So after birding our way up the entrance road to Cerro Azul Meambar National Park, having a near-stuck experience with our coaster, and seeing an amazingly cooperative Collared Trogon, all of which is related in the first part of this tale, we left our gang of hardcore birders in the parking lot of the national park eager for more birds. And more birds there were! David Bacab, an excellent birding guide from the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, was our guide for the day and he mentioned he was going to look for a Black-crested Coquette, an awfully cool-looking hummingbird, and would we like to try to find one? Would we? Of course we would!
En route to where David wanted to look for the coquette we came across a foraging Wood Thrush, a calling Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, a Northern Barred Woodcreeper, and another Blue-crowned Motmot. David located a Black-crested Coquette perched high up on bare ranches suspiciously swiftly, and, under intense questioning eventually admitted to having been shown its perching site several days earlier when he was there helping to train the novice birding guides. Further questions revealed that what was assumed to be the same bird had been seen in the same spot for several years in a row. I was entertained by the fact that David had played it off like he had no idea if the bird would be around or not and I think that by letting the anticipation of seeing such a cool bird build he made its sighting much more memorable. After all, how many people do you know who have seen a Black-crested Coquette?
And, no, I am not entirely happy about the lousiness of the pictures above. But, considering the mostly poor light and the elevation of the bird I really have nothing to complain about. Besides, the bird is called a Black-crested Coquette and one can’t expect anything named “coquette” to be willing to perch in close and at eye level. No, this coquette was rather good at flirting and teasing we birders but was never quite willing to give us those crippling looks we so craved. Nonetheless, it was one heck of a bird!
While we were admiring the coquette our group spread out a bit, searching for other species, and managed to dig up some Yellow-winged Tanagers, and, later, some Golden-hooded Tanagers. Both birds are nice but the Golden-hooded Tanagers in particular were breathtaking. I have no pictures to show because the Yellow-winged Tanagers didn’t cooperate for pics and by the time we found the Golden-hooded Tanagers my digiscoping rig was sitting some distance away and I didn’t feel like hiking over to get it and hiking back with it only to find the birds gone. I just enjoyed looking at the tanagers and feel like I made the right decision.
A walk down the trail to the waterfall netted us a heard-only White-breasted Wood-Wren, and, eventually, some of us got brief looks at a perched Violet Sabrewing, another amazing hummingbird. Far too soon it was time for lunch so we hiked back up to the visitor center where we would eat and oohed and aahed at the hummingbirds coming to the feeders while we awaited our lunch. The birding was much improved by the cold beers for sale in the gift shop. Never-seen-by-me hummingbirds and cold beer: now that is a combination that is tough to beat!
Five species of hummer were visiting the feeders, all of them pictured above, which are, in order, from top to bottom, Long-billed Hermit, also known as Long-tailed Hermit, White-bellied Emerald, Long-billed Starthroat, Violet Sabrewing, and Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. Combined with the coquette, the hummingbird feeders made for my first-ever six hummingbird species day (and another later back at the hotel, the Cinammon Hummingbird, made seven!).
Of course, there were other birds around in addition to the hummers, notably my first-ever Collared Aracaris, but the hummingbird feeders captivated us as much as they did the hummingbirds. I wish I could remember the lunch we ate at the park’s restaurant, as I am sure it was good, but all I remember is feeling rather full after eating it so fast that I didn’t even take the time to taste it (or even chew it) before I was back out getting last looks at the feeders before we headed back to our hotel. But I wasn’t done birding for the day yet as the grounds of Hotel Las Glorias held some great birds that we would be tracking down when we returned…so I reluctantly bid farewell to Cerro Azul Meambar National Park, sure it would be a long time before I visited again.