LAGOS DE MONTEBELLO
Best Time for visit (13th December 2006 to 12th January 2007)
Birding Site Guide
Once again it was nearing dark when we reached Tsizcao where we checked into the “Pino Feliz” (150 pesos for a double, place has hot water). Here we spent a quiet New Year’s Eve with a young couple from Quebec.
January 1: bad weather at the Lagos de Montebello: Saw us getting up with heavy cloud cover, wind and rain. Not a good start for the year. Between the weather, the almost completed habitat destruction in the region and the fact that the whole of Mexico seemed to be on vacation near the lakes it’s amazing we saw any birds at all.
This is one place where Howell is completely outdated. There is no trace of cloud forest left anywhere near the lakes themselves. Even a lot of the humid pine-oak forest has been cleared. In fact your best bet for finding any forest in the region is heading several hours drive south along the Frontera road back in the direction of Frontera where the mountain slopes you cross on the way to the lakes are still well covered in forest.
Even so, there still are some birds about. A patch of pine-oak forest held a flock of Unicolored Jays, a single wet and bedraggled Azure-crowned Hummingbird and some Band-backed Wrens. When checking out some stands of trees near one of the lakes we found another flock of Unicolored Jays, accompanied by a family group of band-backed wrens (finally showing really well), and 3 Audubon’s Orioles of the “dickey’s” subspecies, which according to the field guide were well out of their normal range.
A walk through a forest patch along the lake on the Guatemalan border netted us 4 Green-throated Mountain-gems.
A late afternoon visit to the Chinkultic ruins netted us lots of Eastern Bluebirds in the fields on the way in, and a single (out of range) Northern Shoveler, but nothing else.
- Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
- American Coot Fulica americana americana
- Azure-crowned Hummingbird Amazilia cyanocephala cyanocephala
- Green-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis viridipallens
- Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
- Strong-billed Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus
- Spotted Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus erythropygius
- Band-backed Wren Campylorhynchus zonatus
- Brown-backed Solitaire Myadestes occidentalis
- Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
- Greater Pewee Contopus pertinax
- Unicoloured Jay Aphelocoma unicolor
- Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
- Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
- Audubon's Oriole Icterus graduacauda
- Common Bush-Tanager Chlorospingus ophthalmicus
For a full Excel species trip list please contact the authors: