Posted by: Frame To Frame - Bob and Jean | December 12, 2016

Our Unforgettable Birding Trip near San Blas

In the depths of the mangrove swamp near San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico

In our quest to see and photograph as many different species of tropical birds as possible while visiting San Blas, one of the best locations in all of Mexico for birding, a boat tour into the mangrove swamps was a must-do activity for Bob and me.  And what could be more perfect than a languid birding boat trip through La Tovara National Park, a federally protected ecological preserve?

Boarding a boat in San Blas for ride through the mangrove swamp, Mexico

On our first morning in San Blas, at the recommendation of Josefina at Hotel Garza Canela where we were staying, we hired a knowledgeable guide, Chencho, to take us on a birding trip through the San Cristobal mangrove estuary and deep into the mangrove swamps.  The tour would cost 800 pesos ($80) and was booked for a 3 p.m. start.

Photo of the San Cristobal River near San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico

Our guided birding tour began near the El Conchal Bridge at the edge of town and proceeded first toward the mouth of the San Cristobal River where it joins the Pacific Ocean.

Photo of a boat on the San Cristobal River heading to the mangrove swamp near San Blas, Mexico

Chencho’s given name is Jose Inocencio Banuelos, but for simplicity’s sake, he goes by the nickname Chencho.  He is a skilled boatman and birding guide so with him at the helm, Bob and I had every hope of finding the must-see birds along our route.  The afternoon was hot, but we had come prepared for the chilly temperatures that would creep into the mangrove swamps once the sun set.

Photo of the shoreline along the San Cristobal River near San Blas, Mexico

As we motored toward the El Conchal Estuary, that large open area where the river’s current meets the sea’s tide, exposed mud flats along the river’s edge testified to the low tide at our outset.  These mud flats soon revealed a good number of bird species that had come to forage in the brackish water and soft sediment.

Photo of a Tri-colored Heron along the San Cristobal River near San Blas, Mexico

One of the first birds to catch our eye was a Tri-coloured Heron…

Closeup photo of a Tri-colored Heron along the San Cristobal River near San Blas, Mexico

another of which kept vigil on a mound of rocks that marked the beginning of the smaller Tovara waterway, a narrow channel into the mangrove swamp.

Photo of a White Ibis and Stilt Sandpiper along the San Cristobal River near San Blas, Mexico

A White Ibis and (Stilt) Sandpiper kept each other company seeking bits of seafood in the viscous mud, but the Ibis sank much lower in the soft footing making its movements more sluggish.

Photo of a Great Egret along the San Cristobal River near San Blas, Mexico

We had been promised lots of bird sightings and were well on our way to drawing up a long list.  A pair of Great Egrets stood out against the shade-darkened shore, one laying sprawled on the mud…

Source:  Our Unforgettable Birding Trip In the Mangrove Swamp near San Blas


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