Tuesday, February 4, 2014

MexiCrush 2014

Once again, it has been too long. I have been remiss in my duties. You have missed me dearly. I have visited so many places since we last spoke. From the most Northern borders of the great state of California to the Southernmost point of Baja California Sur. I have Lifered (three times in Baja). I have Big Yeared (~420 in CA 2013). I have Crushed (too many to count).

In this chapter, I bring you Crushes from south of the border.

Blue-footed Booby, Estero Agiabampo. Sonora, Mexico. Several thousand breed on a tiny island in the estuary called Bird Island.

Curve-billed Thrasher sporting some jewelry, compliments of Adam Hannuksela at Navopatia Field Station.

Streak-backed Oriole, Pedregal Nature Lodge and Retreat Center in Alamos. Sonora, Mexico. I admit, I wish I had Crushed this guy a little harder.

Sultry and I spent the first half of the trip in Sonora, Mexico. If you ever get the chance to spend some winter time down there, DO IT. The two places I have visited are Epic in the extreme:

1) Alamos Wildlands Alliance is a remote field station on Estero Agiabampo, where desert thorn-scrub habitat meets mangroves and the Sea of Cortez. It is run by the nicest couple in Biology, Adam and Sallie. Birding here is ridiculous, and the camp is more fun than I can explain. You can kayak with dolphins, see 170+ bird species on a Big Day, and eat earth-shattering Mexican food prepared by Lupita (the best cook in Mexico). Check out their spot:


2) The town of Alamos is an old Colonial style town with hella worthwhile buildings, restaurants, and Birding. If you go, stay with Jen and Dave at El Pedregal Nature Lodge and Retreat Center. They have the best birding in town. Blue Mockingbird visits the bird bath. Black-throated Magpie-Jays, Black-vented and Streak-backed Orioles, and Summer Tanagers are carelessly littered throughout the grounds. Violet-crowned Hummingbirds sing incessantly every morning from every tree. Dave does birding tours of the area and is the best guide in Mexico. He might even fire up the wood-burning pizza oven for you. Their place is a must see if you plan any kind of birding trip in Sonora.


All of the above Crushes are from mainland Mexico, and all of the Crushes below are from Baja (nearly all from the town of Todos Santos). If for some bizarre reason, you haven't already seen Felonious Jive's reports from this Epic and Ragey area, please do so here. Or, for his second installment, right here.

There are no words to describe Lifer Hummingbirds. This one is a Xantus's Hummingbird and is epically good to gaze upon, and to Crush. 
Gray Thrasher. Another stunner from Baja only.

Gray Thrasher, Todos Santos, Baja California Sur.

Not the Crushiest of Yellow-footed gulls, because I wanted the whole bird in frame. If you want to see how Crushed he is, zoom in on his face yourself.

MoonFrigates. Moon Crushing is an entirely different offshoot of the sport of Crushing. It has its own unique set of rules and regulations. It is not for the faint of heart.

Gilded Flicker, Todos Santos, Baja California Sur.

Cactus Wren, Baja California Sur. Crushed in low light.

Something like a Swallow-tailed Skipper? I don't have the right book with me, as usual. Someone help me out. In any case, it is Crushed.

Moon Crush at night.

Magnificent Frigatebird, bathing in the freshwater lagoon at sunset.

Another Magnificent Frigatebird, doing the same thing.
Hope you enjoyed, Crush Fans. Until next time, I bid you adieu.