Birding Without Borders

Day 135: Potoos, Herons, and Tanagers

A day in San Blas.

May 15, 2015, San Blas, Mexico — Let’s rewind today: I dropped into bed at 11:30 p.m. after eating three delicious tacos with guacamole and salsa at a restaurant in San Blas. Francisco joined Rene, Phil and me for a late dinner. An hour before, we were all looking at a Northern Potoo in the spotlight up the La Tovara river outside San Blas, which was our 100th bird species of the day, and which capped off a wonderful five-hour boat trip through the mangroves this afternoon and evening. The sunset over the marsh was beautiful, with Boat-billed Herons squawking and flapping all over the place.

Before the boat trip, we took a short siesta and made a brief visit to Fuerte San Basilio, the old fort overlooking San Blas with a great view of the coast and town. Lunch was mangrove-wood-smoked mackerel, an area specialty, which was served with tortillas and a little lime juice - simply delicious! The day got uncomfortably hot by late morning and bird activity dropped off around 10 a.m.

A male Rosy Thrush-Tanager perched and sang right in front of us after we’d spent an hour trying to track it down this morning. Even though I’d heard one in Colombia earlier this year, seeing that thrush-tanager today was very satisfying! Otherwise, the birds we found near Chacalilla, just outside of San Blas, were all species I’d already recorded in the past couple of months. It sure is getting hard to add new ones in northern Mexico; I have three more days here before crossing the U.S. border, and can hope to add just a dozen new species in the upcoming 72 hours.

Breakfast was a ham and cheese sandwich, a half bag of chips, and a Diet Coke. I packed my stuff in three minutes flat, as usual. And when the alarm went off at 6 a.m. (sleeping in, relatively speaking), I was still hard asleep, dreaming of the birds we’d see in San Blas.

New birds today: 3

Year list: 2494

Boat-billed Herons are a specialty of the mangrove boat trips near San Blas. Photo: Noah Strycker

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