Durango Highway & San Blas, Mexico

22 February - 2 March 2010

In late February we flew down to Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico to join Mark Pretti (www.markprettinaturetours.com) on a west Mexico birding and natural history tour.  (Robert had done this same tour 7 years ago; this time Liza got to go too!)

From Mark's tour info:

Harboring about ten percent of Earth's biodiversity, Mexico is one of the most biologically rich countries in the world.  During this natural history and birding adventure, we'll explore and learn about some of that richness as we travel along the Durango Highway in southern Sinaloa and in and around the town of San Blas, Nayarit.

Tropical deciduous forest, the pine-oak woodland of the Sierra Madre, tropical rivers, mangrove forests, beaches, and a shade grown coffee plantation (www.capulin.com) make up the varied habitats we'll visit.  Amidst the exotic vegetation of cecropia, gumbo limbo, strangler fig, rosa amarilla, cohune palm, and red mangrove, we should encounter military macaw, tufted and San Blas jays, red warbler, red-headed tanager, russet-crowned motmot, up to four species of trogon, golden vireo, bumblebee hummingbird, green and spiny-tailed iguanas, colorful tropical butterflies, and many other natural treats.

And mostly we did...saw most of the target birds, and very much enjoyed the landscapes, iguanas, american crocodiles, butterflies...coffee, food...was a great trip with a fabulous naturalist.

Click here for a map...

Click here to see our trip bird list (201 species seen by either or both of us...)

Copala & the Sierra Madre | In and Around San Blas | Birds and Crocs

Click photos to enlarge...

Copala & the Sierra Madre

The Mazatlan airport

Mountain village of Copala, mostly east
of Mazatlan on the Durango Highway

Copala - legend and tradition,

Liza at the Hotel Daniel in Copala
(nice rocking chairs)

The dining area at the Hotel Daniel

Sit here for breakfast and wait to hear
the military macaws!

I think they gave up trying to teach
Americans the spanish word for "pie"

Banana-coconut cream pie was
a specialty of the region

On the trail

Flowering combretum vine - very
popular with the birds

Interesting palms

Don't, repeat don't, fall against
this tree trunk!

And don't hit this fat thorn on the tree
either - ants live in there and protect
the tree, they will charge out to get you
at the slightest provocation

The stone-cobbled road into Copala

Tile roof

The church in Copala

Robert on the trail

Lush landscape

Long view of Copala from off the
Durango Highway - you can see
(if you look at the big version) the
church in the village

Church and zocalo

The zocalo

Interesting sign - says don't buy
green parrots because they are

Copala, zocalo, uno vez mas

Nice mural near the zocalo

One last church shot - fairly

Upper row l-r - first two are ceramics
from Puebla bought in Copala; the far
right is from Spain...compares well!
Bottom row: sun, moon, and eclipse
purchased in Copala

Copala & the Sierra Madre | In and Around San Blas | Birds and Crocs

Click photos to enlarge...