Careful readers of my recent posts, and surely there must be at least one or two, will note that I have had some pretty exciting outings of late. Most of these were due to my hosting some far better birders than I. Less momentous, though just as exciting for me, were my outings during a brief trip to northern California.

So back in mid-July, in between hosting out-of-state birders, I decided to relax and go see some old friends — old feathered friends, that is. Also, I had found my first viable acorns for 2022 on a previous outing, and hoped to find acorns from other species in this particular oak-rich forest. (I did not find any more, but the first discovery has resulted in 8 oak seedlings — and counting.)

While birding, one of course hopes to watch the birds without attracting their attention. This is, however, rarely possible, and on this particular trip the birds seemed quite interested in me.

First, it was an endemic Rusty-crowned Ground-Sparrow, just hanging out…

Then it saw my face…

This is an immature endemic Spotted Wren (no spots yet), minding its own business.

And now it is minding mine.

As a point of reference, this adult Spotted Wren has developed a full set of spots. Which explains the name.

An Acorn Woodpecker, looking elsewhere.

But, when it saw me, it seemed to find me quite curious. Perhaps it was right.

Momentarily, a Gray Silky-Flycatcher fixed its gaze on me as well.

But this other Silky-Flycatcher was too busy eating mistletoe berries to pay attention to me, even though it had flown much closer than most of the birds shown above.

Most sources insist that all parts of mistletoe plants are poisonous, but the berries are especially poisonous. Michoacan’s birds seem not to have gotten the memo. Mistletoe berries (and flowers, in the case of one genus) are extremely popular with the avian crowd down here. Our beautiful Elegant Euphonias prefer them above all fruits.

Yet another Rusty-crowned Ground-Sparrow decided that a puddle was just too good of a place for bathing, in spite of my standing nearby, frozen except for clicking my camera shutter. I love this species’ comical look, so I’ll indulge myself with several photos.

Hey! What are you looking at? Can’t you see that I’m bathing here?!

Oh well…

Written by Paul Lewis
Paul Lewis moved from California to Mexico in 1983. He lived first in Mexicali, and now lives in the historic city of Morelia (about halfway between Guadalajara and Mexico City), where he and his wife pastor a small church. He is the author of an internationally distributed book in Spanish about family finances and has recorded four albums in Spanish of his own songs. But every Monday, he explores the wonderful habitats and birds found within an hour of his house, in sites which go from 3,000 to 10,000 feet of altitude. These habitats include freshwater wetlands, savannah grasslands, and pine, oak, pine/oak, pine/fir, cloud, and tropical scrub forests.