Mexico - Mazatlan and the Durango Highway - 17th - 24th August 2008

Published by David Vander Pluym (scre AT

Participants: David Vander Pluym and Lauren Harter


Lauren Harter and I took a week-long trip from Nogales down to Mazatlán and up the Durango Highway to the vicinity of La Ciudad. We had a total of 213 species with 25 Mexican endemics and several more Northern Central American endemics or near endemics. Highlights included a White-tailed Hawk north of Mazatlán, a heard-only Eared Quetzal, a flock of Aztec Thrushes, and lots of fledglings being fed. We had no problems in any of the places we birded (we had been warned ahead of time about a couple of unsafe roads) and found the people to be very friendly. All in all it was a great trip in a pleasant area. The weather was a little miserable with high temperatures in the lowlands and rain or fog at all elevations, but the birding more than made up for it. Biting insects included low numbers of mosquitoes and chiggers, but were never enough of an annoyance to distract from the birding. We used the standard reference books for Mexican birding, A Bird-Finding Guide to Mexico by Steve Howell and A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America by Steve Howell and Sophie Webb. The currency exchange rate was approximately 10 pesos per dollar. Prices below are in pesos unless otherwise noted.

Driving: We had a good experience driving, although many of the roads were under construction, which slowed traveling a great deal. We had a Suzuki Vitara; although we never needed to use 4wd, it was a good backup for the muddy roads. As you cross the border you need to obtain a permit for the car ($100) and a tourist card (free). Coming from Nogales you can get these at KM 27 (about 30 KM south of Nogales on the main highway). To obtain the car permit you need copies (a copy station is there) of your passport, driver’s license, and car registration. They will provide you with a sticker for your windshield which they will remove at KM 27 when you leave, so be sure to stop. We traveled on toll roads on the way down which got more expensive as we got closer to Mazatlán. From Nogales to Mazatlán we spent a total of $626 on toll roads. We took free roads back as much as possible. These were well-paved and almost as fast, and had better birding. Mexico provides a “Hassle-free zone” for U.S. vehicles south about 400 km. As soon as we left this and arrived in the city of Los Mochis, we were pulled over by police. They demanded an outrageous bribe of 400 dollars but we talked them down to 30 dollars and 200 pesos.

Weather: The weather was hot and humid in the lowlands with frequent heavy rain. In the highlands it was often foggy and/or rainy. The frequent rain and fog did hamper some of our birding efforts and some dirt roads were impassable. Despite this, birding in the rainy season was worth it for the good birding we experienced and the many family groups we saw.


August 17th: Phoenix to north Sinaloa with a stop in Madera Canyon.
August 18th: Driving the rest of the way to Mazatlán, birding the airport and La Noria Rd.
August 19th: La Noria Rd, Durango Highway, Barranca Rancho Liebre area.
August 20th: Durango Highway, starting at Panuco Rd, moving to La Petaca Rd, Microodas Loberas and ending at the Barranca Rancho Liebre.
August 21st: Started at the Barranca Rancho Liebre then into Durango while birding the highway and side roads.
August 22nd: Started at the Chavarria Rd and birded our way back down the highway, La Petaca Rd, and ending at Panuco Rd.
August 23rd: Started on the lower part of the Durango Highway and made a quick check of La Noria road before starting north.
August 24th: Starting from south of Guaymas and quickly birding along the highway there before heading back to Arizona.

August 17

We left Phoenix early in the morning with a stop at Madera Canyon looking for a reported Red-eyed Vireo (no luck). We crossed mid-afternoon and had our only Cooper’s Hawk, Say’s Phoebe, and Cassin’s Kingbird of the trip. Eventually we got too tired to drive and pulled over to sleep in northern Sinaloa, soon after passing through Los Mochis.

August 18 (5.1, 5.3)

After having slept by the side of the highway we drove down to Mazatlán seeing our first Sinaloa Crows on the way. We had a couple Eurasian Collared-Doves along the toll highway somewhere south of Culiacán. Are there records this far south on the mainland? Soaring overhead we also had our only Wood Storks of the trip. We arrived in Mazatlán about midday. After lunch we went to an overview of Los Hermanos (the Booby Rocks) where we scoped Brown and Blue-footed Boobies and enjoyed Magnificent Frigatebirds flying overhead. In this area we had large numbers of Heermann’s Gulls and one California Gull. We birded the airport area next. Directions are given in Howell, but we went past the area described in the book and had some nice patches of mangroves and other trees. We had a Yellow Warbler in the mangroves, but were unable to identify it to subspecies group. We had two Eastern Meadowlarks, which are not shown here in Howell and Webb. I believe others have had them here, although I’m not sure about summer. The birds were heard singing and briefly seen. The road had some nice ponds on it and we had most of our waterbirds of the trip here.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 4
Neotropic Cormorant 12
Magnificent Frigatebird 175
Great Blue Heron 3
Great Egret 25
Snowy Egret 1
Little Blue Heron 2
Tricolored Heron 3
Cattle Egret 2
Green Heron 1
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 15
Roseate Spoonbill 1
Black Vulture 25
Crested Caracara 5
Semipalmated Plover 2
Killdeer 2
Black-necked Stilt 30
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Greater Yellowlegs 3
Willet 5
Lesser Yellowlegs 1
Whimbrel 1
Least Sandpiper 1
Laughing Gull 500
Caspian Tern 1
Black Tern 20
Red-billed Pigeon 5
White-winged Dove 50
Inca Dove 5
Common Ground-Dove 30
Ruddy Ground-Dove 75
Groove-billed Ani 8
Gila Woodpecker 8
Great Kiskadee 10
Social Flycatcher 6
Tropical Kingbird 60
Sinaloa Crow 125
Mangrove Swallow 40
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 10
Black-capped Gnatcatcher 4
Yellow Warbler 1
Blue-black Grassquit 20
White-collared Seedeater (Cinnamon-rumped) 30
Varied Bunting 2
Painted Bunting 30
Red-winged Blackbird 10
Eastern Meadowlark 2
Great-tailed Grackle 5
Orchard Oriole 1
Hooded Oriole 6
Streak-backed Oriole 8

In the evening we moved on to La Noria Rd. We checked the dirt track at KM 2.5. A little way down there was a fork in the track and two gates. We had a family group of Rufous-bellied Chachalacas here. Unlike the illustration in Howell and Webb, their orbital rings were bright red. Is this seasonal? We also birded pullouts along the main road. Beware, pickup truck traffic on this road is heavy and they move very fast. At one pullout about 13 KM up the road we had an interesting pair of gnatcatchers. On both birds, the underside of the tail was mostly black. The male had a particularly Black-tailed Gnatcatcher-like tail pattern, with white tips on graduated tail feathers. However, the male had a typical Black-capped face pattern (black extending down to the base of the eye). Calls sounded typical for Black-capped Gnatcatcher. The female had a more solidly black underside of the tail. Since Black-tailed Gnatcatcher is unrecorded in the area we presume that they were atypical Black-capped Gnatcatchers. For dinner in the area we would recommend a small stand on the highway towards Mazatlán. The restaurant on the corner of the highway and La Noria road was only serving shrimp, and the next restaurant with a highway “food” sign was also closed. We found the stand next to this second restaurant, and there we enjoyed a delicious dinner of eggs for a small price. We slept in our car near the KM 2.5 track. During the night I heard our only Buff-collared Nightjar of the trip. In the middle of the night we were awoken by police who said that it wasn’t safe along the road as there had been a number of assaults there. They told us to sleep in the nearby town, so we moved and had no problems.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 3
Rufous-bellied Chachalaca 15
Elegant Quail 1
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 3
Black Vulture 23
Crested Caracara 4
White-winged Dove 10
Inca Dove 2
Common Ground-Dove 4
Orange-fronted Parakeet 2
Groove-billed Ani 5
Lesser Nighthawk 1
Broad-billed Hummingbird 1
Plain-capped Starthroat 1
Gila Woodpecker 2
Nutting's Flycatcher 2
Great Kiskadee 1
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher 2
Tropical Kingbird 20
Thick-billed Kingbird 2
Loggerhead Shrike 1
Black-throated Magpie-Jay 6
Sinaloa Crow 70
Black-capped Gnatcatcher 2
Northern Mockingbird 1
Curve-billed Thrasher 1
Blue Grosbeak 1
Great-tailed Grackle 16
Streak-backed Oriole 6

August 19 (5.3, 5.2, 5.4)

We started at the KM 2.5 track and hiked up past the left gate, making sure to close the gate behind us. After passing through thornscrub, the track entered into a series of fields with continuous forest on the surrounding hillside. We had our only flock of Purplish-backed Jays here, but they were distant and our looks were poor. On our way back we met the owner of the farm. He was very friendly and told us we were welcome to drive in. However, we would recommend walking the entire track. We also checked out the track at KM 2.4 which went through more open areas and farmland. A kilometer or two down this road there is a small cemetery which had a small flock of Magpie-Jays and Sinaloa Crows and might be good for other birds as well. Another productive road, signed to Los Ebanos, led to the right off the main road. We found extensive thornscrub here which much less traffic. There wasn’t much here on this check as it was the middle of the day and hot. Later on in our trip we had more luck here.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 20
Rufous-bellied Chachalaca 40
Elegant Quail 8
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 12
Black Vulture 60
Turkey Vulture 10
Gray Hawk 8
Crested Caracara 8
Red-billed Pigeon 35
White-winged Dove 15
Inca Dove 15
Common Ground-Dove 4
Ruddy Ground-Dove 1
White-tipped Dove 30
Orange-fronted Parakeet 4
Groove-billed Ani 20
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl 1 heard only
Buff-collared Nightjar 1 heard only
Broad-billed Hummingbird 10
Cinnamon Hummingbird 1
Elegant Trogon 2
Golden-cheeked Woodpecker 15
Gila Woodpecker 25
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 3
Lineated Woodpecker 1
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 5
Western Wood-Pewee 1
Nutting's Flycatcher 1
Brown-crested Flycatcher 1
Great Kiskadee 20
Tropical Kingbird 50
Thick-billed Kingbird 6
Black-throated Magpie-Jay 20
Purplish-backed Jay 5
Sinaloa Crow 120
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 25
Sinaloa Wren 10
Happy Wren 1
Black-capped Gnatcatcher 2
Curve-billed Thrasher 3
Blue-black Grassquit 40
White-collared Seedeater (Cinnamon-rumped) 2
Grayish Saltator 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Yellow Grosbeak 5
Varied Bunting 6
Great-tailed Grackle 40
Bronzed Cowbird 20
Orchard Oriole 3
Streak-backed Oriole 18
House Finch 4

In the afternoon we moved up the Durango Highway to the area around Barranaca Rancho Liebre. On the way up Lauren had a small flock of Mexican Parrotlets flying over, just past Concordia. We arrived at the Barranca late and decided to try a side road to the left (west) just before the Barranca. This road went uphill and stayed in an open pine forest. It was very foggy and rainy here, but we did have a flock as well as our only Vaux’s Swift of the trip.

Vaux's Swift 1
White-striped Woodcreeper 1
Tufted Flycatcher 3
Greater Pewee 4
Hutton's Vireo 1
Warbling Vireo 1
Mexican Chickadee 5
Brown Creeper 3
House Wren (Brown-throated) 1
Russet Nightingale-Thrush 1
Olive Warbler 8
Grace's Warbler 15
Painted Whitestart 6
Hepatic Tanager 4
Yellow-eyed Junco 12

We stayed at the Hotel Villa Blanca in the village of La Capilla de Taxte. The room was clean and inexpensive at $300 per night, and we stayed here for 2 nights. The food was tasty, but rather greasy and we were both ill for the rest of the trip. There is open pine habitat at the hotel and we had White-striped Woodcreeper, Greater Pewee, and our only Berylline Hummingbird of the trip while we ate lunch the next day. For food we’d recommend Daniel’s Restaurant which is down the road in Copala. The chile rellenos are fantastic and the habitat is great too.

August 20 (5.5, 5.4, 5.6)

We started the day at Panuco Road, birding only the first couple km until we came near a mining operation. We made frequent stops and often had different birds at each pullout, so we would recommend birding this spot thoroughly. We had a becard nest right over the road, and the pair was present the second time we checked the spot.

Rufous-bellied Chachalaca 2
Black Vulture 10
Turkey Vulture 12
Red-billed Pigeon 1
Inca Dove 15
White-tipped Dove 25
Orange-fronted Parakeet 35
Broad-billed Hummingbird 1
Gila Woodpecker 4
Pale-billed Woodpecker 2
Ivory-billed Woodcreeper 2
Greater Pewee 4
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 1
Great Kiskadee 1
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher 8
Masked Tityra 2
Rose-throated Becard
Golden Vireo 2
Warbling Vireo 1
Yellow-green Vireo 3
Sinaloa Wren 15
Happy Wren 15
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
White-throated Robin 3
Rufous-backed Robin 3
Blue Mockingbird 5
Rufous-capped Warbler 1
Western Tanager 1
Rusty-crowned Ground-Sparrow 10
Grayish Saltator 30
Yellow Grosbeak 1
Blue Bunting 1
Streak-backed Oriole 20
Bullock's Oriole 1
Yellow-winged Cacique 1

We next moved up to the La Petaca Rd in the late morning. This area represents a transition zone, with pine forest as well as scrub and agricultural areas. We again only birded the first couple km, without finding any flowers. We did have several flocks here and saw our only Greenish Elaenias of the trip. These are not shown in Sinaloa in Howell and Webb; however others reported them here in August of 2007. We found several Military Macaws circling around the cliffs near the highway and we believed they were roosting there. Ten was an estimate since the birds were mostly hidden in fog.

Black Vulture 30
Turkey Vulture 10
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Inca Dove 10
Military Macaw 10
Greenish Elaenia 1
Greater Pewee 2
Golden Vireo 1
Barn Swallow 10
Canyon Wren 1
House Wren (Brown-throated) 1
Eastern Bluebird 4
Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush 1
Grace's Warbler 1
Slate-throated Whitestart 2
Rufous-capped Warbler 4
Hepatic Tanager 1
Rusty-crowned Ground-Sparrow 4
Grayish Saltator 2
Black-headed Siskin 2

As the day progressed into afternoon we continued to move toward the Barranca with a brief stop on the side road to the Microodas Loberas. Weather was foggy and we only had a small flock.

White-striped Woodcreeper 1
Tufted Flycatcher 1
Greater Pewee 2
Mexican Chickadee 12
Brown Creeper 2
House Wren 2
Eastern Bluebird 10
Olive Warbler 1
Grace's Warbler 10
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Painted Whitestart 2

Next we moved to the Barranca Rancho Liebre. I saw some confusion about the directions in trip reports. Howell’s mileage marker is correct coming from Mazatlán while coming from Durango the KM marker is 201. It was foggy here as well but we had some good flocks. The old orchard mentioned in Howell was birdy and we had our only Green-striped Brush-Finch of the trip there. Rufous-capped Brush-Finches and Golden-browed Warblers were common and conspicuous while feeding young. It poured on us on our way out.

Mountain Trogon 2
Arizona Woodpecker 1
White-striped Woodcreeper 5
Tufted Flycatcher 4
Pine Flycatcher 2
Cordilleran Flycatcher 1
Mexican Chickadee 6
Brown Creeper 8
House Wren (Brown-throated) 5
Brown-backed Solitaire 1
Russet Nightingale-Thrush 2
Grace's Warbler 4
Hermit Warbler 1
Red Warbler 2
Painted Whitestart 3
Slate-throated Whitestart 2
Golden-browed Warbler 18
Hepatic Tanager 2
Red-headed Tanager 6
Rufous-capped Brush-Finch 15
Green-striped Brush-Finch 1
Yellow-eyed Junco 10

August 21 (5.6, 5.4)

We started the morning at the Barranca Rancho Liebre, which we found to be extremely birdy. There were a couple of small to medium-sized flocks in the area. Our best flocks were up the ridge from the main trail. We again encountered family groups of several species, including Red-headed Tanager. We encountered a flock of Tufted Jays near the orchard. Several young birds were being fed, although they did not have blue on the face as illustrated in Howell and Webb. These may have been older fledglings or last year’s young.

Mountain Trogon 1
Arizona Woodpecker 2
White-striped Woodcreeper 6
Tufted Flycatcher 15
Greater Pewee 3
Pine Flycatcher 2
Cordilleran Flycatcher 4
Hutton's Vireo 3
Warbling Vireo 3
Tufted Jay 12
Mexican Chickadee 25
Bridled Titmouse 2
Brown Creeper 8
House Wren (Brown-throated) 5
Brown-backed Solitaire 3
American Robin 1
Olive Warbler 4
Crescent-chested Warbler 5
Hermit Warbler 1
Grace's Warbler 12
Black-and-white Warbler 2
Red Warbler 1
Red-faced Warbler 4
Painted Whitestart 6
Slate-throated Whitestart 2
Golden-browed Warbler 12
Hepatic Tanager 1
Flame-colored Tanager 1
Red-headed Tanager 12
Rufous-capped Brush-Finch 10
Yellow-eyed Junco 6
Red Crossbill 2

We had covered the barranca area well by mid-morning and decided to bird our way toward La Ciudad. We birded along the highway finding a lot of flowers (and hummingbirds) at and around La Ermita (in the state of Durango) where we had good numbers of White-eared and Blue-throated as well as one Magnificent. Other new birds we had on the highway in the state of Durango included Acorn Woodpecker, Steller’s Jay, Northern Raven, Bushtit, and Hermit Thrush, indicating the change in habitat as one climbs onto the plateau. Other birds of interest were White-striped Woodcreeper and Red-headed Tanager. We birded a road to the left (north) signed to Neveros. This road skirted the edge of the plateau and we had a few flocks along it, despite the light to heavy rain. The habitat was pine-oak and the area had been logged in the past, but there were some big trees in the area. We had our only White-throated Flycatcher of the trip here, characteristically perched in a dense stand of pine saplings.

Band-tailed Pigeon 1
White-eared Hummingbird 1
Blue-throated Hummingbird 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 2
Greater Pewee 1
White-throated Flycatcher 1
Pine Flycatcher 5
Hutton's Vireo 10
Mexican Chickadee 40
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Pygmy Nuthatch 1
Brown Creeper 2
Olive Warbler 20
Crescent-chested Warbler 15
Grace's Warbler 4
Yellow-eyed Junco 20

We moved on to La Ciudad and after trying some side roads we decided to move on. We came to Chavarria Rd (not Chavaria Rd as in Howell) and were impressed to find some old-growth pines. Striped Sparrows were abundant in the fields around Chavarria, but we didn’t have them anywhere else on the trip. We took the road to the Coscomate cabañas which were expensive ($800 for the smallest cabin) but we decided to spend some eco-tourist dollars here and stayed for the night. They were nice and it would be worth staying to bird the area for a few days if you have the time and money. The cabins had a kitchen and a fireplace. As it was raining steadily we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon here. The family who runs the park made us dinner (huevos) and brought it to our cabin along with firewood. We had our only Black Phoebe of the trip here.

August 22 (5.4, 5.5)

We birded the Chavarria Rd from 8:30-11:30 Central Time, birding up to the highway and back. The highlights were a heard-only Eared Quetzal and a pair of Hooded Grosbeaks, along with some nice mixed species flocks. The quetzal was calling from a steep slope just above Chavarria, where there are a few large limestone outcroppings next to the road.

Band-tailed Pigeon 2
White-eared Hummingbird 1
Magnificent Hummingbird 1
Eared Quetzal 1
Northern Flicker 1
White-striped Woodcreeper 4
Greater Pewee 2
Hammond's Flycatcher 1
Pine Flycatcher 1
Cordilleran Flycatcher 1
Black Phoebe 1
Hutton's Vireo 20
Common Raven 1
Barn Swallow 12
Mexican Chickadee 40
Bushtit 15
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Brown Creeper 8
House Wren (Brown-throated) 4
Eastern Bluebird 15
Brown-backed Solitaire 2
Hermit Thrush 1
Olive Warbler 12
Crescent-chested Warbler 12
Hermit Warbler 1
Grace's Warbler 8
Red Warbler 3
Painted Whitestart 1
Slate-throated Whitestart 8
Hepatic Tanager 1
Striped Sparrow 6
Chipping Sparrow 2
Yellow-eyed Junco 12
House Finch 30
Pine Siskin 3
Black-headed Siskin 1
Hooded Grosbeak 2
House Sparrow 2

After packing and checking out of the cabaña we birded our way back to the highway (1-2:40PM). We had a different mix of species than in the morning with a flock of Aztec Thrushes (two adult females and 18 juveniles) being the highlight. The flock was coming into fruiting madrones with Mountain Trogons, American Robins, and Brown-backed Solitaires. All three thrush species were primarily represented by juveniles, but only the solitaires were still being fed by adults. This was the same spot where we had heard the quetzal that morning.

Black Vulture 3
Band-tailed Pigeon 2
Chestnut-collared Swift 1
White-eared Hummingbird 2
Mountain Trogon 3
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Tufted Flycatcher 1
Greater Pewee 1
Hammond's Flycatcher 1
Cordilleran Flycatcher 1
Hutton's Vireo 12
Steller's Jay 2
Barn Swallow 5
Mexican Chickadee 20
Bushtit 4
Brown Creeper 5
House Wren (Brown-throated) 2
Eastern Bluebird 2
Brown-backed Solitaire 4
American Robin 15
Aztec Thrush 20
Olive Warbler 2
Crescent-chested Warbler 6
Hermit Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Red-faced Warbler 1
Red Warbler 1
Flame-colored Tanager 1
Rufous-capped Brush-Finch 3
Striped Sparrow 3
Yellow-eyed Junco 6
House Finch 40

We birded our way back to Sinaloa and found our only Spotted Towhee of the trip, along with a few Band-tailed Pigeons and Northern Ravens. We had to stop at some road construction just before entering Sinaloa where there was a nice roadside flock. This flock included our only Wilson’s Warbler of the trip, along with Arizona Woodpecker, Greater Pewee, Hutton’s Vireo, Russet Nightingale-Thrush, Brown-throated Wren, Bridled Titmouse, Mexican Chickadee, Olive Warbler, Grace’s Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Red-faced Warbler, Slate-throated and Painted Whitestarts, Red-headed and Hepatic Tanager, Rufous-capped Brush-Finch, and Yellow-eyed Junco. Once we crossed back into Sinaloa we added Bushtit to our state list. As we were driving back down below the Barranca Rancho Liebre we had a small flock of Tufted Jays flying over us (this was at 4:45PM). The Tufted Jays were mixed in with Steller’s Jays and included juveniles with blue in the face. We stopped to observe the jays and found quite a few birds. It was nifty to see the size difference in the two jay species.

Arizona Woodpecker 1
White-striped Woodcreeper 2
Tufted Flycatcher 1
Greater Pewee 1
Western Wood-Pewee 1
Hutton's Vireo 1
Warbling Vireo 2
Steller's Jay 6
Tufted Jay 8
Bridled Titmouse 2
House Wren (Brown-throated) 2
American Robin 1
Olive Warbler 1
Crescent-chested Warbler 2
Grace's Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Painted Whitestart 2
Slate-throated Whitestart 3
Rufous-capped Warbler 1
Hepatic Tanager 1
Red-headed Tanager 2

We also stopped at KM 210.5, where we had our only Spotted Wrens of the trip. In the late evening, we made a short stop at La Petaca Rd. We had an odd Empidonax flycatcher which didn’t quite fit any species we knew. Without hearing a call or getting a good study, we let it go as unidentified.

Arizona Woodpecker 1
White-striped Woodcreeper 1
Greenish Elaenia 2
Greater Pewee 1
Empidonax sp. 1
Tropical Kingbird 1
Plumbeous Vireo 1
Golden Vireo 1
Barn Swallow 5
Brown Creeper 2
Happy Wren 1
House Wren (Brown-throated) 2
Eastern Bluebird 8
Brown-backed Solitaire 1
Blue Mockingbird 2
Grace's Warbler 3
Black-and-white Warbler 3
Slate-throated Whitestart 1
Rufous-capped Warbler 4
Red-headed Tanager 2
Rusty-crowned Ground-Sparrow 2
Rusty Sparrow 1
Black-headed Siskin 10

At twilight we stopped at Panuco Rd to try for Colima Pygmy Owl and heard one distant bird which we were unable to bring in. We slept in the car along the highway a few KM below this road, at a spot where there were multiple trucks already pulled over. Other than the heat and humidity we had no problems sleeping here.

August 23 (5.4, 5.3)

We started early in thornscrub taking a side road signed to La Guasima which headed south off the Durango Highway. We only birded the first KM or so of it. This was our first really clear day, so we finally saw White-naped Swifts just below La Guasima Road.
Rufous-bellied Chachalaca 5
Hook-billed Kite 1
Red-billed Pigeon 1
Inca Dove 10
White-tipped Dove 5
Mexican Parrotlet 10
White-naped Swift 3
Elegant Trogon 1
Gila Woodpecker 4
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher 4
Yellow-green Vireo 1
Sinaloa Wren 3
Happy Wren 2
Black-capped Gnatcatcher 1
Rufous-backed Robin 7
Yellow Warbler 2
Rusty-crowned Ground-Sparrow 1
Grayish Saltator 4
Hooded Oriole 2
Streak-backed Oriole 6

We tried farther down the Durango Highway but as the day heated up the birds started getting quiet. At Cerro el Elefante the access to the creek mentioned in Howell is gone and the area has been disturbed, but we did have Rufous-bellied Chachalaca, Plain-capped Starthroat, Golden-cheeked Woodpecker, Masked Tityra, Yellow-green Vireo, Magpie Jays, and Yellow-winged Cacique. Next we moved over to La Noria Rd to try again for Purplish-backed Jays. We missed them but explored the road to Los Ebanos for an hour in the late morning. Although it was getting late we still had quite a bit of activity and got our only Citreoline Trogon of the trip. We also had a large flock of caciques and magpie-jays including a number of young birds. The numbers below are for this side road only.

Rufous-bellied Chachalaca 6
Elegant Quail 2
Black Vulture 2
Turkey Vulture 1
Gray Hawk 1
Crested Caracara 1
Red-billed Pigeon 3
Inca Dove 10
Common Ground-Dove 1
Ruddy Ground-Dove 1
White-tipped Dove 5
Broad-billed Hummingbird 1
Citreoline Trogon 1
Elegant Trogon 2
Golden-cheeked Woodpecker 4
Gila Woodpecker 4
Lineated Woodpecker 1
Pale-billed Woodpecker 1
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1
Western Wood-Pewee 1
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher 5
Yellow-green Vireo 4
Black-throated Magpie-Jay 10
Sinaloa Wren 3
Yellow-winged Cacique 50

From here we headed north via the libre road. At km post 139 (139 KM from Mazatlán) we had an adult White-tailed Hawk sitting on a power pole, before it took off and circled out of sight. I am aware of only a couple records of this species for the state of Sinaloa. We both obtained diagnostic photographs of the bird. We again slept in the car south of Guaymas, by the side of the highway in with trucks and again had no problems.

August 24

This day was spent driving back over the border. We briefly looked at some mudflats by the libre highway in Guaymas, adding Black-bellied Plover, Marbled Godwit, Yellow-footed Gull, and Elegant Tern; other birds here included Brown Pelican, Snowy and Great Egrets, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, White Ibis, Crested Caracara, Willet, Heermann’s, California, and Laughing Gulls, and Caspian Tern. Other birds we only had along the highway north of here included Cinnamon Teal, Osprey, Harris’s Hawk, Yellow-billed Cuckoo (flew in front of the car in a mesquite dominant area), Chihuahuan Raven, Purple Martin, Rufous-winged Sparrow, and Lark Sparrow.

Species Lists

Birds with stars were seen only on the drive in Sonora.

1. Black-bellied Whistling Duck
2. Cinnamon Teal*
3. Rufous-bellied Chachalaca
4. Elegant Quail
5. Blue-footed Booby
6. Brown Booby
7. Brown Pelican
8. Neotropic Cormorant
9. Magnificent Frigatebird
10. Great Blue Heron
11. Great Egret
12. Snowy Egret
13. Little Blue Heron
14. Tricolored Heron
15. Cattle Egret
16. Green Heron
17. Black-crowned Night-Heron
18. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
19. White Ibis
20. Roseate Spoonbill
21. Wood Stork
22. Black Vulture
23. Turkey Vulture
24. Osprey *
25. Hook-billed Kite
26. White-tailed Kite
27. Cooper’s Hawk*
28. Harris Hawk*
29. Grey Hawk
30. White-tailed Hawk
31. Red-tailed hawk
32. Crested Caracara
33. American Kestrel*
34. Peregrine Falcon
35. Black-bellied Plover*
36. Semipalmated Plover
37. Killdeer
38. Black-necked Stilt
39. Spotted Sandpiper
40. Greater Yellowlegs
41. Willet
42. Lesser Yellowlegs
43. Whimbrel
44. Marbled Godwit*
45. Least Sandpiper
46. Laughing Gull
47. Heermann’s Gull
48. California Gull
49. Yellow-footed Gull*
50. Caspian Tern
51. Elegant Tern*
52. Forster’s Tern
53. Black Tern
54. Red-billed Pigeon
55. Band-tailed Pigeon
56. White-winged Dove
57. Mourning Dove
58. Inca Dove
59. Common Ground-Dove
60. Ruddy Ground-Dove
61. White-tipped Dove
62. Orange-fronted Parakeet
63. Military Macaw
64. Mexican Parrotlet
65. Yellow-billed Cuckoo*
66. Groove-billed Ani
67. Colima Pygmy-Owl
68. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
69. Lesser Nighthawk
70. Buff-collared Nightjar
71. Chestnut-collared Swift
72. White-naped Swift
73. Vaux’s Swift
74. Broad-billed Hummingbird
75. White-eared Hummingbird
76. Berylline Hummingbird
77. Cinnamon Hummingbird
78. Blue-throated Hummingbird
79. Magnificent Hummingbird
80. Plain-capped Starthroat
81. Citreoline Trogon
82. Mountain Trogon
83. Elegant Trogon
84. Eared Quetzal
85. Acorn Woodpecker
86. Golden-cheeked Woodpecker
87. Gila Woodpecker
88. Ladder-backed Woodpecker
89. Hairy Woodpecker
90. Arizona Woodpecker
91. Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)
92. Lineated Woodpecker
93. Pale-billed Woodpecker
94. Ivory-billed Woodcreeper
95. White-striped Woodcreeper
96. Northern Beardless Tyrannulet
97. Greenish Elaenia
98. Tufted Flycatcher
99. Greater Pewee
100. Western Wood-Pewee
101. White-throated Flycatcher
102. Hammond’s Flycatcher
103. Pine Flycatcher
104. Pacific-slope Flycatcher
105. Cordilleran Flycatcher
106. Black Phoebe
107. Say’s Phoebe*
108. Nutting’s Flycatcher
109. Brown-crested Flycatcher
110. Great Kiskadee
111. Social Flycatcher
112. Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher
113. Tropical Kingbird
114. Cassin’s Kingbird*
115. Thick-billed Kingbird
116. Rose-throated Becard
117. Masked Tityra
118. Loggerhead Shrike
119. Plumbeous Vireo
120. Hutton’s Vireo
121. Golden Vireo
122. Warbling Vireo
123. Yellow-green Vireo
124. Steller’s Jay
125. Black-throated Magpie-Jay
126. Tufted Jay
127. Purplish-backed Jay
128. Sinaloa Crow
129. Chihuahuan Raven*
130. Northern Raven
131. Purple Martin*
132. Mangrove Swallow
133. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
134. Barn Swallow
135. Mexican Chickadee
136. Bridled Titmouse
137. Bushtit
138. White-breasted Nuthatch
139. Pygmy Nuthatch
140. Brown Creeper
141. Spotted Wren
142. Canyon Wren
143. Happy Wren
144. Sinaloa Wren
145. House Wren (Brown-throated)
146. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
147. Black-capped Gnatcatcher
148. Eastern Bluebird
149. Brown-backed Solitaire
150. Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush
151. Russet Nightingale-Thrush
152. Hermit Thrush
153. Rufous-backed Thrush
154. American Robin
155. Aztec Thrush
156. Blue Mockingbird
157. Northern Mockingbird
158. Curve-billed Thrasher
159. Olive Warbler
160. Crescent-chested Warbler
161. Yellow Warbler
162. Townsend’s Warbler
163. Hermit Warbler
164. Grace’s Warbler
165. Black-and-white Warbler
166. Wilson’s Warbler
167. Red-faced Warbler
168. Red Warbler
169. Painted Whitestart
170. Slate-throated Whitestart
171. Rufous-capped Warbler
172. Golden-browed Warbler
173. Hepatic Tanager
174. Western Tanager
175. Flame-colored Tanager
176. Red-headed Tanager
177. Blue-black Grassquit
178. White-collared Seedeater (Cinnamon-rumped)
179. Rufous-capped Brushfinch
180. Green-striped Brushfinch
181. Rusty-crowned Ground Sparrow
182. Spotted Towhee
183. Rufous-winged Sparrow*
184. Rusty Sparrow
185. Striped Sparrow
186. Chipping Sparrow
187. Lark Sparrow*
188. Yellow-eyed (Mexican) Junco
189. Greyish Saltator
190. Northern Cardinal
191. Yellow Grosbeak
192. Blue Bunting
193. Blue Grosbeak
194. Varied Bunting
195. Painted Bunting
196. Red-winged Blackbird
197. Eastern Meadowlark
198. Great-tailed Grackle
199. Bronzed Cowbird
200. Orchard Oriole
201. Hooded Oriole
202. Streaked-backed Oriole
203. Bullock’s Oriole
204. Yellow-winged Cacique
205. House Finch
206. Red Crossbill
207. Pine Siskin
208. Black-headed Siskin
209. Lesser Goldfinch
210. Hooded Grosbeak
211. Rock Pigeon
212. Eurasian Collared-Dove
213. House Sparrow