Day 1 - Our tour begins this afternoon in the lovely city of Oaxaca, and we plan on doing a litting birding before heading for dinner, for those who have arrived. The local botanical gardens will offer us the chance to search for some of our first Mexican birds, and we hope to find Dusky and Berryline hummingbirds, Gray-breasted Woodpecker, Yellow-headed Parrot, and Gray Silky-Flycatcher to name just a few species. After dinner, we will settle in to our lodgings in Oaxaca and get some rest ahead of the day to come.
Day 2 - Our morning's adventures will beging at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Monte Alban Archaeological Site. We will look for Mexican endemics like Pileated Flycatcher, Golden Vireo, Boucard's Wren and Ocellated Thrasher, to name a few species, as we explore the site. With a little luck, the elusive Lesser Roadrunner might pop into view.
After lunch, we will explore the charming historic district of Oaxaca City. We will be near our hotel, so if you'd rather take a break, you will have that option as well. A little later on in the afternoon, we will explore a road into the mountains north of the city. Here, the habitat is made up of semi-arid oak and thorn scrub, excellent for Oaxaca Sparrow, an endemic with a very limited range within Oaxaca. In addition to the sparrow, we will look for Slaty and Dwarf vireos, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Bridled Sparrow, Elegant Euphonia, Cinnamon-rumped Seedeater and more.
After a full day's birding, we will head into Oaxaca for dinner.
Day 3 - Our morning begins with a drive of approximately an hour, to the sleepy town of Teotitlan, nestled in the foothills below the Sierra Norte mountains. The area is mostly populated by indigenous Zapotec people, and the region is well known for its beautiful textiles. Around the outskirts of Teotitlan, the thorn-scrub habitat is good for species like Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo, Botteri's and Bridled sparrows and Rose-throated Becards. Wintering warblers farmiliar to many North American birders could include Black-throated Gray Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, MacGillivray's Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Wilson's Warbler and Yellow Warbler, to name some.
After lunch in Teotitlan, we will visit a market where the region's textiles are on display. As we wander about the town, semi-common species include White-throated Towhee, Rufous-backed Robin, Boucard's Wren, and Streak-backed and Black-vented orioles. Night in Teotitlan.
Day 4 - This morning we will visit the oak-pine forest in the Sierra Norte. A number of special birds occur up here, including Collared Towhee, Dwarf Jay, Aztec Thrush and the eye-popping Red Warbler. After lunch, our explorations continue, and we'll carry on with our search for Sierra Norte birds like Chestnut-capped Brushfinch, Golden-browed Warbler, Mexican Violetear, Amethyst-throated Mountain-gem, and Mexican Chickadee. Night in Teotitlan.
Day 5 - After a delicious breakfast, we will begin the journey to San Jose del Pacifico, in the Sierra Madre Mountains. The drive takes between 3 and a half hours, so stops will be appreciated. We will pause at a workshop of local artists who produce colorful carvings called alebrijes. We should arrive at our lodge by approximately 3 PM, and we can do some birding after that. Species to be on the lookout for include the tiny Bumblebee Hummingbird, Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo, Russet Nightingale-Thrush, Crescent-chested Warbler and the elusive White-throated Jay. Night at San Jose del Pacifico.
Day 6 - We spend much of the day in the highlands, working our way south towards the coast. A few of the species we will look for around San Jose del Pacifico include Hooded Yellowthroat, Mountain Trogon, Red-headed Tanager and Chestnut-capped Brushfinch. Hummingbirds like Bumblebee Hummingbird, Amethyst-throated Hummingbird and Garnet-throated Hummingbird are also possible. If we have yet to see White-throated Jay, we can try for it this morning.
After lunch, we'll begin heading for lower elevations, in hopes of finding birds like Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer, Slate-throated Redstart, Barred Forest-Falcon, White-striped Woodcreeper, Slaty Vireo, Golden Vireo and much more. Once we're back at our lodge, we'll enjoy a delicious Oaxacan dinner before retiring for the night. Night at San Jose del Pacifico.
Day 7 - Leaving behind the cool highlights, we head for the coast today. First, we'll do a little birding near a coffee producing village called Pluma Hidalgo. The area is in the transitional zone between high elevation forest and lower elevation foothills. A few of the birds we hope for this morning include the Northern Emerald-Toucanet, Crane Hawk, Long-tailed Wood-Partridge, Black Hawk-Eagle, Bat Falcon, Rusty Sparrow, Fan-tailed Warbler and much more. Again, a variety of hummingbirds are possible, including Golden-crowned Emerald, Mexican Hermit and Green-fronted Hummingbird. Woodpeckers such as Pale-billed Woodpecker, Lineated Woodpecker and Gray-crowned Woodpecker are also found here.
After lunch at a charming restaurant in Pluma Hidalgo, we will continue on to the coast and our hotel in Santa Cruz Huatulco. After checking in, we will visit a nearby patch of forest to look for some of the more common birds of the area, such as the stunning Golden-cheeked Woodpecker, White-fronted Parrots, Orange-fronted Parakeets, White-throated Magpie-Jays, Rufous-backed Robins, Streak-backed Oriole, Blue-gray Tanager and many more.
Day 8 - Huatulco National Park, where are heading this morning, is about 15 minutes away from our lodgings, and today we will be exploring some of the trails, home to a nice variety of birds. With any luck, we'll find our targets, which include waterbirds like the beautiful Roseate Spoonbill and the mostly nocturnal Boat-billed Heron, as well as Neotropic Cormorants and Magnificent Frigatebird. Hummingbirds to watch for include the Plain-capped Starthroat, and the lovely Cinnamon Hummingbird. Everyone loves trogons, and we will look for the endemic Citreoline Trogon today, as well as the endemic Russet-crowned Motmot.
We will have lunch and then a little siesta before heading back out into the park in the afternoon to continue our search for birds and other wildlife. A few tantalizing species, such as Flammulated Flycatcher, White-lored Gnatcatcher, Rufous-naped, Happy, and Banded wrens, Red-breasted Chat and the lovely Orange-breasted Bunting. Night in Santa Cruz Huatulco.
Day 9 - Along a trail not too far from our hotel, we will search for birds this morning, hoping for a few new species before we leave the area. A few birds we might see include both Amazon and Green kingfishers, the stunning White-throated Magpie-Jay, Scrub Euphonia and the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl. En route to Juchitan de Zaragoza, we will have lunch along the way, planning to arrive at our hotel before 3 PM. After checking in and having lunch, we can do some afternoon birding at an area called La Ventosa. This location is good for two of our target species, the Cinnamon-tailed Sparrow and the gorgeous Rose-breasted Bunting, with both species being endemic to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. In addition to these two species, we will also be keeping our eyes open for Lesser Ground-Cuckoo, Banded Wren, Stripe-headed Sparrrow, Streak-backed Oriole and Green-fronted Hummingbird. Night in Juchitan de Zaragoza.
Day 10 - We'll return to La Ventosa area, where we will have more chances to see the Rose-bellied Bunting and Cinnamon-tailed Sparrow. The area is also good for another attractive seed-eating bird, the Orange-breasted Bunting. At flowering plants, we will watch for the Canivet's Emerald and Beautiful Hummingbird, two of the many hummingbird species we may see on this tour. Wintering North American birds like Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Indigo Bunting, Painted Bunting, Magnolia Warbler and Lark Sparrow can also be encountered.
After lunch at our hotel, we will begin the journey back to Huatulco, arriving in the late afternoon at La Crucerita.
Day 11 - Tour concludes this morning.