbird*
  5. Great Kiskadee*
  6. Social Flycatcher*
  7. Golden-fronted Woodpecker*
  8. Couch’s Kingbird*
  9. Tropical Kingbird*
  10. White-eyed Vireo
  11. Yellow-throated Warbler
  12. American Redstart
  13. Clay-colored Thrush (Robin)*
  14. Tropical Mockingbird
  15. Great-tailed Grackle
  16. Melodious Blackbird*
  17. Altamira Oriole*
  18. Hooded Oriole*
  19. Gray Catbird
  20. Magnificant Frigatebird
  21. Royal Tern
  22. Brown Pelican
  23. Sanderling
  24. Ruddy Turnstone
  25. Willet
  26. Laughing Gull
  27. Eurasion collared Dove*
  28. Yucatan Woodpecker*
  29. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (calling 4/7 nights in wooded area near my building)*
  30. Yucatan Vireo*
  31. Common Black Hawk*
  32. Orchard Oriole
  33. Mangrove Vireo*
  34. Yellow-backed Oriole*
  35. Orange Oriole*
  36. Snowy Egret
  37. Great Egret
  38. Black Vulture
  39. Turkey Vulture

The Iberostar Paraiso Maya is located in the Yucatan Peninsula about 40 minutes south of Cancun.. My wife and I were there in 2005 right after the hurricane… It was almost as if the Hurricane killed off all of the birds… it was a birding ghost town… so this time, when we decided to go and take the boys, we did not know if there would be much to see.. I left my nice camera equipment at home… With luggage for 4 I did not want to worry about it… So I was left to using my Iphone for any pictures… So please excuse the quality…

The pictures below are  a Cinnamon Hummingbird that I found inside the building near the front lobby… He must have buzzed inside when someone left a door open… I was heading out the door to go back to the pool area when I noticed this little guy violently flying into the windows trying to get back outside… I cupped him in my hand, took a couple of pics and released him outside…. He was perfectly fine as he flew off….


Our building was located in between our resort and the Iberostar Grand next door…. It was a heavily wooded corridor and it made for some nice balcony birding… Every morning the “mob” of Yucatan Jays would come by for some fruit or corn flakes… whatever we had on hand… They were hilarious.. not afraid of us at all… The same could not be said for the Green Jays that would hide in the top of the trees and then swoop in for a quick visit and then be gone again…. Below is a video of the Jays and of a Magnificent Frigatebird soaring over my head on the beach… They were very cool to watch every day…


Ok, the most annoying bird song of all time has to be the plain Chachalcha…. We came across several of them in a tree in one of the courtyards, and they were all singing (?)…. Like nails on a chalk board…..


All in all, a great time with family and 20 new life birds for me… I enjoyed my daily walk around the 4 resorts… (if you stay at the Maya, you can use all 4).. These are very lush and highly forested resorts… the outer edge of the Iberostar Del Mar was the best….





Interesting Day

Headed out at dawn before work… I figured that I would run by Wolcott Mills Metropark and see If I could find a Pileated Woodpecker… As soon as I pulled up, I hear one call in the distance… I pulled out my binoculars and found it on a tree across from the entrance to the park off of Kuntsman Rd…. I snapped a couple of long distance shots and moved closer… It took off into the park and was not seen again… There were also a couple of Hairy Woodpeckers, Brown Creepers and some Golden-crowned Kinglets about…

From there I head toward Wetzel as it was in the direction of I-94 (my route to work)… I was hoping to see something…. maybe a shrike, maybe a Ring-necked Pheasant…. Yep, as luck would have it, there was a Rooster, Ring-necked Pheasant feeding in a field off of Omo Rd…. Not so common these days… that’s too bad… but Wetzel still holds a few…

On the Way down 27 mi Rd I took a detour up to 28 and Frost Rd and was going to see if I could find the Rough-legged Hawk that I had seen a few weeks before by Wetzel… Instead I found an Adult intermediate-morph Western Red-tailed Hawk or Rufous Morph sitting on top of a Telephone pole munching… I thought it was a Rough-legged at first, but the red tail was visible when it flew…. I came back later in the day before dark and it was still hanging around, but it was in the landfill area and inaccessible and so I could not get a close up photo…. I will be going back…. very cool looking Hawk…

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker


A good yard bird – Northern Harrier

I was sitting at my back door-wall today looking out at my feeders.. I have large flocks of Tree Sparrows, Juncos and Goldfinches… I was going to photograph the American Tree Sparrows because I was bored and I like there two toned bills… All of a sudden the birds all take off and what floats right thru my yard… A Northern Harrier…. It surprised me at first and then I aimed my camera at it and shot as it moved on thru… It circled around one more time before taking off…. I get them in the fields behind my house only in the winter time and mostly in February…. This is the first one this year….

Addendum: I received an email from Allen Chartier and I thought this was very interesting and informative.. Thanks Allen! “Did you happen to notice that the outer five primaries, and all the secondaries, are gray (recently replaced) while the inner five primaries are old and brown? This is what the Pyle guide (the one banders use) calls a “molt limit” and it is very cool whenever such things are visible on free-flying birds

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier


Birding in the Snow!!

Took a run over to Broughton Rd during the storm in the early Am… I was hoping that the snow covered up the weeds in the fields and forced the Snow Buntings closer to the road… Not quite… Need about another 4 inches… The flock of Snow Buntings grew over night… There were some mixed in with the Redpolls and then there was a separate flock of 20+ birds hanging in the back of the field behind a home… I also was amazed at the 40+ Horned Larks in the field and the Lapland Longspurs (2) sitting in the field…

Around Lunch time I headed over to Kevin Rysiewski’s home… The Northern Mockingbird that he found is only a few minute walk from his house, so we headed that way…. the good news is that we saw it right away… the bad news is that we saw it land, look at us and take off as it flew right by us…. It seems to boarder the Macomb Orchard trail between 24 and 25 mile rd and when anyone gets too close, it heads into the sub that is off of shelby rd…. Second Mockingbird in the county in less than a year…. very interesting…. The photo below is a pic Kevin shot yesterday when he first found the bird…

Northern Mockingbird - Photographed by Kevin Rysiewski on 2-7-2013 on Macomb Orchard Trail

Northern Mockingbird – Photographed by Kevin Rysiewski on 2-7-2013 on Macomb Orchard Trail

Winter Wren – Wolcott Mills Metropark

As the sun was beginning to set in the sky, I headed to Wolcott Mills Metropark in Ray Twp… I have been looking for Winter Wren in a couple of spots… I like these little guys… skulkers, but full of attitude as they scold you with there little buzzy notes from under logs and in the thick of bushes… I decided to try the Mother Earth Trail at Wolcott because in the very beginning not too far from the parking lot, there are a bunch of fallen trees and brush… perfect winter habitat for these little wrens…. I found one within 3 minutes of being out of the car…. Next challenge was to photograph one in a short amount of time before shooting light was gone. He was curious of me but he would not come out into the open.. I had to finally get some shots of the wren looking through a hole in the middle of one bush….  There were some Golden Crowned Kinglets and Brown Creepers near the parking lot… I heard a Belted Kingfisher calling from the river…

This was the best photo I could get for the first 10 minutes of this skulking Winter Wren

This was the best photo I could get for the first 10 minutes of this skulking Winter Wren