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Mexico Baja California Sur

Xantus' Hummingbird Hylocharis xantusii ©Tom Haglund

Baja California Sur hasn't been a known birding hotspot for a couple of pretty good reasons; want of information because all major promotion is for other activities, and ease of access is recent and yet a touch rustic for many. Not, repeat, NOT for want of birds.

The peninsula's southern half hosts dozens of species of shorebirds and pelagics, three of doves, multitudes of raptors and scavengers, hummingbirds, songbirds, swallows, thrashers, quail, flycatchers, orioles, woodpeckers, wrens, cardinals, sparrows, waterfowl, corvids, and many, many others. There are endemics and migrators, nesters and vagrants, the bold and the very shy.

The northernmost major town in the state is Guerrero Negro, whose vast wetlands are seasonally alive with Black Brant, ducks and teal, and all the waders and fish chasers found on the central stretch of the Pacific coast. At the other end, San Jose del Cabo is divided by an estuary that is already one of the very few regularly visited birding spots in the state. Between lie more than a thousand miles of coastline, both Pacific and Gulf, that have been pretty much off the path of birders.

Bahia Magdelena is hundreds of square miles of salt water between barrier islands and mangrove channels and supports an astounding number and variety of birds. Mulegé is on the Gulf of California at the mouth of the river of the same name and is another flyway stopover and year-round water bird haven. Loreto is where we can see it almost literally rain pelicans, boobies, terns, cormorants, and gulls as they bombard huge shoals of sardines all along the waterfront every morning and evening. The islands of both the Pacific and especially the Gulf teem with seabirds.

The desert and mountains that separate the seas are not a sprawl of sameness as many believe but are varied in elevations, micro climates, and vegetation zones providing habitat for large populations of wildlife, including birds, birds, and more birds.

This recently opened up setting is perhaps different than the regular birder is used to. If you like to prop your scope on the hood of your car and spot in comfort and ease, BCS is perhaps not your dish. If you know about rough trails, good shoes, and proper hydration, you may have found here that magical place where you're not standing right where some other person has stood and looking at the same bird.

Contributor

Tom Haglund

bcsbirds@cox.net

Useful Reading

Birds We See

A photo log of the birds of the area… See http://www.BirdsWeSee.com for details

Fieldguides, CDs etc.

For a selection of appropriate fieldguides and CDs etc see the general Mexico page of Fatbirder…

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2004 [April] - Monterey Seabirds Pelagics

Report

Baja California Sur - The Cape Region, Midriff Islands and Sea of Cortez…

2008 [February] - Scott Bowers

Report

I took a flight to San Jose del Cabo where I met up with a friend of mine. We rented a car and checked out sites in the area. This trip included two nights on Isla Espiritu Santo…

2012 [March] - Brian Gibbons - El Triunfo

Report PDF

…The dry thorn forest at the lowest elevations of the park produced a lovely Red-breasted Chat, White-lored Gnatcatcher, White-throated Magpie-Jays, and other beautiful birds of this woodland. The hunt for the Belted Flycatcher was an exercise in patience and distractions. The first distraction was the most obliging Pheasant Cuckoo ever…

2013 [July] - Petri Hottola

PDF Report

Among the subspecies/species, only Baird’s Junco was missed. Le Conte’s Thrasher, or whatever the eventual identity of the Baja subspecies/species (Vizcaino Thrasher?) may be, occurs only in the Central Baja. Baja California Sur is also relatively good for mammals. The following species were recorded: Black-tail Jackrabbit 1 Punta Arena, 2 Sierra La Laguna, Brush Rabbit 2 La Paz Sewage Works (LPSW), White-tail Antelope Squirrel 2 Punta Arena, 3 LPSW, California Sea Lion 2 at Punta Coyote, and 3 Sperm Whales, a Fin Whale and a pod of two hundred Bottle-nosed Dolphins also at Punta Coyote…

2013 [March] - Brian Gibbons - El Triunfo

Report PDF

… Our first morning took us to the spectacular limestone cliffs that create Sumidero Canyon. Russet-crowned Motmot, White-lored Gnatcatcher, orioles, warblers, hummingbirds, and buntings entertained us…

Guides & Tour Operators

Baja Motion Tours

Tour Operator

Baja Motion Tours offers hotels, resorts, luxury villas, and condominiums throughout Baja. Our most popular destinations are Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo, at the tip of the Baja peninsula. North of Cabo is La Paz, a paradise on the Sea of Cortez. La Paz is the capital of Baja California Sur and offers all the amenities of a first class resort, typically at a slightly lower cost.

Independent Guide - Maria Elena Muriel

Guide

I lead bird-watching groups based in Cabo san Luca to see the endemics such as the Belding’s Yellowthroat, Xantus Hummingbird and Gray Thrasher. For people who don’t have much time it take us just 4 hours to see at least those three birds, and many other such as Cactus Wren, Phainopepla, Cassin's Kingbird and others. I can also lead you to see the other endemics such as Cape Pygmy Owl and San Lucas Robin on full-day trips or over several days…

Places to Stay

Club Cabo Hotel Resort & Campground

Accommodation

We hope your stay will be very pleasant as we invite you to stay with Club Cabo Hotel and Campground Resort, a very unique place to stay. We are nestled under a canopy of mesquite trees in the center of a bird sanctuary, close to the beach.

Hotel Oasis

Accommodation

Hotel Oasis has been the sport fisherman's and nature enthusiast's favorite since being established in 1960. Located right on the beach at the South end of the main boardwalk (malecon) in Loreto, Baja California Sur, Hotel Oasis offers easy access to local shops, restaurants, and historic sites. The town's international airport is only 4 miles away and has a daily flight from Los Angeles through Aerocalifornia.

Blogs

Birds We See

Blog

We have become avid birders and our birding mainly takes place in Baja California Sur, Mexico and the great Pacific Northwest. But we are not stopping there! We now have intentions of traveling the USA in our Chevrolet (Winnebago) and bringing you our nature photos, ;birds eye views; posting and comments and books on birding and nature, which the first of these has just been released…

Other Links

Baja & the Gulf of California

Website

Wedged between the peninsula and the mainland of Mexico is the Gulf of California—better known in the U.S. as the "Sea of Cortez." This region is characterized by rugged coastlines, cardon cactus, sandy beaches, coastal lagoons, coral reefs and palm oases…

Checklist - Birds of Baja California Sur

Checklist

Endemic Birds of Baja California

Website

Baja California is home to six endemic birds. Although many of the North American Birds can be found in Baja California there are six birds that can be found only in Baja….