Birdingpals Trip Report
Trip Report Mazatlan 2005
by Mary Butterfield
I had one of the most rewarding birding trips recently in Mazatlan, MX. In spite of the fact that I couldn’t leave the ship until 9, thereby missing the first best hours, and had
to be back at the ship by 4:30, thereby missing the best last hours, I still saw over 50 species - and half of these were added to my life list.
The reason for my successful trip was local Birdingpal Alwin van der Heiden, my guide for the day. He was the perfect guide: knew where to go for the best habitats that Mazatlan
has to offer and knew his birds once we got there. He is a naturalist by instinct and training, with a love of his surroundings that is infectious. Though English is a second, if
not third, language it was perfect.
We went to at least a half dozen sites. Our first stop was at a pond in the city, full of a variety of water birds (a Roseate Spoonbill comes to mind), but the main part of the day
was at a ranch owned by a friend (and, hence, not accessible to everyone). Here we drove part of the time and walked the rest, seeing a great variety of birds and habitat and
enjoying the wonderful sights and sounds of nature.
After the ranch we visited several beaches for shorebirds but the local sanctuary, Estero del Yugo, was by far the best. This government-owned scientific research facility is
located right in the heart of the city and was a great spot for wandering. The area around this location is scarred by human hands but this oasis had dirt paths and a boardwalk
where we spent time exploring a variety of habitats. The observation tower gave us a chance to survey the whole and contemplate the wonders of such a spot - in the middle of a busy
The endemics we saw included a West Mexican Chachalaca, Elegant Quail, Black-throated Magpie-Jay, Purplish-backed Jay, Sinaloa Crow, Sinaloa (Bar-vented) Wren and many Yellow-winged
Cacique. I also enjoyed a Grey Owl, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Green Kingfisher, Gila and Lineated Woodpeckers and a Northern Beardless Tyrannulet.
I heartily recommend this trip for any birder, novice or experienced, young or old.