Sunday, September 4, 2011

Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico

At the end of this past July, my fiance and I gave ourselves a relaxing weekend in Puerto Peñasco before starting another school year of teaching.  It was my first time there and the birding did not disappoint.  We arrived at the malecon (jetty) in the afternoon and had lunch at Señor Amigo.  It's an open air restaurant with a great view of the water.  The first course included Yellow-footed Gulls sitting on the rocks with Heerman's Gulls and Brown Pelicans.  For the second course, a distant fishing boat came in that was dripping with Blue-Footed and Brown Boobies.  I was sorry I had left my camera in the car!  The main course was a very small, dark bird flitting just above the water.  A Least Storm-Petrel!  It stayed in the area for ten minutes giving me good binocular looks at its short, wedge-shaped tail.  For dessert, two Magnificent Frigatebirds showed up high above the water.  Now I know why they're called magnificent.  Wow, what an intimidating-looking bird!  This frigatebird I saw later cruising around the resort more than made up for leaving the camera in the car.

Magnificent Frigatebird 7/23/11

I couldn't believe I had seen four lifers in the first hour!  Also at the malecon were Brandt's and Double-crested Cormorants, Eared Grebe, and Royal Tern.

For most of the weekend we relaxed at the beach or the balcony of the Sonoran Spa Resort where we stayed.  It was very humid!  I had to let my camera acclimate outside with the lens cap on for a few minutes each time I wanted to use it.  Otherwise, the lens would fog up immediately upon going from A/C to the heat and humidity.  I wasn't used to that!  Here in the desert, we only get humidity during the monsoon season.

view from our balcony 7/24/11

view from our balcony 7/24/11

While photographing Elegant Terns on the beach, I was lucky to catch a Black-vented Shearwater cruising over the water.  Ditto for a pelican.

Elegant Tern 7/24/11
Elegant Tern 7/24/11
Black-vented Shearwater 7/24/11
Brown Pelican 7/24/11

Two Osprey gave me a great photo op as they took advantage of the stiff ocean breeze above the resort.

Osprey 7/23/11

I only saw one Yellow-footed Gull land on the beach, but I took advantage of it.

Yellow-footed Gull 7/24/11
Yellow-footed Gull 7/24/11

From our balcony I could see Brown Boobies off in the distance, and wished I had had a scope.  I picked up another lifer when two Common Terns flew along the beach.

Saturday evening, we spent the last hour of light at Cholla Bay at high tide.  Eight Common Loons were on the water.  While looking at a Willet, I managed to find three Wilson's Plover camouflaged against the rocks.  Another lifer!  A couple Elegant Terns were the only terns that came close enough to ID with my 8 x 42's.  Dozens were out above the water.  I saw more shorebirds far ahead in fading light, but had to hike back to the car before it got dark.

Willet 7/23/11

Wilson's Plover 7/23/11

Puerto Peñasco treated me well and I can't wait for another trip there.  But next time I want to check out the great winter birding I've heard about.


  1. Awesome pics, Jeremy! Your trip sounds (and looks) spectacular.

    10,000 Birds

  2. Wow, you have some really beautiful photos here! I especially love the pelican shot, but really they're all great. I look forward to seeing more in the future!

  3. Thanks for commenting on my blog so that I could find yours. I'm adding you to my blog roll. Great photography!

    We used to live in Mesa, AZ and visited Rocky Point a couple of times. We loved Puerto Penasco. Unfortunately, I wasn't into birding yet and missed out on adding some of those great species.

  4. Great trip! Super photos. We have friends who spend many winters there in their RV. I would love to spend a winter there..just have to convince the hubby it will be safe there.

  5. I just came back from a week in Cancun, Mexico. I love watching birds. I saw 100reds of these birds flying over head. Some people sad they were albatross. Never flapping their wings. They almost looked like something out of Jurassic Park. I could almost see pterodactyl's I thought they might be Frigates