Mexico Birding

Mexican Parrotlets

We came upon these Mexican Parrotlets in a coffee field while birding in Mexico a few years ago. One of my favorite aspects of world birding is directly engaging with other lifestyles and communities.


Parrolets, Mexico. Photo: A. Alexander


Our guide didn’t drive, so he hired his friend Lupe, a taxi driver, and we had the most wonderful three days together.Β  Each day we met at the dark of dawn, spent the entire morning birding, parted for afternoon siesta, then met up again to bird in the cooler late afternoon and evening.


Northern Potoo, Mexico



People in photo, L to R: Lupe the taxi driver, Athena, Guide Armando with scope. Photo: Jet Eliot


Coffee berry worker starting his day, Mexico. Photo: Athena Alexander


We enjoyed several different boat rides, walked many fields and trails, spent time birding on the beaches and estuaries. The nearby town of San Blas is located on the Pacific coast and is a migratory hotspot for birds. We spotted over one hundred species in those three days.


Armando, our guide, liked to stop for fried pork rinds at curbside stands; and took us to a local outdoor food tent where lunch wasΒ  excellent food with made-to-order tortillas.


Armando and the boatman, Mexico. Photo: Athena Alexander

There’s nothing like travel to learn about our fellow humans, and birding is wonderful for the start of a common denominator.


Written by Jet Eliot.
Photos by Athena Alexander.

Family boarding boat, San Blas, Mexico


87 thoughts on “Mexico Birding

  1. Good morning Jet, thank you for starting my day with memories of wonderful travel. May we all be able to that do again!

    • Yes, we all look forward to travel reopening. When I think of all the people in the world whose income, and life, depends on travelers, I can’t imagine how they are getting along. Thank you, Maria, great to have you stop by.

    • Those huddled parrotlets always strike me as so adorably sociable, I’m glad you liked them. They remind me of humans–our species, too, is so sociable. Wonderful to see you today, Mike.

  2. What an unusual looking bird, the northern potoo! And what an amazing photograph Athena captured of it! How big is it? I’m trying to imagine spotting over one hundred species of birds in three days. Your life list must be incredibly long. πŸ™‚ Sounds like a wonderful trip and with meeting interesting new people, too.

    • Isn’t that a great bird, Barbara, the northern potoo. We were so excited about seeing it. It is about 15 inches long, pretty big, and nocturnal. This pose that Athena caught is how you usually see them. They perch and blend in so much you almost don’t see the bird, espec. since it’s dark. They sit stock-still, except for every once in awhile they’ll flutter out and catch a bug or moth, and then return to their perch. Tricky to photograph. We had to take a motorboat at night into a swamp to see this. It was what we call a “target bird.” We took the boat out and made the trip just to find this species. Happy to bring you along for the potoo, my friend. My warmest thanks.

      • Wow! That is a big bird! I’m so glad all the effort you two put into finding the potoo resulted in such a stunning picture. Thanks so much for sharing your adventure and the prize.

  3. Thanks so much, Jet and Athena, for taking us on another wonderful travel adventure from these long stay-at-home days!

    • Yes, we hit the jackpot on that trip with a great guide and his friendly comrades. I’d say about 90% of the time we get a good guide who is knowledgeable, excellent at birding, and fun to be with. Thanks for stopping by and enjoying a re-visit to Mexico with me, Jill.

    • I so love how art-minded you are, Janet, and your kind efforts to promote my books are so very much appreciated. You know, being a successful and hard-working artist yourself, how much work it takes to put our creations out there. I am happy to report that I am in the early stages of a new novel, this one set in the Calif. wine country. My warmest thanks for your fun visit today, Janet, and my best wishes for a lovely weekend.

      • I will look forward with great anticipation to your new book. I have spent some time in the California wine country….so very beautiful and a perfect setting for one of your novels….Keep writing:). Janet

      • Thanks so much, Janet. I’ve completed the major plotting, which is the first step. Now I’m getting to know the characters better. Great fun. My warmest thanks for your encouragement and support.

    • I am so very happy to know I brought two bird species into your world today, Anneli. That sighting in the coffee field was the only time we saw the parrotlets, so having the photos is a wonderful reminder of those adorable birds. And the potoo is a very special hard-to-get sighting in the world of birding, so I’m glad to share that avian wonder with you, too. Many thanks, Anneli.

  4. Looking forward to the day when we can huddle like those parrolets! Actually, I’d never get in a huddle like that, but the sentiment is true…
    Lovely photographs and stories here. Thanks, Jet, I enjoyed the Mexico memories you shared.

    • You gave me a smile and chuckle with your comment, pc. Those huddling parrotlets are not what us introverts care to emulate, but I’m with you, it sure would be nice to see the extroverts doing their thing without having to worry about spreading droplets. Always a joy to have our Friday post exchanges, my friend. Off to see what you’re up to. Warmest thanks.

    • This species, the Mexican parrotlet, is a highly social species. They just like to be close together. And I agree, Jan, they sure are cute. There was a whole lot of chirping when they were there, which was also cute. Cheers, my friend.

    • Yes, you are right, Craig, it is a lot to spot over 100 different bird species in three days. It’s normal for us, because we’re pretty intense when it comes to birding. But we were doing nothing but birding for three solid days, only stopping to eat and sleep. Both Athena and I find it really fun. Warm thanks.

    • I’m glad you liked the parrotlet photos, HJ. Their color is so vibrant and they were so chirpy and intimate. It was a lovely sighting, and a pleasure to share with you.

  5. thank you for sharing such a wonderful trip. Athena’s photos are always a delight. love the parrotlets! do they always stick together? they’re cute! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for stopping by, Wilma, and visiting Mexico with us. Yes, the parrotlets always stick together, they fly in large flocks and are a gregarious species. Cheers to you, and hoping your weekend is unfolding nicely.

    • Glad you liked the potoo photo, Linda. One of Athena’s other talents, besides photography, is she’s excellent with a chainsaw. We live in the woods, where they are necessary. Your comment had me envisioning a bird on a stick on one of the dead trees here. This makes me smile a lot. Thanks for your wonderful visit and comment, always a joy.

  6. Sounds like a wonderful trip. Do you arrange guides before you leave home or when you get there? I didn’t know either of these species. Loved the photos.

    As an aside, my gr-gr grandfather got stuck in San Blas for nearly 2 months on his way to California during the gold rush, which is part of my book. I can hardly imagine what it must have been like for him and his companions, no doubt unable to speak a word of Spanish! I’ll have to visit the place someday.

    • Glad you stopped by Eilene, I enjoyed your comment. Yes, a guide is arranged long in advance, and it is a risky business, not knowing the person and blindly spending large amounts of money on him/her. We always try to get a recommendation, but it doesn’t always happen. 90% of the time we have had a guide that works out to be far above our expectations. Loved hearing about your gr-gr grandfather’s stay in San Blas. I’m sure that was not an easy 2 mos for him. It’s hot, muggy, and buggy there, and of course a foreign culture. But I am pretty certain he would’ve found it beautiful. Lots of water: the ocean and many rivers and estuaries and waterways, palm trees, mangroves, and enormous amounts of birds. Thanks so much.

  7. Beautiful!! I spent time in Mexico several years ago. My spouse and I spent time at a “bird museum” that was really educational and of course had an outdoor space with live birds too. It’s great to appreciate these beautiful creatures.

    • Oh wonderful to see you, my friend. I’m glad you and your husband have enjoyed some of the birds of Mexico. I agree, it is great to appreciate them. Thanks so much.

  8. I love the photos of the little parrotlets snuggled together. They are simply adorable!! I imagine little cooing noises accompanying the snuggles.

    While i’ve never gone birding, your description reminds me of a 3-day diving expedition I went on off the Great Barrier Reef. Our first dive of the day would occur at 6 am before breakfast. My favourite memory of that trip were the large brightly coloured parrot fish huddled together with the coral reef behind them, much like your little parrotlets.

    • I enjoyed your visit and comment, Joanne. And there are many similarities of birding days to diving days. It’s very intense and focused on just that one activity, and it’s SO MUCH FUN. I, too, have had a few opportunities to enjoy the GBR, snorkeling, and there’s no place like it in the world. I hope your adventures continue once things open up again. Great to see you!

      • This stay-at-home thing has really settled in my bones and I think the greater challenge will be getting comfortable with going out again – especially with any size of crowd.

        Stay well!!

    • Both the parrotlets and potoo were lifers for us, Donna, something you can appreciate. Also, as an interesting aside, the potoo photo is one of the most visited photos on my blog site. Thought you would appreciate that as a fellow birder. I’m glad you were inspired to look them up, as they are a really special bird. Many thanks, Donna.

  9. And there’s nothing like your blog to learn about the travels and experiences of two dedicated birders and lovely humans.

    • I enjoyed your comment, Nan, and interest. Birding is such a huge part of my life, I’m always excited to share the many joys that it brings both Athena and I. Thanks so very much, as always.

  10. Pingback: Mexico Birding β€” Jet Eliot |

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this vicarious visit to Mexico, Lloyd. Wish we could get back to your incredible country again sometime soon. There’s nothing like a trip Down Under for birds, people and nature, always a lively adventure.

    • Oh that was a great trip, Bertie, I’m glad I could share it with you. Any trip where we’re 100% focused on birds is a good one, and this one was sweetened with great food, great people, and many bird species. We have a little point-and-shoot camera that has a zoom lens, and occasionally I catch a good image; glad you liked my photo too. My warmest thanks, Bertie; it’s been really great “seeing” you at my posts.

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