A Lincolns Sparrow at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

A Lincolns Sparrow at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

Lincoln's sparrow at zitacuaro, michoacan, mexico, 8

Before we even arrived at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano in Zitacuaro, Mexico, we knew it was going to be someplace special.  Not only was the location centrally-located in relation to three nearby monarch butterfly preserves, but it also turned out to be a haven for interesting birds given the lush grounds and proximity to a sheltered river valley.  To our surprise, one day at lunch, a brave Lincolns Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) fluttered to the ground next to our sunlit table and cast a curious glance our way. Read more

A Berylline Hummingbird at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

A Berylline Hummingbird at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

Berylline Hummingbird sitting on a tree at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano in Zitacuaro, Mexico

During the course of our stay at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano in Zitacuaro, Mexico, Bob and I observed several different species of hummingbirds, but it always seemed that they were either far away or prone to disappear as soon as we got near.  On our hike down to the river adjacent to the hotel, we came across this Berylline Hummingbird basking in the morning sun. Read more

Nashville Warbler at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

Nashville Warbler at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

Nashville Warbler sitting in a tree at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano, Zitacuaro, Mexico 6

What a pleasure to find a Nashville Warbler lingering in the wooded valley next to our accommodations in Zitacuaro, Mexico.  Our morning walk into the depths of the shady glen was completed more out of curiosity than anything else.  It served as a bit of exercise after a hearty breakfast and pleased our senses with the sights and sounds of tropical plants and surroundings.  The presence of dozens of songbirds was an unexpected bonus. Read more

Vermilion Flycatchers at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

Vermilion Flycatchers at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano

Vermilion Flycatcher, male, zitacuaro, michoacan, mexico 2

Bob and I arrived at Hotel Rancho San Cayetano in Zitacuaro, Mexico, late in the afternoon after having landed in Mexico City that morning, so it wasn’t until the next day that we set out for a walk to explore the extensive landscaped grounds surrounding the well-kept resort.  That is when we came upon a Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) that was frequenting a bench in one spacious area of open lawn. Read more

Roosters Cockfighting near Ocampo in Mexico

Roosters Cockfighting near Ocampo in Mexico

roosters cockfighting near angangueo - mexico 4

The second morning following our arrival in Mexico, Bob and I took full advantage of a perfect sunny day to go to Santuario de la Mariposa Monarca “El Rosario” to witness the phenomenon of wintering Monarchs by the millions.  Getting there was half the adventure, and unexpected sights such as a spur-of-the-moment cockfight at roadside certainly made the trip interesting. Read more

Visiting Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary on Horseback

Visiting Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary on Horseback

Bob horseback riding to the Cerro Pelon Butterfly Sanctuary, near Macheros, Mexico

Even before we left Canada for Mexico, Bob and I had planned to visit all three of the monarch butterfly sanctuaries that are near Zitacuaro.  Pablo, the host at our hotel, Hotel Rancho San Cayetano, was very pleased that we included Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in our plans.  Of the three that we would visit, Cerro Pelon is the least known and hence less visited, two pluses in our book, but perhaps it is for good reason.  To reach the roosting location of the butterflies, riding on horseback is almost a necessity.  It made for quite the adventure. Read more

Our Visit to the Pyramids of San Felipe de los Alzati

Our Visit to the Pyramids of San Felipe de los Alzati

pyramids of san felipe de los alzati, zitacuaro, mexico

Two butterfly reserves down and one to go, so Bob and I decided to give it a break and check out the local pyramids.  We were becoming quite familiar with Highway 15 being the main road in and out of Zitacuaro, and again we were headed northwest, this time in the direction of Tuxpan.  Our goal was the Pyramids of San Felipe de los Alzati just outside a small village of the same name.  Long before we uncovered the secret trail to the pyramids, we saw them looming on a distant hill. Read more

An Hepatic Tanager at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Reserve in Mexico

An Hepatic Tanager at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Reserve in Mexico

Hepatic Tanager -male- on rope fence at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Reserve, in Michoacán, Mexico

As Bob and I climbed the mountain at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Reserve in Mexico, we were on the alert for any new bird species living in that forest habitat.  It wasn’t until we returned to the visitor centre back at the trailhead that we were treated to a sighting of Hepatic Tanagers. Read more

In the Midst of Monarch Butterflies at Sierra Chincua Sanctuary in Mexico

In the Midst of Monarch Butterflies at Sierra Chincua Sanctuary in Mexico

Monarch butterflies on a fir bough at Sierra Chincua Butterfly Sanctuary near Angangueo, Mexico

There are eight butterfly colonies that exist in protected areas of Mexico, five of which are located in the state of Michoacan, but only two of these are open to the public.  We wanted to check out both for the different experiences that they provide.  On Day 4 of our trip, we retraced the route towards Angangueo and then branched off towards the Sierra Chincua Butterfly Reserve.  Although smaller in scope, with fewer butterflies overall, we were actually able to get closer to those resting in the trees. Read more

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