Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Baja Sur: Todos Santos (Part two)

Birding around Todos Santos never got old.  There was plenty to see near our Airbnb and plenty to see if we drove just outside of town.  One afternoon we walked back down to the beach before sunset and caught up with some fun birds.

Hooded Orioles were ridiculously common



 Gray Thrashers were also super easy to find

 Lizard

 It's not every day you see a kid wearing your favorite team's shirt:


 In the spot where we had seen a pile of Xantus's Hummingbirds a couple days earlier we instead found a bossy male Costa's.


When we arrived at the beach we saw bunch of folks lined up for the release of sea turtle hatchlings by Tortugueros Las Playitas.  They incubate thousands of the sea turtle eggs every year and when they hatch they release them at sunset on the beach.  I had thought it was only Pacific leatherback sea turtles but on their website I learned they do the same for Olive Ridley and Black sea turtles that also nest on Todos Santos beaches.

At least 14 hatchlings released that evening

 First taste of ocean!

There were only about 20-30 people watching the release that evening compared to the much larger group we saw a few days earlier:

People love tiny sea turtles

As we walked back a couple of night-herons flew in to La Poza and I realized they are difficult to distinguish in the dark.  I think they were Black-crowned.

Foot not fully projected beyond tail... I think... 

Back at The Hideaway this giant spider was lurking next to the fridge:


We did a little exploring just outside of Todos Santos where Crested Caracaras adorned many of the cacti.


They also flushed from the side of the road all the time as they looked for dead stuff.


One afternoon we drove south and took the dirt road to Punta Lobos.  It was fairly hot and the birds were pretty quiet but it was a cool spot with potential.


There was a cluster of half-finished buildings across the road from Hotel San Cristóbal, a fancy hotel where the cheapest room appears to be $445 per night.  That's US dollars, NOT pesos. 

We climbed up the hill behind that building and this was the view:

 Fancy hotel in middle.  

 Our last morning in Mexico we decided to return to this area and see if we could find any of the desert birds we had missed so far. 


American Kestrel, one of the most common birds in Baja

Along the dirt road that leads to Punta Lobos there is a flat hiking trail that passes lots of quality habitat.


Pretty sure this is a female Lazuli Bunting (we saw a male nearby)


Gray Flycatcher


California Gnatcatcher (my 7th and final lifer of the trip!)


Poor shot of the underside of the tail to confirm


The far more common Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 


Ash-throated Flycatcher


 Northern Cardinal


Pyrrhuloxia

This area was really hopping with birds and it took much effort to drag ourselves away to head to our next destination.  We left the desert without ever finding a Phainopepla or Harris's Hawk, two birds that seemed abundant in Baja.  Even still, we added some good trip birds here and it was well worth the visit.



 That's it from Todos Santos, only one more Baja post to come!  Good times!!!!

5 comments:

  1. Nice CAGN pic! Better than I've ever done. A strong lifer.

    WTF there is a pinche hotel on the beach at Punta Lobos now?! Gross. That wasn't there when I was there. We liked Punta Lobos - frigatebirds would come in super low to try and score scraps from the panga fishermen. Also had GRVI and VABU near the beach on the access road - I'm sure they took out a bunch of nice scrub habitat for that hotel.

    We didn't see any HAHA either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, that's a bummer that the hotel is so new. That area was super birdy along the access road but we kinda avoided the beach/hotel area.

      I stalked that gnatcatcher like a maniac and managed only a couple in focus shots out of a hundred or so.

      Delete
  2. Wow the hotel is way out of my league. Congrats on the 7 lifers!! That spider...oh no!!! He would have to vamous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That hotel is out of most people's leagues. Completely disgusting. I liked the spider though I was glad he was nowhere near the bed.

      Delete
  3. I love that there are birds on cactus!

    And congrats on all the new birds!

    ReplyDelete