Day 1- Arrival and Orientation
Our Southern Mexico birding tour begins with arrival in Veracruz, where our tour leader(s) will meet you for dinner. Night in Veracruz.
Day 2 - Veracruz wetlands/grasslands to Tuxtepec
After breakfast we leave the hotel, driving through extensive grasslands and wetlands in central Veracruz while generally making our way to Tuxtepec in northwestern Oaxaca. On our way we shall see many tropical land and waterbirds such as Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Double-striped Thick-knee, Rufous-breasted Spinetail and Fork-tailed Flycatcher, especially in and near Alvarado.
After lunch in Tuxtepec, we will bird an area a short distance away that has a very high bird diversity, but our main target will be the very hard to find Sumichrast’s Wren. Other birds we will probably encounter include Red-legged Honeycreeper and Montezuma’s Oropendola, with their interesting colonial nest trees.Night in Tuxtepec.
Day 3 - Drive to Oaxaca
We have a pre-dawn departure this morning. Much of today is devoted to driving to the city of Oaxaca. We bird along the way, seeing quite a variety of species in the numerous habitats we traverse. On cloud forest slopes we may see Unicolored Jays, Bumblebee Hummingbird, Slate-colored Solitaires and Blue-crowned Chlorophonia, and, as we near Oaxaca, in the humid pine-oak forest at La Cumbre, we can expect to see birds such as Red Warbler, Crescent-chested Warbler, Painted Redstart, Slate-throated Redstart, Tufted Flycatcher, Gray Silky, Gray-barred Wren, Yellow-eyed Junco and others while we search for the rare Dwarf Jay, which is found nowhere else in Mexico. Night in Oaxaca.
Days 4 and 5 - Oaxaca
The pine woodland, subtropical scrub and tropical dry forests within 45 minutes drive of Oaxaca possess nearly one third of Mexico’s endemic bird species. We allow ample time to search for most of these in the foothills and mountains east of the city and at nearby sites in the Interior Valley of Oaxaca such as at Teotitlán del Valle and Yagul. We also spend part of an afternoon enjoying the weaving and dyeing demonstration by Zapotec weavers in Teotitlán del Valle.
In the foothills, expected birds include Dusky and Berylline Hummingbirds, while we specifically search for Oaxaca Sparrow and three endemic species of vireos: Dwarf, Golden and Slaty Vireos. With luck, we may also find Ocellated Thrasher and Pileated Flycatcher. Nights in Oaxaca.
Day 6 - Huatulco
Today we drive south over the Sierra Madre del Sur and down to the coastal city of Huatulco. Along the way we make several stops to break up the journey and look for additional Mexican endemics such as Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo, White-throated Jay, Blue-capped Hummingbird and Red-headed Tanager. Night in Huatulco.
Day 7 and 8 - Arriaga
We leave Huatulco early, driving the long distance toward Arriaga in the state of Chiapas. We will have a picnic breakfast and lunch at a restaurant in Juchitan, and we make several birding spots on the way. Species we are likely to encounter include Citreoline Trogon, Orange-fronted Parakeet, Russet-crowned Motmot, Blue-footed Booby, Orange-breasted Bunting, Cinnamon-tailed Sparrow, and many shorebirds including Collared Plover. In the Arriaga area, we look for endemic and near-endemic species such as Giant Wren and Rose-bellied (Rosita’s) Bunting. Nights near Arriaga.
Days 9 and 10 - Tuxtla Gutiérrez
After breakfast we spend the day travelling to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, stopping along the way at several birding spots, inluding a sinkhole where dozens of Green Parakeets roost. Our stay at Tuxtla Gutiérrez will include a visit to the spectacular Sumidero Canyon, where we will seek such sought-after species as Belted and Flammulated Flycatchers, Red-breasted Chat, Bar-winged Oriole, and with luck the rare Slender Sheartail. Nights in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
Day 11 - Nava’s Wren and San Cristóbal de las Casas
Before heading to San Cristóbal de las Casas, we visit a special site where Nava’s Wren occurs. Our leader Hector Gomez de Silva was involved in rediscovering this bird and having it classified as a separate species. Few people other than participants of Eagle-Eye Tours have ever seen this species so close to a major city (other sites for this species require a mini-expedition to reach). After lunch we climb into the highlands of Chiapas, where, near the folkloric San Cristóbal de las Casas, we see several new species including Rufous-collared Thrush (Robin) and Rufous-collared Sparrow. Birding in pine forests, we may see some of the following species: Amethyst-throated and White-eared Hummingbirds, Black-capped Swallow, White-naped Brush-finch, the blue-chested, southern form of the Steller’s Jay, Rufous-browed Wren, and, if we are very fortunate indeed, Pink-headed Warbler, Black-throated Jay and/or Unspotted Saw-whet Owl. Night in San Cristóbal de las Casas.
Days 12 and 13 - Palenque
After looking again for Pink-headed Warbler near San Cristóbal, we head toward Palenque, an outstanding archaeological site surrounded by luxuriant rain forest in land that belonged to the Mayas. Hundreds of bird species can be found in this area, among which we can expect to see Long-billed Hermit, Masked Tityra, Red-capped Manakin, Montezuma’s Oropendola and several species of trogons, parrots, tropical tanagers, wrens, flycatchers and more. Nights in Palenque.
Day 14 – Usumacinta marshes
Leaving Palenque we drive through grasslands and marshes near Emiliano Zapata and Villahermosa. We will be looking for a number of interesting birds including Double-striped Thick-knee, Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Plain-breasted Ground-Dove and Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture. Night in Villahermosa.
Day 15 - Departure From Villahermosa
Our Southern Mexico birding tour concludes today. Breakfast is available at our hotel in Villahermosa, but you are free to leave anytime today.