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WINGS Birding Tours – Itinerary

Mexico: The Yucatan and Cozumel

Sunday 26 November to Sunday 3 December 2017
with Rich Hoyer as leader

Price: $2,500*

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  • We spend a morning walking through the ruins of Chichén Itzá.

    We spend a morning walking through the ruins of Chichén Itzá. Photo: Rich Hoyer

  • The striking Yucatan Jay is a quintessential part of our Yucatan and Cozumel tour.

    The striking Yucatan Jay is a quintessential part of our Yucatan and Cozumel tour. Photo: Steve Howell

  • Large populations of American Flamingo live in the Yucatan Peninsula, and we take a boat ride to get close views.

    Large populations of American Flamingo live in the Yucatan Peninsula, and we take a boat ride to get close views. Photo: Rich Hoyer

  • A Bare-throated Tiger-Heron fails to blend in amongst the mangroves.

    A Bare-throated Tiger-Heron fails to blend in amongst the mangroves. Photo: Rich Hoyer

  • Bat Falcons find nesting niches amidst the Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá.

    Bat Falcons find nesting niches amidst the Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá. Photo: Rich Hoyer

  • We make an effort to find Boat-billed Heron on our mangrove boat ride on the northern Yucatan coast.

    We make an effort to find Boat-billed Heron on our mangrove boat ride on the northern Yucatan coast. Photo: Rich Hoyer

  • A Gartered Trogon offers a taste of the tropics in the taller forests of the southern part of the peninsula.

    A Gartered Trogon offers a taste of the tropics in the taller forests of the southern part of the peninsula. Photo: Rich Hoyer

  • Endemic to the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is the Mexican Sheartail.

    Endemic to the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is the Mexican Sheartail. Photo: Rich Hoyer

  • A Reddish Egret finds shelter in a flock of Laughing Gulls on the Ria Lagartos estuary.

    A Reddish Egret finds shelter in a flock of Laughing Gulls on the Ria Lagartos estuary. Photo: Rich Hoyer

  • We usually spot the lovely Rose-throated Becard on several days of the tour.

    We usually spot the lovely Rose-throated Becard on several days of the tour. Photo: Rich Hoyer

  • The Ruddy Crakes of Cozumel Island seem to be more confiding than populations on the mainland.

    The Ruddy Crakes of Cozumel Island seem to be more confiding than populations on the mainland. Photo: Rich Hoyer

  • Unlike motmots of the rain forest, the Turquoise-browed Motmot prefers open woodland and even the scrubby deserts of the northern Yucatan.

    Unlike motmots of the rain forest, the Turquoise-browed Motmot prefers open woodland and even the scrubby deserts of the northern Yucatan. Photo: Rich Hoyer

  • We bird the Yucatan and Cozumel where many migrants such as Yellow-throated Warbler come for the winter.

    We bird the Yucatan and Cozumel where many migrants such as Yellow-throated Warbler come for the winter. Photo: Rich Hoyer

  • The petite Yucatan Woodpecker also sports a relatively short bill and a tuft of yellow feathers above the bill.

    The petite Yucatan Woodpecker also sports a relatively short bill and a tuft of yellow feathers above the bill. Photo: Rich Hoyer

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is famous for its spectacular Maya ruins, warm climate, and delicious regional cuisine. It is also a notable center of bird endemism with species such as Black-throated Bobwhite, Yellow-lored Parrot, Yucatan Woodpecker, and Yucatan Wren. This tour distills the best of the Yucatan into a short, unhurried trip that takes in the peninsula’s dry forest, coastal scrub, lagoons, mangroves, and tall humid forest before ending on Isla Cozumel, with its Caribbean flavor, island endemics, and great snorkeling. At this season many migrant warblers from eastern North America are present, and flocks of resident flamingos feed among throngs of migrant shorebirds.

Day 1: The trip begins at 6:30 pm at our hotel south of Cancún. Night in Puerto Morelos.

Day 2: Today we’ll drive south, birding at an attractive botanical garden in the morning, and stopping for lunch at the scenic Maya ruins of Tulum, overlooking the white sand beaches and turquoise waters of Mexico’s Caribbean coast. From here we’ll continue south to the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. Night in Felipe Carrillo Puerto.

The Yucatan and Cozumel tour was excellent. Can’t think of anything I’d do differently. Love having Rich as a guide. His depth of knowledge is incredible. He works hard to get everyone on the birds. He also puts together a great breakfast…

Karen Cadle, Dec. 2016

Day 3: We’ll have a full day’s birding in the rich forests near town, where species include Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Wedge-tailed Sabrewing, Keel-billed Toucan, Northern Bentbill, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Blue Bunting, and the very local Gray-throated Chat and Rose-throated Tanager. We even have a fair chance of coming across a swarm of army ants, which should be attended by Ruddy and Northern Barred Woodcreepers. Night in Felipe Carrillo Puerto.

Day 4: We’ll spend the morning birdwatching in the forest near our hotel, where we’re sure to add some new species. After lunch we’ll drive north to the picturesque Yucatan town of Valladolid, our base for the next two days. Night in Valladolid.

Day 5: We’ll depart early to visit the north coast at Rí­o Lagartos. The arid scrub here is home to two very local endemics, the tiny Mexican Sheartail and the garrulous Yucatan Wren, both of which we should see. We’ll take a boat trip through mangrove-fringed lagoons in search of American Flamingo, Reddish Egret and Boat-billed Heron. After lunch we’ll visit a nearby salt works, home to Snowy Plover, Gull-billed Tern, and large flocks of migrant shorebirds that support wintering Peregrine Falcon and Merlin. Night in Valladolid.

Day 6: This morning we’ll drive to the nearby ruins of Chichén Itzá, where the surrounding woodland will provide another taste of the Yucatan’s distinctive avifauna. Birds here include Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Turquoise-browed Motmot, Cave Swallow, Yucatan Jay, and Orange Oriole. There will be time to view the ruins, the remains of one of the most complex of all Late Classic Maya ceremonial centers. After lunch we’ll drive to Play del Carmen for a ferry ride to the Caribbean island of Cozumel. Night in Cozumel.

Day 7: Mexico’s Cozumel Island has an interesting mix of Caribbean, Yucatan Peninsula, and island-endemic birds. We’ll spend a leisurely day exploring the island in search of White-crowned Pigeon, Cozumel Emerald, Caribbean Elaenia, Black Catbird, Yucatan and Cozumel Vireos, the very distinctive and endemic form of House Wren, Western Spindalis, and the distinctive races (or species?) of Bananaquit and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Wintering migrants include Palm, Prairie, Cape May, Yellow-throated, and Swainson’s Warblers. Night in Cozumel.

Day 8: The tour concludes this morning in Cozumel. We’ll have an optional early morning walk to look for anything we may have missed before returning to the hotel for buffet breakfast and transfer to the airport for flights homeward.

Updated: 29 December 2016

Prices

  • 2017 Tour Price : $2,500
  • Single Occupancy Supplement : $290
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Notes

* Tour invoices paid by check carry a 4% discount. Details here.

This tour is limited to seven participants with one leader.