UNBELIEVABLE Bird Watching in Singayta

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After Christmas this year we decided to head south of Mazatlán a few hours by car, to check out an area we had yet to visit — the small coastal towns of Nayarit, south of Teacapán and north of Puerto Vallarta.


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One of the highlights of the trip was a tour by lancha or small boat to Singayta, a bird sanctuary that is home to over 350 species. We were told that 80% of the migratory birds of the Pacific coast visit this area. We are spoiled by the daily opportunity to see loads of water birds right here in Mazatlán, so we wondered whether it would be worth waking up at 6:30 in the morning on our holiday. It was.


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Our guide told us that the roseate spoonbills were nesting, and that we would have opportunity to see their nests and their babies. That’s what convinced us to take the trip. And we did see many, many roseate spoonbills.


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We especially enjoyed watching those spoonbills feed their young (slideshow above). The babies were larger than we expected, already a couple of months old, though many of them hadn’t yet gotten their pink color. Our guide said the height of the spoonbill nesting season is October through December.


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As we boated up the river we saw so many birds of so many types. Our guide told us what all of them were, but I am no birder and it was hard to keep track. We saw eagles, storks, cranes, ibises, herons, nightjars, rails, egrets, cormorants, northern potoos and Jesus birds, among many others.


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Our guide was keen to make sure we saw the variety of eagles that we encountered. I suppose it was much easier for us to notice the larger birds, so was glad he pointed out so much.


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The area is gorgeous — full of mangrove swamps, estuaries, rivers and other wetlands, along the lines of Agua Verde or Teacapán, much as Mazatlán used to be. We saw a great variety of trees, flowers, lilies and other plant life.


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As we approached the actual bird sanctuary, we were amazed at what we saw in the distance. Floating islands of green that were COMPLETELY FILLED with large nests and more birds than I’ve ever seen in my life! We felt like we were in a Hitchcock movie! I can also assure you that the smell won’t be bottled for perfume anytime soon! As we approached the nesting area our guide cut the motor and paddled us closer.


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In the slideshow above you can see some of the mature birds as well as their young, and you can get an idea just how many nests each little floating island contained. What a pleasure! Many of the parents were busy feeding their kids, as you can see, and many of the young birds are a different color than their parents (I assume they grow into their colors).


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We also saw a lot of turtles and cayman. Many of the cayman were out sunning, and several of them seemed to want to pose for my camera.

Singayta is a 90 minute boat ride north of San Blas, Nayarit. San Blas is three and a half hours south of Mazatlán, just this side of Tepic on the coast. We took the lancha that leaves from the far side of the river from San Blas — over the bridge from town. The boat and driver/guide cost us 700 pesos, and we could have taken eight passengers for that price. Our guide was very knowledgable about the birds as well as the flora and fauna of the area, as well as very attentive to our needs and desires. The area can alternatively be reached overland via driving and hiking.

We definitely encourage you to make the trip! Not a far drive at all from Mazatlán, and this would make for a terrific overnight or weekend.

Oh What a Night! • Día de la Música 2011


Oh what a night! One of our favorite events all year, this year was fantastic as usual. The winning combination?

  • Five open-air stages with 20 bands performing throughout the night
  • A sixth open-air venue, this one where we could watch visual artists create
  • Perfect weather, including a gorgeous moon
  • Mazatlán’s beautiful architecture and the ocean waves as a backdrop
  • The fun-loving, joyous, quick to laugh and dance-till-they-drop Mazatlecos
  • Enough of a crowd to feel the pulsating energy, yet uncrowded enough that you can find a good seat, a terrific view, and enjoy a good drink, cena or botanas…

I have not danced, sweated and laughed so much in a while. Thank you, Mazatlán! Below is my two-minute highlight of the evening. After you click “play” you can toggle to view in HD.

Twenty musical groups performed last evening between 7 pm and about 1 am. Those performing on Escenario Paseo Olas Altas (Banda y Tropical):

  1. Ensamble de percusiones
  2. Banda la Mazatleca
  3. Grupo Fussion (my personal favorite of the evening)

Performing on the Escenario Machado:

  1. Coro Guillermo Sarabia
  2. Camerata Mazatlán
  3. Pumcayo
  4. The Sconek-T
  5. Klezmerson
Performing on Calle Niños Heroes and Mariano Escobedo, the Escenario Rock y Tendencias:
  1. Venus Rex Machina
  2. Claussen
  3. Carlitos Ojos Rojos
  4. Los Insensatos
  5. Dapuntobeat
Performing on Calle Venustiano Carranza, in front of the Art Museum (Música del Recuerdo):
  1. Suncai Gitano (they were very good also)
  2. Grupo Fussion (they performed on two stages)
  3. La Negra, La Blanca y La Redonda
  4. Zarzuela al Piano
On Calle Venus, entre Constitución y Sixto Osuna (Escenario Fusión), were:
  1. Chadoma Social Club
  2. The Lori Davidson Group
  3. Radio 3
  4. Belle et Fou Texas
Visual artists at A la Vuelta de Venus:
  1. Carlos Olvera
  2. Ster Aguirre
  3. Dave Gamez
  4. Hello Sobre
  5. Iván Lizarraga
  6. Rodolfo Loaiza
  7. Iván Mayorquín
  8. Nava One
  9. Bacse
  10. Mayk Silvas C.
  11. Angelferd
  12. Salomon Cusehr
  13. Ferruco
  14. Norte 23
  15. Alex Knives
  16. Julio Montero
  17. Pablo Llamas
  18. Crisarth
  19. Paulina Rueda
  20. El Dante
  21. Roberto Vásquez
  22. Braulio Armenta
Link to our friend Nancy’s blog entry on last night’s events. She has some very nice quality video.