Baja - Cape Region - June 2000

Published by Surfbirds Admin (surfbirds AT


A Brief Birding Trip to the Cape Region of Baja, Mexico, June 14th-22nd 2000

By Karsten E. Hartel

I was in La Paz at a professional meeting in mid-June 2000.  While there, we birded the La Paz area and then meet up with Gloria Flores of Ecobaja, a small Ecological Resort that offers numbers of guided trips.  For a reasonable fee, she and a driver picked us up in La Paz for a very long day on June 21, supplied a wonderful lunch, were very friendly, and then dropped us off a hotel in Cabo San Jose for our flights out on the 22nd.  Gloria can be reached at 1089 Leucadia Blvd., Encinitas, CA 92024 or at  They also have a small web page.  John Paxton and wife from Sydney, Australia accompanied me.

Birds seen are listed on the following table. The following are the areas we birded.

1) La Paz - Birding was along the harbor and courtyards adjacent to the beach.  We also took a boat out to the point but many of the herons, including Reddish Egret, were seen right on the waterfront.  Also included was a short side-trip to some mangroves near the airport courtesy of a knowledgeable taxi driver "Ulysses".  This is the site of the Mangrove Warbler and Wilson’s Plover.

2)Sewage Plant - Half way to the airport and only a cheap taxi ride, this area is full of waterbirds and the adjacent brush had numerous land birds.  Made two trips with less than 3 hours total birding.

3) Victoria Peak - We were picked up and drove about 2 hours south, then west, to a series of dirt roads which I can not describe that lead to an access road to Victoria Peak. Part of drive was through posted private gates with permission granted to the guide.  We were able to drive to about 1,000 meters then hiked up to 1,200m.  Actual birding time was minimal, several quick low altitude stops where made which got the Cape Pygmy Owl and to a wash with a large Acorn Woodpecker colony. The walk up and down to the higher altitudes took about 3 hours.

4)Riveria Botanical Garden - We birded this spot, almost at the coast, late in the day while we were exhausted.  Gloria and the guide were personal friends of the owner but the garden is open to the public.  Wide variety of flora, planted and native, and lots of birds; had a Xantus Hummingbird here at almost sea level.

5) Estero de San Jose - We birded in the AM before our early afternoon flights flights.  The area was loaded with most of the expected waterbirds.  We were able to locate singing Belding’s Yellowthroat.  Probably a total of 6 yellowthroats, the first was a male singing in full view from the trunk of a palm above the reeds.  This bird was within a short distance of the rear of the hotel.  Unfortunately, a recently fledged Brown-headed Cowbird was closely following one pair of yellowthroats.

Species Lists

Baja 14th-22nd June

La Paz vic 14-20 June Sewage plant 19 & 20 June Victoria Peak, low Road 21 June Victoria Peak, high 1,000-1,200m Rivera Botanical Garden 21 June Cabo San Jose estuary 22 June
Least Grebe



Pied-billed Grebe 3 2
Brown Booby 3
Am. White Pelican 20 1
Brown Pelican X 5
Double-crested Cormorant 20 5
Magnificent Frigatebird X X X
Great Blue Heron 1 10 1
Great Egret 2 1 1
Snowy Egret 2 20 5
Little Blue Heron 1
Tricolored Heron 2 8
Reddish Egret 2
Cattle Egret 10 80 12
Yellow-crowned Night-heron 2 28
White Ibis 25
White-faced Ibis 12
Black-bellied Whistling Duck 1 2
Mexican/mallard Duck (ssp) 2
Ruddy Duck 2 30
Turkey Vulture X X X X X X
Osprey 3
Red-tailed Hawk 1 1 2 1
Crested Caracara 10 2 3 1
American Kestrel 3 1 1
California Quail 3
Common Moorhen 6 20
American Coot 100 200
Wilson's Plover 6
Killdeer 6 10
American Oystercatcher 2
Black-necked Stilt 50
American Avocet 50
Willet 8
Whimbrel 1 4
Long-billed curlew 4
Marbled Godwit 6 40
Laughing Gull 6
Heerman's Gull 6
Mew Gull 1
Ring-billed Gull 1
Herring Gull 1
Yellow-footed Gull 20
Caspian Tern 2
Royal Tern 1
Elegant Tern 1
Black Skimmer 2
Rock Dove X X
White-winged Dove X X X X X X
Mourning Dove X X X X X X
Common Ground-dove X X X X X
Cape Pygmy-owl 1
Lesser Nighthawk 4
Xantus' Hummingbird 3 2
Costa's Hummingbird X X X
Acorn Woodpecker 30
Gila Woodpecker X X X X X X
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2 4
Gilded Flicker spp. 3 2 1
Pacific Slope Flycatcher (West.)

Black Phoebe 2 2
Ash-throated Flycatcher 1 1
Purple Martin X X X
Violet-green Swallow X X X
N. Rough-winged Swallow 2
Western Scrub Jay X X X X X
Northern Raven 1
Verdin 3 25 2
Cactus Wren 2 10 X 3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4 2 4 2
California Gnatcatcher 2
Northern Mockingbird X X X X
Grey Thrasher 2 2 1
Phainopepla 15 X X
European Starling X X X
Cassin's Vireo 2
Mangrove Warbler ssp. 2
Belding's Yellowthroat 6
Northern Cardinal X X X X X
Pyrrhuloxia 1 1
Spotted Towhee 6
California Towhee 1 1 1
Black-throated Sparrow 1
Baird's Junco 6
Brown-headed Cowbird 2 1
Hooded Oriole 2 1
Scott's Oriole X X X X
House Finch X X X X X
House Sparrow X X X