Pantanos de Centla – Mexico’s Main Marshes

A Pinnated Bittern

by Rich Hoyer on April 5, 2011 · 3 comments

in Birding Neotropics

Our final day of the week-long tour of Mexico’s Lacandon Rain Forest and the Maya Ruins.

We had a relaxed morning at our Palenque hotel. The birding from the open-air dining hall at breakfast was actually quite good. A marauding troop of Red-throated Ant-Tanagers entertained us as they stole bites from the fruit platters waiting for the later diners. We also spent some time watching this Golden-fronted Woodpecker excavating a cavity in a coconut palm.

Then it was time to head towards Villahermosa where we spent the final night of our tour. A direct drive is only an hour and a half, but we took the detour through a small part of the Pantanos de Centla, a huge area of freshwater marshes. Here is a concentration of mostly Caspian Terns and Blue-winged Teal, with a few Northern Shovelers and American Coots thrown in.

The Limpkins, Bare-throated Tiger-Herons, and Snail Kites were too numerous to keep a close count (not to mention the utterly countless herons, egrets, ducks, and jacanas), and we had great views of rarer Pinnated Bittern, Black-collared Hawk and Gray-necked Wood-Rail, as well as good comparisons of Glossy and White-faced Ibises. Here’s an immature Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, the plumage after which the group gets its name.

Next year Steve Howell is scheduled to lead this tour (Feb 25 – March 4), but I’ll be joining as a second leader if there are enough participants. I sure hope there are, as I really look forward to returning.

Photo at top: Pinnated Bittern. All photos by Rich Hoyer

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