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Mexico, 2020

Early in 2020 we took a trip to Mexico. We started out in Mexico City, where I didn't take any photos except at one spot (the first subsection) — we were too busy eating amazing food. Then we went down to Oaxaca, where the food was also amazing (tamales!), but where I did take a few more photos. These photos are either 50% reductions in pixel size, or crops to 50% of pixel size in order to zoom in on birds. They've been adjusted for brightness/contrast only.
Desierto de los Leones
Desierto de los Leones is a beautiful park located a short drive outside Mexico City. There's an old convent there, dating back to the 17th century, some of which is now in ruins. It has beautiful gardens, and is also supposed to be a good spot for birding although I saw relatively few birds there (and did not photograph any).
Bird photos
While at Desierto de los Leones, I managed to break my camera lens, but the camera itself was unharmed. I therefore put my long lens, for bird photography, onto the camera for the rest of the trip, and pretty much the only photos I took were bird photos since the zoom lens isn't good for regular photos. These are not the most amazing bird photos ever, but they might be of interest to birders, and they represent some of my first forays into bird photography, so what the heck.

We start on a dusty road going up into the mountains north of Oaxaca, with a panoramic view back down across the valley. The center photo is a Brown-backed Solitaire, which has a lovely fluting call; the right shows a Boucard's Wren, a local endemic which we were lucky to see so close.
Below left is a Strong-billed Woodcreeper; center is a Red Warbler (very cute; we also saw him at Desierto de los Leones); right is a Crescent-chested Warbler.
Below L-R are a Hutton's Vireo (I think; it's always hard to separate from Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but note the break in the eye ring at top); a Mexican Chickadee; and a Gray Silky-flycatcher.
Next L-R are a Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay; a Great Kiskadee; and a Black-vented Oriole.
Here L-R are an Indigo Bunting (a moulting juvenile, I think); a Bridled Sparrow; and a White-throated Towhee.
Below L-R are another Gray Silky-flycatcher (they love to perch at the very tops of trees, as in this photo on a foggy morning up in the cloud forest); a Steller's Jay (note the white eyebrow, this is a different subspecies than I'm used to in California); and a Rivoli's (or Magnificent) Hummingbird.
L-R are a Hepatic Tanager; a Black Phoebe (an old friend from California); and a Townsend's Warbler.
Next, L-R, are three fairly local endemic birds that were very difficult to see; we spent a lot of time searching for these, and when we finally found them they were very shy! First, a Red-headed Tanager; then a Slaty Vireo; and on the right, a Mountain Trogon. These are not great photos, but they weren't easy to get!
Below L-R are a Northern Pygmy-owl (quite an unusual sighting — not a Mountain Pygmy-owl, by call); a Vermilion Flycatcher (a stunningly gorgeous bird that is a common sighting in the area); and a Clay-colored Thrush.
Finally, here L-R are a Western Tanager; another view of the Western Tanager; and a Green-fronted Hummingbird that very obligingly perched right above us.
Around Oaxaca
These last three photos were taken by our bird guide, Cornelio (seen at left in the first photo). He was great — very friendly, very good in Enlgish (my Spanish is minimal), and very good at identifying birds by sound as well as visually. I recommend him as a guide; you can reach him at, and he works in both Oaxaca and Huatulco. I look forward to birding with him in Huatulco some day!

These photos were taken by him: L-R, us birding; near a very large old tree called El Árbol del Tule; and at Monte Albán, a site with pre-Columbian Zapotec ruins near Oaxaca.

These images copyright © 2020 Ben Haller. All rights reserved.