The hotel gardens were
covered in the first afternoon and first two hours of the next morning, followed
by the ruins. Although the latter was the reason for visiting the area, the
former turned out to hold the best of the birds - in particular the gardens
of the Hotel Hacienda. We hadnít even booked into the hotel before discovering
the potential of the gardens, which had mixed palm and seeding fruit trees with
few leaves predominating - better visibility. Yellow-winged Tanager was an early
tick, but many different orioles and warblers were on show. Not many new trip
birds were seen on the afternoon, but the variety and proximity made up. The
birding ended close to dusk with many small horned bats flying past from the
The plan for the following
morning was to fill in time around the gardens until the ruins opened at 8am.
These were relatively disappointing bird-wise, but, after an early mist,
and three Collared Aracaris in the palms of the Club Med, the species in the
hotel gardens mounted as the sun broke through. Birds of the morning had to
be a final total of seven Aracaris, and also a single Lineated Woodpecker just
outside the grounds of the Hacienda. After larking about at the ruins (Grey-breasted
Martin and Cave Swallows at eye level from the top of the pyramid), we took
one of the tracks from the pyramid which led to a rather impressive grotto.
The edges of the woods were covered, with three different wrens, Yellow-green
Vireo, and Masked Tityras seen.