Mexico, The Yucatan, Day 11 - Hormiguero & Nuevo Conhuas, 23 February 2020

A change of plan today. We were originally planning on a 2nd day at Calakmul but for 2 reasons we changed our minds - we felt we'd 'done' Calakmul and also we needed to head back to Zpujil for petrol as we didn't have enough to do the 120km round trip to Calakmul and then 90km west to the next petrol station tomorrow.

So, we hatched a plan to visit the ruins at Hormiguero south of Zpujil. I'd read about this site in just one trip report but it seems to be off most birder's radars. Having now been it should be on all itineraries because it was superb! Things didn't start off too well because we arrived to find the gate padlocked! After much asking around in the village a guy eventually turned up and let us in. Down the 8km entrance track we parked at an abandoned campground and walked about a 1km to the ruins themselves. On the walk I scored with my first new bird Greenish Elaenia plus Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, Hooded Warbler and Black-and-white Warbler. We then spent a wonderful 5 hours at this lovely site with nobody else about - bliss! The birding was seriously good too - a pair of Bat Falcons spent ages perched up by the main ruin and in the same area a pair of Pale-billed Woodpeckers gave me the run around before I managed a shot or two. A distant Keel-billed Toucan, Plain Chachalaca, 2 Squirrel Cuckoos, 2 Green-backed Sparrows, 2 Ovenbirds, White-bellied Wren, Spot-breasted Wren, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Green Jay, Brown Jay, Roadside Hawk, Northern Bentbill and Eye-ringed Flatbill goes to show how good the place was. Most pleasing of all however were a pair of Blue Ground Doves of which the lovely male perched just long enough for me to get a good shot.       

On the walk back to the car a small flock of birds crossed the track featuring 2 Tawny-crowned Greenlets and Rufous-browed Peppershrike and then I hit the jackpot with male and female Black-throated Shrike-tanagers! Over a late sandwich lunch at the car we had c6 Red-throated Ant Tanagers, Ruddy Woodcreeper and a Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner close to the car and then Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a nice view of a Yucatan Flycaycher.

Things were quieter when we had a short hot walk after lunch but I did get a nice look at 2 Northern Bearless Tyrannulets.  

A mega male Kentucky Warbler was briefly on a kerbstone as we drove out and back along the entrance track a small pond held 11 Cattle Egrets, several Indigo Buntings and a Little Blue Heron.

Bat Falcon

Blue Ground Dove

Yucatan Flycatcher

Ruddy Woodcreeper

Red-throated Ant Tanager

Pale-billed Woodpecker

Back at Nuevo Conhuas with a full tank of fuel we had another short walk seeing an educational Yellow-bellied Elaenia in a weedy field by the cabanas together with Blue-black Grassquit plus Red-billed Pigeon, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, 7 Groove-billed Ani, 2 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Yucatan Parrot, Orchard Oriole and several Grey-breasted Martins.

Yellow-bellied Elaenia

Groove-billed Ani

              Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

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