Saturday, March 24, 2018

Birding Puerto Vallarta

Birding in Mexico: Puerto Vallarta and around
October 2015

Birding is a kind of recreation that is spreading as a pastime, and I am happy about this. I have been an avid birder since I was 12 years old so, I've seen changes in America and Europe. One thing that does not change is the pull of exotic locations. And because field guides and the Internet now provide easy ways to identify and record birds (see ebird), birding in the tropics has never been better. 

This quick show records our wanderings around Puerto Vallarta at the time of Hurricane Patricia in October 2015 (11 day visit). We stayed mostly at Playa Las Gemelas ('bout 8 Km south of PV) and also spent two nights at San Blas. Much of the trip was spend applying a new assessment method for landscape (LAP protocol) - but we do not show this here. We concentrate on places and the birds...

Highly recommended. 


Near Playa Las Gemelas, we stayed at the Best Western (50 euros per night equivalent; amazing locale).


Yelapa (easy boat ride to the south).
Yelapa river.

Tiny tourist hamlet on boat trip to Yelapa.

Boat launch for trip to Yelapa.

Felt safe in Mexico.

On a random look-out to do the LAP on the road to Guadalajara (near San Sebastian). The taxi driver who guided us was from Chicago.
San Sebastian had a quasi-Mediterranean montane climate that even had guava trees in full fruit - we ate lots. Felt very comfortable here.

Bus travel is the best way to move around and very cheap.
We travelled on many public buses; only one had recent bullet-holes. We also hitch-hiked once and we took many taxis (it was off-season so bartering gave us an edge).
San Sabastian, fashionable place to visit. And the pine cloud forests around it are exotic-looking. Amazing.
In a squatters hamlet near San Blas. Vasso is assessing the landscapes, the Taxi driver is guiding us. 
The buses are old but are suited for tourism use (and with anglicized titles). This one stopped for us towards from the Jardin Botanico to El Tuito; on the way back to Vallarta we hitched on to a very fast modern bus (nightmare speed...).
Jardin Botanico.

El Tuito village, well worth the trip (buy local bus).
Best view. Near Tepic far from San Blas. Waiting for the Macaws. Unforgettable.

Vasso walks the rain forest trail in Jardin Botanico in slippers - then a fire ant bit her...

Chencho with his lovely Indian eyes is the best guide in the boat trip of the La Tovara mangroves, he showed us many birds, including a fantastic squirrel cuckoo. The day after Hurricane Patricia we where the only clients left in San Blas.
Vasso with the Huichol natives who are famous for their art and religion. They come down to San Blas to sell small things.


Yellow-crowned night-heron at the Rio Cuale inside Puerto Vallarta.
Great and Snowy egrets with a wood stork at the Gulf Course near the Airport of Puerto Vallarta.

Tri-colored Heron, Yelapa.

Black vultures, Yelapa.

Heerman's Gull, Mismaloya.

Black tern, Mismaloya.
Yellow-winged cacique, Playa Las Gemelas.

Limpkin, San Blas.

Northern Potoo, San Blas.

Grey Hawk, San Blas.

Masked Tityra at El Tuito.

San Blas Jay, Playa Las Gemelas.

"Garza canella" the boat-billed heron at San Blas.

Neotropic cormorant at the Rio Cuale inside Puerto Vallarta.

Cinammon hummingbird, Playa Las Gemelas.

Rufous-bellied chachalaca in the upper suburbs of Puerto Vallarta. Its common! 

I must say that all these photos were snap-shots from two very cheap cameras; birds were very tame in Mexico. For information on the bird photos in this post check e-bird account at: zogaris