Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Puerto Penasco, (Rocky Point), Mexico - Part 1

I was privileged to have the opportunity to travel to Puerto Penasco, Mexico this past weekend with some dedicated birders.  This small resort town of about 50,000 lies about 1 hour south of the Arizona border with Mexico on the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California.  The Sea of Cortez is a long extension of the Pacific Ocean that is enclosed by Baja California on the west and mainland Mexico on the east.  My traveling companions were Claudia, Susie, Pat, Jeanne, Sue, and Marilyn and together we got to see and observe many birds and ourselves dined on some great cuisine.  Personally, I came away with 7 new life birds and I know a couple others that scored more than that.

The first day we concentrated our search near downtown and the fishing docks.  For me one of the most exciting finds were the Brown and Blue-footed Boobies.  These birds are known for following the fishing boats into the harbor and the distance out in the water was a bit of a challenge for my camera, however I managed to at least capture photos of the 2 species for identification purposes.

Blue-footed Booby

Brown Booby

Brown Booby

One of the most numerous birds, other than gulls, were the Brown Pelicans and some were even showing their very colorful breeding plumage.  One of my photos captured a Brown Pelican, a Blue Footed Booby and an unknown gull taking part in a feeding frenzy.

Unknown gull, Blue-footed Booby, & Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican - adult

As mentioned earlier, the gulls out numbered all other birds and the most common gull was the Ring-billed Gull, which is shown below.  Also along the docks we were able to locate a Yellow-footed Gull, and a juvenile Heerman's Gull, most likely a 2nd year bird.  Gulls can be extremely difficult to identify for various reasons, which I don't have space for on this post.  But they sparked many a lively discussions among us.

Ring-billed Gull

 Yellow-footed Gull

Heerman's Gull

In the afternoon we found our rental house which was situated on Cholla Bay and immediately started seeing shore birds.  Some of those that we found before dusk were Long-billed Curlews, Marbled Godwits, Whimbrels, Black-bellied Plovers and a lot of Willets.  The tide schedule greatly influences where birds may gather.  Notice the extreme differences of the bill shape of the first 3 species below.

 Long-billed Curlew

Marbled Godwit



Black-bellied Plover

Part 2 will consist of more incredible discoveries that were made on Sunday.


1 comment:

  1. Nice shots Gordon. It's so neat to have a great beach n' birding get-a-way so close by. I must admit, the lack of being able to count the stuff on an ABA list is a deterrent for me, but it looks really nice, especially when you've got a whole caravan of bird nerds heading out with your! Crazy times...

    If you don't mind my saying so, I think you might have a Willet in your second-to-last photo.