Apparently there are 1000 species of bird that either live in or visit Mexico. Including the handsome Yucatan jay (or Weiner Bird as it came to be known) we only got to see a tiny fraction of these birds while we were at the Grand Palladium White Sands Resort on the Mayan Riviera. Here are some of my favourite bird photos from our trip, working our way down from the hotel lobby area to the beach.
By far the most common sighting was the great tailed grackle.
They were absolutely everywhere, with little or no fear of people they even joined us at the table for lunch. There is a remarkable degree of sexual dimorphism between the male and female of this species.
The females are brown and much smaller than the males who are an iridescent black .
Around the restaurant area there are a number of ornamental pools with Koi carp. Beautiful to look at, the smaller ones were also an object of deep interest to this Mexican green heron.
These are small heron, about the size of a small chicken. Somewhat larger was this bare throated tiger heron,
who also liked hanging around the ornamental pools and hunting in the crocodile enclosure (rather him than me).
From the front he looks like he is wearing a tie.
This is a great kiskadee, which is a tyrant flycatcher. These were also very common, often hanging about in pairs we saw them in the mangroves and on the beach as well as in the hotel gardens.
Flycatcher is a bit of a misnomer these are relatively large birds, somewhere between a starling and a jackdaw, and they will take small mammals and lizards as well as insects.
The hotel gardens were also a good place to see the orange oriole,
and the northern mockingbird. Big thanks here to HJ Ruiz of Avian 101, whose wonderful blog of North American bird photography helped me to identify the mockingbird.
On the verges of the mangroves we encountered these plain chachalacas bustling around in the leaf litter.
These are about the size of a wood-pigeon and hang around in family groups. They eat seeds and fruit. the name is derived from the call which sounds like Cha-Cha-la-Ka.
Down on the beach there were of course lots of gulls.
I think they were laughing gulls (mind you if any gull experts out there think otherwise please let me know) in their winter plumage. We also saw frigate birds soaring on the thermals and osprey and terns diving for fish. Occasionally we’d be joined by a group of brown pelicans.
Last time we were on the Mayan Riviera one of them joined us at the saltwater pool (which is always a good excuse for reusing an old photo)
These semipalmated plovers were also quite a common site on the rocks by the saltwater pool,
The picture I am most pleased with is this one of a sanderling,
not because they are unusual or anything like that (you get them in the UK and many other places, but because the little devils are so fast. I have tens of discarded blurred images of these little chaps, but this one is just the ticket.