Bird Watching on the Mexico Coast in Troncones

Posted on: October 8th, 2012 by Jenn No Comments

If you’re a bird-watcher– or if you’ve ever met a birder–  you understand that they are a dedicated and hardy species, with a migration pattern marked by early-morning hikes and distinguishable by the binoculars hanging around their necks.  They travel with lists in hand, ready to sit patiently and calmly, hoping their beautiful feathered friends decide to fly in for a visit.

Troncones is a paradise for birdwatchers; one source lists over 100 species of birds observed in Troncones itself, and more than 320 species cataloged in the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo area overall (of which Troncones Beach is a part).

Posada de los Raqueros was thrilled to recently host members from the Audubon group from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and everyone had a blast!  Days were spent walking the beaches, estuaries, and overgrown “jungle” areas; the group returned for sunsets on the beach (cold cervezas in hand) and shared memorable meals together.

Of course, the non-birders in the group had a lot to occupy themselves with, too:  snorkling & surfing, fishing, horseback riding, boogie boarding…  and everyone seemed to really enjoy snoozing in the hammocks!

We’re happy to share with you a report from one of the group’s members, Brad Waggoner, to give you a taste of what bird watchers can find in our diverse natural habitat here in Troncones beach:

Troncones, Mexico: Bird Watching (Birding) Report
by Brad Waggoner

The beaches and waters near our Troncones Hotel, Posada de los Raqueros, provided a multitude of birds for viewing enjoyment. One need not venture out of his chair under the umbrellas to enjoy the many foraging and diving Brown Pelicans along with Brown Boobies. Occasionally things such as Yellow-crowned Night-Herons and Whimbrels (a large shorebird with a down curved bill) would leisurely walk past on the beach. The rocky shores of the nearby point also provided waders and other shorebirds. This one picture show three species of herons (waders) in one small space including from left to right – Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, and Snowy Egret. Shorebirds on the rocks included Wandering Tattler, Whimbrel, and Willet, seen here in flight with their bold black and white wing pattern. A walk of about 4 kilometers northward to a small estuary on Troncones Beach on one morning added many other waterbirds including this Northern Jacana and these three Roseate Spoonbills.

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The nearby Thorn Forest habitat of Posada de los Raqueros provided me with countless hours of wonderful birding. Many life birds or birds new to my Mexico list were encountered during these bird walks. Amongst my favorites included a Collared Forest-Falcon, two Yellow-headed Parrots (a scarce bird!), Pale-billed Woodpecker (pictured here), several Golden Vireos, and a lovely male Spot-breasted Oriole. But there were many, many other birds than “life-birds” to provide viewing satisfaction to this hard-core birder. White-throated Magpie-Jays (pictured here) were abundant and a bit vocal at times. A few times I had nice looks at the quite large, long-tailed, bright rufous colored Squirrel Cuckoo (pictured here). Several times I encountered Blue Buntings like this beautiful male. Although most viewings were of the all cinnamon-brown female. One of the most colorful birds, and actually quite common in the area, were the Orange-breasted Bunting (pictured here). They would even occasionally visit the grounds of Posada de los Raqueros.

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The Waggoner’s also spent a magical six days at the Brouwer’s Zihuatanejo condo unit tucked on the hillside overlooking Playa la Ropa and the lovely bay and city to the north. As with our stay at  Posada de los Raqueros, this birder was in a dream spot to satisfy the obsession. The spacious patio provided not only the great view but also bird-watching from the comforts of a chair. The intact surrounding hillside Thorn Forest vegetation (see picture) meant birds still had the habitat to be very close by. Just before dawn on one morning the barking-like hoots of a Mottled Owl was heard and most early mornings provided the repetitious toots of a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (see picture). Birds were especially fond of trees and vegetation near the pool and things like Citreoline Trogan, Social Flycatcher, Rufous-backed Thrush, Painted Bunting and Streaked-backed Oriole were common visitors. Hummingbirds were also in the area and frequented a lower unit patio with a hummingbird feeder. Hey, how about placing one at your unit, Hans! Large Cinnamon Hummingbirds (see picture) and the beautiful Doubleday’s Hummingbird (see picture) were common. The skies above the condo also provided soaring Magnificent Frigatebirds, Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures, but also White-collared Swifts, the occasional Short-tailed Hawk or Zone-tailed Hawk and a few things like overhead Roseate Spoonbills and Wood Storks.

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To the east of the Zihua Condo, a nicely paved road provided several great mornings of bird exploring. Perhaps this gated road will provide future housing, but for now, it gave me, along with morning walkers a place to wonder away from the traffic and up into the surrounding hillside. Several new life birds were encountered on these walks including Common Pauraque, Russet-crowned Motmot (see picture), Greenish Elaenia, Flammulated Flycatcher, Masked Tityra, Orange-billed Nightengale-Thrush, Red-breasted Chat and Black-vented Oriole. Also such interesting things such as this Common Pauraque and Colima Pygmy-Owl were satisfying finds on these walks. With snow and cold currently gripping the Puget Sound Basin here in Washington state, I’m wishing I was still amongst the birds in the warm sunshine of Zihuatanejo.

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Useful Link: Audobon Society of Mexico

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