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Map of Coba area

Punta Laguna is about 20km north of Coba, and is found by leaving Coba, and taking the 2nd exit from the triangular junction 1km from the village (the left turn goes to Valladolid, the right to Tulum). A ramshackle sign, matching huts / homes, and requisite tope signal the precarious left turn into this haven reserved primarily for Spider & Howler Monkeys. It comprises a tract of thick woodland situated next to a reed-fringed and rather quiet lake. A guide is needed (£1), mainly to show the Spider Monkeys and birds, but is just as important so find the way back through the many tracks that branch through the forest. The first part of the walk was through a ďlivingĒ area with domestic pigs roaming, but a Turquoise-browed Motmot didnít mind the smell. The birds within the forest had to be worked for, but plenty of (mainly) wood warblers were seen, and the first of what turned out to be a handful of Ivory-billed Woodcreepers (for the week). One of the best sites was that of a small group of Spider Monkeys swinging across the track in front of us - one almost didnít make it!

Before reaching Punta Laguna, we stopped at an open area with scattered trees about 12km north of Coba. Although most of the birds were seen elsewhere during the week, many were new at the time, and seemed to keep on appearing the longer we stayed. The stop was initially made to identify a large bird of prey (probably another common vulture), but then a pair of Hooded Orioles was spotted in an open tree. These were the first of many orioles (for the site and for the trip). Scanning further, particularly on the opposite side of the road, found one or two favourite areas for birds. One bush in particular contained Hooded & Yellow-backed Orioles, Green Jays, Summer Tanager, and later Black-headed Saltator and Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

We returned to the clearing for another half hour before leaving the road for a hotel in Coba. More Hooded Orioles appeared, along with a noisy group of Yucatan Jays, and a late flypast of (White-lored) Parrots from all directions.

Coba Lake

Lake at Coba
 

The area around Coba was pencilled in for the lake in front of the Club Med hotel for Crakes, and the forests surrounding the Mayan ruins next to the lake. The birding divided itself into three parts - in and around the hotel gardens at first light; the village area on the opposite side of the lake to the hotel; and the forests in the vicinity of the ruins. Birding straight out of the hotel was excellent, with birds everywhere. On the water itself were Grebes, and some late Cormorants, following on from the impressive sight of a large Crocodile meandering slowly across the centre of the expanse of water. The reed fringed western edge held Limpkin, with a Northern Jacana on the exposed edge. The trees around the hotel were alive with birds early on, dominated by a large group of mixed Orioles, Social Flycatcher, and Ground Doves. An overgrown bushy area adjacent to the hotel should have had more potential, but did hold Spot-breasted Wren and Bananaquit. A Bat Falcon was perched at the top of the hotel mast, with a further selection of Orioles below.
 

 

Couch's Kingbird

Hooded Oriole

Couch's Kingbird

Hooded Oriole

The village on the opposite shore was excellent for wandering around, with a good mixture of birds. Small finch flocks were mainly drab juvenile seedeaters, although they were found to contain a distinctive female Blue Grosbeak. The reeds were unfortunately devoid of crakes, but a couple of Grey-crowned Yellowthroats showed well. The end of the track at the west of the village was overgrown, but had hummingbirds passing through, and the only Green-backed Sparrows of the trip. Within the village itself, white blurs of birds turned out to be boring feral pigeons, but the first Squirrel Cuckoo of the week was just below what may have been breeding boxes for the pigeons.

The Mayan ruins needed time and effort, and a good deal of wandering off the tracks into the depths of the trees. Videoing the birds here offered an extra challenge, since not only did its use cost £2, but no tripods are allowed in Mayan ruin sites. There were certainly some birds around the more semi-open ground holding the actual ruins but the real neotropic forest birds such as motmots, trogons and becards had to be looked for in the thicker mixed woodland, with necks more than often painfully craned upwards towards the canopy. How we didnít get lost Iíll never know! Overall, a better site than at first predicted, with an excellent contrast in habitats and birds.


Turquoise-browed Motmot

Turquoise-browed Motmot
 

Punta Laguna is about 20km north of Coba, and is found by leaving Coba, and taking the 2nd exit from the triangular junction 1km from the village (the left turn goes to Valladolid, the right to Tulum). A ramshackle sign, matching huts / homes, and requisite tope signal the precarious left turn into this haven reserved primarily for Spider and Howler Monkeys. It comprises a tract of thick woodland situated next to a reed-fringed and rather quiet lake. A guide is needed, mainly to show the Spider Monkeys and birds, but is just as important so find the way back through the many tracks that branch through the forest. The first part of the walk was through a "living" area with domestic pigs roaming, but a Turquoise-browed Motmot didnít mind the smell. The birds within the forest had to be worked for, but plenty of (mainly) Wood Warblers were seen, and the first of what turned out to be a handful of Ivory-billed Woodcreepers (for the week). One of the best sites was that of a small group of Spider Monkeys swinging across the track in front of us - one almost didnít make it!

Before reaching Punta Laguna, we stopped at an open area with scattered trees about 12km north of Coba. Although most of the birds were seen elsewhere during the week, many were new at the time, and seemed to keep on appearing the longer we stayed. The stop was initially made to identify a large bird of prey (probably another common vulture), but then a pair of Hooded Orioles were spotted in a open tree. These were the first of many Orioles (for the site and for the trip). Scanning further, particularly on the opposite side of the road, found one or two favourite areas for birds. One bush in particular contained Hooded & Yellow-backed Orioles, Green Jays, Summer Tanager, and later Black-headed Saltator & Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

We returned to the clearing for another half hour before leaving the road for a hotel in Coba. More Hooded Orioles appeared, along with a noisy group of Yucatan Jays, and a late flypast of (White-lored) Parrots from all directions.

Home

Paintings gallery

Video clips

Images

DVD

Contact

Site map

Links

Content

Introduction

Cancun

Coba

Felipe

Chichen Itza

Rio Logartos

Species list

Text only