Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico: Day 2

Our focus for the second day was going to be the Choya Bay area which is just a short drive north of the condos area and the roads are all sand.  There is a bit of a trick to birding this area to get the most bang for the buck; check the tide charts before exploring the area.  Choya Bay is a fairly shallow bay, but it is wide and covers a very large area.  The ideal time is low tide, when you can walk out into the bay and have a lot of shore birds foraging on exposed sandbars or rocks.  Expect to get your feet wet in the process, but it is so worth it as you never know what might fly in while you are wandering around.

During our visit, we found 5 species of plovers; Killdeer (which I did not photograph), Wilson's Plover, Semipalmated Plover (another one that I did not photograph), Snowy Plover, and Black-bellied Plover.  It is fun to see all these species and be able to make comparisons among them.

Wilson's Plover

 Snowy Plover

Black-bellied Plover

Of course there were many more shore birds than just plovers.  How about American Oystercatchers? They are always a favorite of mine and they look a bit bizarre, but very stunning dressed in black and white with a red bill.

 American Oystercatcher

The Willet is a very common bird in this area and when looking at one standing around on the mud or in the water, they appear to be very boring to look at in the dingy grayish-brown plumage.  However, when they take flight, it is a whole different story as they then show how flashy they really are.



Another shore bird that was in fairly high numbers was the Surfbird.  It too, shows amazing wing patterns when in flight.


Surfbirds in flight

A couple more shore birds, then we will move on to some different species.  Ruddy Turnstones were quite numerous as were Long-billed-Curlews.

 Ruddy Turnstone

Long-billed Curlew

The next bird on the list was truly an amazing experience.  As we were observing all the shore birds in and around the water, we looked up to see an incoming bird in flight, a Magnificent Frigatebird!  My first sighting of this species was in Chiapas, Mexico, last July as a couple were seen at a distance far up in the sky.  This one in Puerto Peñasco, kept flying towards us a a fairly low altitude and it was a male.  What a sight to be able to get some decent photos of this pirate of the seas.

 Magnificent Frigatebird

What a wonderful day of birds we had.  Will close out this post with a shot of a House Finch, which is not a bird that I spend a lot of time photographing as they are very common, but I liked the yellow coloration of this one instead of the more common red color.  And it just happened to take flight during my photos which created an even better photo.

House Finch

Evening presented us with a fabulous sunset in Puerto Peñasco.  A fitting close to the day.

The third and last day, which will be upcoming on my next and last post, covered a new area to explore.  



  1. Nice post and photos Mr. Gordon! I enjoyed the read and gallery of photos. Frigatebirds are pretty cool looking, but that Wilson's Plover would take the cake for me!

    1. I agree that WIPL is pretty cool to add and they were quite common in Choya Bay. You would have enjoyed being there!

      Thanks for the comments!