Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

El Sumidero, Part 2

El Sumidero was so special and with better weather, we had many more birds and better photo opportunities.  Probably my most favorite bird of the day was the Barred Antshrike.  It was a bird that I had seen on the color plates of my Mexico bird guide and was fascinated by its erected crest.  It belongs to a large family of birds called Antbirds.  This bird is definitely not the most colorful, but the male's overall black and white barring is still quite spectacular in my opinion.

 Barred Antshrike

Barred Antshrike

Even though the Barred Antshrike was my personal favorite bird of the day, probably the more special bird for everyone in the group including the guide, was a Blue Seedeater.  A fairly uncommon bird who's abundance and distribution is closely tied to seeding bamboo.  The guides had scouted many of these places in advance and knew that one was in the vicinity of one of the trails we explored.  Sure enough, we were able to get it to make an appearance.  Another bird that was definitely not the most colorful, but a great bird to add to my list.

 Blue Seedeater

Blue Seedeater

We were fortunate to find a couple of species of trogons in this area as well.  This a really cool family of birds and the Elegant Trogon that is found in Arizona is probably one of, if not the most, sought after bird in AZ as no other trogons can be found in the United States and the Elegant Trogon is a breeder in southeast AZ.  But on this trip, we had a couple of other species to add to our lists; the Collared Trogon and the Gartered Trogon.  

 Collared Trogon

Gartered Trogon

One of the new hummingbirds that I was able to add to my list was Canivet's Emerald.  Emeralds are small hummingbirds that are mostly a bright emerald green with straight bills that are red, tipped with black, and tails are forked.  Canivet's Emerald male has a deeper forked tail than the female.

Canivet's Emerald

Orioles are sometimes a confusing group of birds and some can be hard to identify.  The Bar-winged Oriole is one such bird.  It reminds me of the Scott's Oriole that we have in Arizona, but there are subtle differences.  The Bar-winged Oriole has only 1 white wing bar and 1 yellow wing bar whereas the Scott's Oriole has 2 white wing bars.  The Bar-winged Oriole also has a shorter and slightly decurved bill compared to a long straight bill on Scott's Oriole.  Ranges are also quite different so it helps to know what to expect in your location.  We were lucky to add this bird to our list as well.

 Bar-winged Oriole

Bar-winged Oriole

And just like my first post on El Sumidero, we have more butterflies to add to this post.  Once again, I identified them to the best of my ability, but could use help if anyone is reading this and cares to comment on them.

 One of the Swallowtail species




Guatemalan Patch

 Mexican Silver Spot

 Red Rim

 A species of skipper

 Tropical Checkered Skipper

White-patched Skipper

It is really hard to ignore butterflies when they come in all shapes, colors, and sizes.  And some of them can prove to be a bit tricky to photograph, especially since I only have a fixed 300 mm zoom lens.  Both Chris and I liked El Sumidero so much that once all the planned trips were complete and most had departed for the states, we returned to this spot on our own.  That will be covered in a future blog post.



  1. That was a fun trek Gordon. I love all the photos but it is exhausting putting them all in order for a blog. I think the BAAN was my favorite bird of the day. But I got the sense that the Blue Seedeater was were it was at:) Plus that walk was absolutely stunning! Definitely the beginning of some "easier" and fun birding. I don't think "easier" really should be applied here. Most of these birds were difficult. Bino observation. 2 seconds. Photo opportunity. 2 seconds. Lighting. Never cooperative:) Like you say, the Orioles were difficult to ID. This one seems much easier when compared to some of these other ones that were tricky. The shades were slightly orange, to orange and it was all about the back on these birds. With the Trogons, it's all about the tail. I think I really nailed that one down this time in our observations. There are similar looking Trogons but their tails are like a bar cade and I was able to compare our Elegant Trogon to that of the Mountain, etc and see the differences. The colors were a tad different but in the shade, I couldn't tell the difference. And I think Trogons are much easier to find in places like these than our ELTR here in AZ. On every trip I've been on, they were random but vocal and seen. Trying to find one for birders needing it on their life list here in AZ is tricky!

    1. The trip to El Sumidero was mind boggling to say the least. So many birds and butterflies and better weather really contributed to the success. It has been fun to go through my photos and remember the experiences and also to recall the different birds and study them in more detail through my photos. Just about ready for another trip!