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Expired tour dates at the top of this schedule will be updated as soon as possible. The dates are likely to be close to what is listed, simply one year later. Check back for recent updates.



. . . . . 2014 TOUR SCHEDULE . . . . .



OAXACA, MEXICO

A Myriad of Mexican Endemics
3 December 2014 - 13 December 2014, 11 days & 10 nights

The state of Oaxaca is wonderfully diverse in flora and fauna, history, culture, cuisine, and scenery.  This tour is designed to provide optimum exposure to this richness at a comfortable pace, while enjoying unique and superb lodging experiences, great natural history and birds, and fascinating cultural experiences.  While in the city of Oaxaca we'll stay at the charming Hotel Azucenas, a wonderful place with an intimate atmosphere located in a great neighborhood.  From there we'll visit the arid scrub around Teotitlan del Valle, a Zapotec town well known for its fine weavings.  On past trips we've seen as many as 80 species of birds in this area.  These include White-throated Towhee, Boucard's Wren, Ocellated Thrasher, Oaxaca and Bridled Sparrows, Dusky  Hummingbird, White-tailed Hawk, Gray-breasted Woodpecker, Golden Vireo, Black-vented Oriole, Elegant Euphonia, and many others. To the north, in the Sierra Juarez, we'll enjoy rich cloud forest with spectacularly large agaves and numerous flowering plants.  We'll have good opportunities to find the endemic Dwarf Jay, plus Gray-barred Wren, Golden-browed and Red Warblers, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Collared Towhee, Chestnut-capped and Rufous-capped Brush-Finches, Hooded Yellowthroat, Amethyst-throated Hummingbird, Mountain Trogon, and Gray-breasted Wood-Wren.  We'll also enjoy a superb lunch at a mountain restaurant that serves the best chiles rellenos I've ever had. We'll trade the color of Oaxaca City for the color of the Sierra Miahuatlan where we spend the night.  Our hotel is on a mountain ridge surrounded by pine forest and many flowering plants that attract hummingbirds and Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer.  We then traverse a spectacular transect as we descend from the high mountains to the Pacific Coast.  We spend more time in the pines and oaks and make many stops in the broadleaf evergreen forests of the coffee growing areas. Along the way, we've had good luck in finding Bumblebee Hummingbird, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch, Slaty Vireo, Red-headed Tanager, Common Bush-Tanager, Blue-capped Hummingbird, Fan-tailed Warbler, Eye-ringed Flatbill, Emerald Toucanet, Audubon's Oriole, Gray Silky-Flycatcher, and many more. On the Pacific Coast, we'll stay at the lovely and unique Rancho Cerro Largo where White-throated Magpie-Jay, Banded and Rufous-naped Wrens, Russet-crowned Motmot, Lesser Ground-Cuckoo, Orange-breasted Bunting, Red-breasted Chat, and Citreoline Trogon can be found right on the lodge grounds. Out over the Pacific, we'll see Red-billed Tropicbirds and Brown Boobies soaring with Magnificent Frigatebirds.  In the nearby forest we should find Colima Pygmy-Owl, Happy Wren, Orange-breasted, Painted, and Blue Buntings, Yellow-winged Cacique, Golden-cheeked Woodpecker, and many other avian wonders. In the Puerto Escondido area we visit the mouth of the Rio Colotepec, which is wonderfully rich in waders, shorebirds, and terns, and also the Laguna Manialtepec, a mangrove-lined lagoon where we should see Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Mangrove Vireo and Mangrove Swallow, Collared Plover, and possibly Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, Mangrove Cuckoo, Aplomado Falcon, and Gray-necked Wood-Rail. Our journey combines exciting birding, rich natural history, outstanding food, the warm hospitality of the people of Oaxaca, and a suite of memorable cultural experiences. These include a visit with one of the master Zapotec weavers, a tour of the ancient ruins of Monte Alban, a visit to the Oaxaca Cultural Museum, a tour of Finca El Pacifico (a bird-rich, shade grown, organic coffee plantation), and the trip highlight, a day of culture, cuisine, ethnobotany (and some birding) with the staff of Seasons of My Heart Cooking School.  Mark Pretti is your tour leader.  The tour fee is approximately $2900.

Price: $2900.00 from Oaxaca City, Mexico    

Itinerary Photos Previous Tours Past Checklists Pay Balance Due





. . . . . 2015 TOUR SCHEDULE . . . . .



OAXACA, MEXICO

A Myriad of Mexican Endemics
6 January 2015 - 16 January 2015, 11 days & 10 nights

The state of Oaxaca is wonderfully diverse in flora and fauna, history, culture, cuisine, and scenery. This tour is designed to provide optimum exposure to this richness at a comfortable pace, while enjoying unique and superb lodging experiences, great natural history and birds, and fascinating cultural experiences.  While in the city of Oaxaca we'll stay at the charming Hotel Azucenas, a wonderful place with an intimate atmosphere located in a great neighborhood.  From there we'll visit the arid scrub around Teotitlan del Valle, a Zapotec town well known for its fine weavings. On past trips we've seen as many as 80 species of birds in this area. These include White-throated Towhee, Boucard's Wren, Ocellated Thrasher, Oaxaca and Bridled Sparrows, Dusky  Hummingbird, White-tailed Hawk, Gray-breasted Woodpecker, Golden Vireo, Black-vented Oriole, Elegant Euphonia, and many others. To the north, in the Sierra Juarez, we'll enjoy rich cloud forest with spectacularly large agaves and numerous flowering plants.  We'll have good opportunities to find the endemic Dwarf Jay, plus Gray-barred Wren, Golden-browed and Red Warblers, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Collared Towhee, Chestnut-capped and Rufous-capped Brush-Finches, Hooded Yellowthroat, Amethyst-throated Hummingbird, Mountain Trogon, and Gray-breasted Wood-Wren. We'll also enjoy a superb lunch at a mountain restaurant that serves the best chiles rellenos I've ever had. We'll trade the color of Oaxaca City for the color of the Sierra Miahuatlan where we spend the night. Our hotel is on a mountain ridge surrounded by pine forest and many flowering plants that attract hummingbirds and Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer. We then traverse a spectacular transect as we descend from the high mountains to the Pacific Coast. We spend more time in the pines and oaks and make many stops in the broadleaf evergreen forests of the coffee growing areas. Along the way, we've had good luck in finding Bumblebee Hummingbird, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch, Slaty Vireo, Red-headed Tanager, Common Bush-Tanager, Blue-capped Hummingbird, Fan-tailed Warbler, Eye-ringed Flatbill, Emerald Toucanet, Audubon's Oriole, Gray Silky-Flycatcher, and many more. On the Pacific Coast, we'll stay at the lovely and unique Rancho Cerro Largo where White-throated Magpie-Jay, Banded and Rufous-naped Wrens, Russet-crowned Motmot, Lesser Ground-Cuckoo, Orange-breasted Bunting, Red-breasted Chat, and Citreoline Trogon can be found right on the lodge grounds. Out over the Pacific, we'll see Red-billed Tropicbirds and Brown Boobies soaring with Magnificent Frigatebirds.  In the nearby forest we should find Colima Pygmy-Owl, Happy Wren, Orange-breasted, Painted, and Blue Buntings, Yellow-winged Cacique, Golden-cheeked Woodpecker, and many other avian wonders. In the Puerto Escondido area we visit the mouth of the Rio Colotepec, which is wonderfully rich in waders, shorebirds, and terns, and also the Laguna Manialtepec, a mangrove-lined lagoon where we should see Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Mangrove Vireo and Mangrove Swallow, Collared Plover, and possibly Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, Mangrove Cuckoo, Aplomado Falcon, and Gray-necked Wood-Rail. Our journey combines exciting birding, rich natural history, outstanding food, the warm hospitality of the people of Oaxaca, and a suite of memorable cultural experiences. These include a visit with one of the master Zapotec weavers, a tour of the ancient ruins of Monte Alban, a visit to the Oaxaca Cultural Museum, a tour of Finca El Pacifico (a bird-rich, shade grown, organic coffee plantation), and the trip highlight, a day of culture, cuisine, ethnobotany (and some birding) with the staff of Seasons of My Heart Cooking School.  Mark Pretti is your tour leader.  The tour fee is approximately $2900.

Price: $2900.00 from Oaxaca City, Mexico    

Itinerary Photos Previous Tours Past Checklists Pay Balance Due



SAN BLAS, MEXICO

GREAT BIRDING in DIVERSE HABITATS with MANY ENDEMICS
24 January 2015 - 1 February 2015, 9 days & 8 nights

The West Coast of Mexico is home to many of this amazing country's endemic species, and San Blas is the ideal location from which to search for these birds. This quaint fishing village offers easy access to the ocean, lagoons, beaches, mangroves, and arid scrubland, plus pine-oak woodland at higher elevation. In the arid thornforest that surrounds the coastal areas we should find endemics such as Rufous-bellied Chachalaca, Elegant Quail, Mexican Parrotlet, Citreoline Trogon, San Blas and Purplish-backed Jays, and Happy and Sinaloa Wrens. Rufous-crowned Motmot and Golden Vireo will be in evidence here and farther up the hillsides, where a past tour yielded excellent looks at Colima Pygmy-Owl and the elusive Rosy Thrush-Tanager. Our only full-day trip away from San Blas will be to the higher elevation pine-oak forests of Cerro de San Juan. Mixed species flocks here include White-striped Woodcreeper, Crescent-chested and Fan-tailed Warblers, and Red-headed Tanager, while Spotted Wren and Rusty-crowned Ground-Sparrow inhabit the understory and Brown-backed Solitaire gives its eerie song from the forest canopy. During two river trips we'll search for mangrove specialties including Boat-billed Heron, Rufous-necked Wood-Rail, Mangrove Cuckoo, and many wading birds and shorebirds on the mudflats and lagoons. An ocean boat ride will give us excellent looks at Blue-footed and Brown Boobies, plus a chance for Red-billed Tropicbird and several pelagic species. Add to all this an incredible beach for swimming, and more endemics including Golden-cheeked Woodpecker, the majestic Black-throated Magpie-Jay, Sinaloa Crow, and Yellow-winged Cacique right in town, and you can see why San Blas is truly a birder's delight. Bob Schutsky is the scheduled tour leader.

Price: $3295.00 from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico    

Itinerary Photos Previous Tours Past Checklists Pay Balance Due



EL TRIUNFO, CHIAPAS, MEXICO

BIRDING & NATURAL HISTORY IN MEXICO'S GREAT WILDERNESS
9 March 2015 - 18 March 2015, 10 days & 9 nights

Harboring about ten percent of Earth's biodiversity, Mexico is one of the most biologically rich countries in the world. During this birding and natural history adventure, we'll explore and learn about much of that richness as we travel through what is one of the last great wilderness areas in Mexico, the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve. Though somewhat rigorous, the tour to El Triunfo stands as one of the greatest natural history adventures that I (Mark) have personally ever experienced. The week that we'll spend hiking in and enjoying the cloud forests of southern Mexico will be highlighted by some of the best birding in the world, as well as by the warm hospitality of our Mexican hosts. Our tour begins in Tuxtla Gutierrez, where we'll spend a morning enjoying the tropical deciduous forest and great scenery of Sumidero Canyon. Here we'll look for dry forest specialists such as White-throated Magpie-Jay, Nutting's Flycatcher, White-lored Gnatcatcher, Streak-backed Oriole, Banded Wren, and the rare Belted Flycatcher. From Tuxtla we'll head south to the small town of Jaltenango, our take-off point for El Triunfo. We'll spend six unforgettable days birding, hiking, and enjoying the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve. Amidst the towering, epiphyte-laden trees, we'll have chances to see Resplendent Quetzal, Emerald Toucanet, Black-throated and Unicolored Jays, Mountain and Black Thrushes, Green-throated Mountain-Gem, Yellow-throated and Chestnut-capped Brush-Finches, Spotted and Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrushes, Blue-throated Motmot, Highland Guan, Fulvous Owl, and the rare prize of the area, the Horned Guan. From the high elevation ridges, we'll descend for three days through pristine forests, stopping to camp at lovely spots where we'll likely find White-eared Ground-Sparrow, Long-tailed Manakin, Cabanis' Tanager, Rufous Sabrewing, Rufous-and-white Wren, White-winged Tanager, perhaps the rare Prevost's Ground-Sparrow, and many others. We'll conclude our adventure in Tapachula at a comfortable hotel with grounds that are home to Giant Wren, White-bellied Chachalaca, Orange-chinned Parakeet, and Pacific Screech-Owl. While this trip is highly exhilarating in terms of the natural wonders we'll experience, it is physically challenging with hikes of 4-7 miles and tent camping for three nights. The tour will be led by Mark Pretti and local expert Jorge Montejo.  Group size is limited to eight participants.  The tour fee is approximately $2900.

Price: $2900.00 from Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico    

Itinerary Photos Previous Tours Past Checklists Pay Balance Due