Day 1: Arrival and Orientation
Our Western Mexico birding tour begins with arrival in Guadalajara, where our tour leader(s) will meet you and the group will be transferred to our hotel. Night in Guadalajara.
Days 2-4: Ciudad Guzmán
We bird on our drive to the city of Ciudad Guzmán and spend the next two days exploring the many different habitats of this marvelous area. We bird the twin volcanoes of the Volcán de Fuego (Volcano of Fire, and still steaming) and the Volcán de Nieve (Volcano of Ice) and the adjacent agricultural lands. The rich, dense forests on the volcano’s slopes are home to some great birds, such as Dwarf Vireo, Long-tailed Wood-Partridge, Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo, and Red Warbler. The forests ring to the marvelous song of the Brown-backed Solitaire, an amazing singer. Mixed-species feeding flocks are often encountered, holding a rich assortment of goodies, perhaps including Gray-collared Becard, Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer or Golden-browed Warbler. Hummingbirds are well represented, and we should have an impressive list by the end of our stay here. We bird the nearby agricultural areas for Banded Quail, White-tailed Hawk, Rusty-crowned Ground-Sparrow and possible Lesser Roadrunner. We may do an optional trip to look for night birds on the first night, with the endemic Eared Poorwill being a possibility. On Day 4 we transfer to Colima where we will want to do an owling trip to look for Balsas Screech-Owl and Buff- collared Nightjar. First two nights in Ciudad Guzmán, last night in Colima.
Days 5-6: Barra de Navidad and Playa de Oro
First we drive north along the coastal plain to Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, birding at Laguna La María, Manzanillo and Manzanillo airport marshes on the way. From Barra de Navidad, we will also bird the tropical deciduous forest and beach at Playa de Oro, and the tropical semi-deciduous forest at Barranca el Choncho. In these places, we may find Flammulated Flycatcher, Red-breasted Chat, Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Fan-tailed Warbler, San Blas Jay, Happy and Sinaloa Wrens, and Orange-breasted Bunting. Nights in Barra de Navidad.
Days 7-8: Rancho Primavera
We transfer to Rancho Primavera, a lodge in the foothill town of El Tuito, for a two-night stay. Accommodations are comfortable and food is excellent. Species around the lodge include Collared Forest-Falcon, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Mottled Owl, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Plain-capped Starthroat, Masked Tityra, Rosy Thrush-Tanager and Black-vented Oriole. Nearby woodlands host Pale-billed and Lineated Woodpeckers, Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, Colima Pygmy-Owl, Rufous-capped Warbler, Nutting’s Flycatcher, Long-billed (Mexican) Hermit and more. We will have a second chance to look for Eared Poorwill near the lodge. Nights at Rancho Primavera
Day 9: Tepic
We leave Rancho Primavera to drive to Tepic, near where we will look for Military Macaws and a large variety of highland and mid-elevation birds including Tufted Flycatcher, Bright-rumped Attila, Greater Pewee and the rare Mexican Woodnymph. Night in Tepic.
Days 10-12: San Blas area
During our two days in the San Blas area, we visit the mangroves and lowland wetlands for wading birds such as Bare-throated Tiger-heron, Boat-billed Heron, maybe Rufous-necked Wood-Rail, as well as Northern Potoo and Mangrove Cuckoo, and the plantations, palm and thorn forests for a wealth of species including several endemics including Rufous-bellied Chachalaca, Mexican Parrotlet, San Blas and Purplish-backed Jays, Golden-cheeked Woodpecker, Golden Vireo, Rufous-backed Robin (there are two “races” here, one of which, Grayson’s Robin, is a potential split found nowhere else on the mainland), Orange-fronted Parakeet, Black-throated Magpie-Jay and Stripe-headed Sparrow. Nights in San Blas.
Day 13: Departure
We will transfer to the Puerto Vallarta Airport, where our tour ends.