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El Cielo Historical   |   Life of El Cielo
Life of El Cielo

Birds reported on tours by Michael Delesantro, September 1999 - January 2000
Thicket Timanou, Least Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, American White Pelican, Neotropic Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Bare-throated Tiger-heron, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, White-faced Ibis, White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose, Ross's Goose, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Muscovy Duck, Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Hook-billed Kite, White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Harris' Hawk, Grey Hawk, Roadside Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Collared Forest-falcon, Crested Caracara, American Kestrel, Bat Falcon, Plain Chachalaca, Crested Guan, Northern Bobwhite, Singing Quail, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Sungrebe, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, Long-billed Curlew, Rock Dove, Red-billed Pigeon, Band-tailed Pigeon, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Inca Dove, Common Ground-dove, Ruddy Ground-dove, Blue Ground-dove, White-tipped Dove, Gray-headed Dove, Green Parakeet, Aztec Parakeet, Military Macaw, White-crowned Parrot, Red-crowned Parrot, Red-lored Parrot, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Squirrel Cuckoo, Greater Roadrunner, Groove-billed Ani, Ferruginous Pgymy-Owl, Mottled Owl, Lesser Nighthawk, Pauraque, Chimney Swift, Vaux's Swift, Canivet's Emerald, Wedge-tailed Sabrewing, Green-breasted Mango, Azure-crowned Hummingbird, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Bumblebee Hummingbird, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Mountain Trogon, Blue-crowned Motmot, Ringed Kingfisher, Belted Kingfisher, Amazon Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Acorn Woodpecker, Lineated Woodpecker, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Bronze-winged Woodpecker, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Barred Antshrike, Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, Tufted Flycatcher, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Greater Pewee, Eastern Wood-pewee, Least Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Black Phoebe, Vermillion Flycatcher, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Streaked Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Couchs' Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Gray-collared Becard, Rose-throated Becard, Masked Tityra, Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Cave Swallow, Barn Swallow, Green Jay, Brown Jay, Tamaulipas Crow, Chihuahuan Raven, Common Raven, Black-crested Titmouse, Cactus Wren, Spot-breasted Wren, Canyon Wren, Carolina Wren, Bewick's Wren, House Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Brown-backed Solitaire, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Clay-colored Thrush, White-throated Thrush, Northern Mockingbird, Curve-billed Thrasher, Blue Mockingbird, European Starling, White-eyed Vireo, Cassin's Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Yellow-green Vireo, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Crescent-chested Warbler, Tropical Parula, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Black and white Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat, Wilson's Warbler, Painted Redstart, Fan-tailed Warbler, Golden-crowned Warbler, Rufous-capped Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Red-throated Ant-tanager, Red-crowned Ant-tanager, Yellow-winged Tanager, Hepatic Tanager, Western Tanager, Summer Tanager, Flame-colored Tanager, White-winged Tanager, Scrub Euphonia, Yellow-throated Euphonia, Blue-hooded Euphonia, Black-headed Saltator, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Black-headed Grosbeak, Blue Bunting, Painted Bunting, Yellow-faced Grassquit, White-collared Seedeater, Rufous-capped Brushfinch, Olive Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Melodious Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Bronzed Cowbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Hooded Oriole, Altamira Oriole, Audubon's Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Black-headed Siskin, Lesser Goldfinch, Hooded Grosbeak, House Sparrow

Birds reported on tours by Michael Delesantro, January 2001
Thicket Tinamou, Least Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Eared Grebe, American White Pelican, Neotropic Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Bare-throated Tiger-heron, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Greater White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose, Muscovy Duck, Gadwall, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Osprey, White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Crane Hawk, Gray Hawk, Harris' Hawk, Roadside Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Swainsonís Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Collared Forest-Falcon, Crested Caracara, American Kestrel, Bat Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Plain Chachalaca, Northern Bobwhite, Singing Quail, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Sungrebe, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, Long-billed Curlew, Least Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Common Snipe, Rock Dove, Red-billed Pigeon, Band-tailed Pigeon, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Inca Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Blue Ground-Dove, White-tipped Dove, Gray-headed Dove, Green Parakeet, Military Macaw, White-crowned Parrot, Red-crowned Parrot, Red-lored Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Greater Roadrunner, Groove-billed Ani, Barn Owl, Ferruginous Pgymy-Owl, Vaux's Swift, Wedge-tailed Sabrewing, White-eared Hummingbird, Magnificent Hummingbird, Blue-throated Hummingbird, Azure-crowned Hummingbird, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Mountain Trogon, Blue-crowned Motmot, Ringed Kingfisher, Belted Kingfisher, Amazon Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Acorn Woodpecker, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Smoky-brown Woodpecker, Bronze-winged Woodpecker, Lineated Woodpecker, Pale-billed Woodpecker, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, Tufted Flycatcher, Greater Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Hammondís Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Black Phoebe, Vermillion Flycatcher, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Couchs' Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Rose-throated Becard, Masked Tityra, Loggerhead Shrike, White-eyed Vireo, Cassin's Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Huttonís Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Green Jay, Brown Jay, Tamaulipas Crow, Chihuahuan Raven, Common Raven, Cave Swallow, Black-crested Titmouse, Verdin, Spot-breasted Wren, Bewick's Wren, House Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Brown-backed Solitaire, American Robin, Clay-colored Robin, White-throated Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Curve-billed Thrasher, Long-billed Thrasher, Blue Mockingbird, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Crescent-chested Warbler, Tropical Parula, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Painted Redstart, Golden-crowned warbler, Rufous-capped Warbler, Golden-browed Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Hepatic Tanager, Summer Tanager, White-winged Tanager, Yellow-winged Tanager, Scrub Euphonia, Yellow-throated Euphonia, Blue-black Grassquit, White-collared Seedeater, Yellow-faced Grassquit, Rufous-capped Brushfinch, Olive Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Grayish Saltator, Black-headed Saltator, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Black-headed Grosbeak, Blue Bunting, Indigo Bunting, Varied Bunting, Painted Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Melodious Blackbird, Brewerís Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Bronzed Cowbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, Hooded Oriole, Altamira Oriole, Audubon's Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Bullockís Oriole, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, Hooded Grosbeak, House Sparrow

Birds reported on tours by Michael Delesantro, January 2002
Thicket Timanou (h), Least Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Eared Grebe, American White Pelican, Neotropic Cormorant, Bare-throated Tiger-heron, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose, Muscovy Duck, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Harris' Hawk, Grey Hawk, Roadside Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara, American Kestrel, Bat Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Plain Chachalaca, Northern Bobwhite, Singing Quail, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Sungrebe, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, Rock Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Red-billed Pigeon, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Inca Dove, Common Ground-dove, Ruddy Ground-dove, Blue Ground-dove, White-tipped Dove, Green Parakeet, Military Macaw, White-crowned Parrot, Red-crowned Parrot, Red-lored Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo, Groove-billed Ani, Vaux's Swift, Canivet's Emerald, Wedge-tailed Sabrewing, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Blue-throated Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Ringed Kingfisher, Belted Kingfisher, Amazon Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Acorn Woodpecker, Lineated Woodpecker, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Bronze-winged Woodpecker, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Ivory-billed Woodcreeper, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Barred Antshrike, Tufted Flycatcher, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Greater Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Hammond's Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Black Phoebe, Say's Phoebe, Vermillion Flycatcher, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Couchs' Kingbird, Rose-throated Becard, Masked Tityra, Loggerhead Shrike, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Green Jay, Brown Jay, Mexican Jay, Tamaulipas Crow, Chihuahuan Raven, Common Raven, Black-crested Titmouse, Bridled Titmouse, Verdin, Spot-breasted Wren, Canyon Wren, House Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Brown-backed Solitaire, Hermit Thrush, Clay-colored Thrush, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Long-billed Thrasher, Curve-billed Thrasher, Blue Mockingbird, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Crescent-chested Warbler, Tropical Parula, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat, Wilson's Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Rufous-capped Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Yellow-winged Tanager, Hepatic Tanager, Summer Tanager, Flame-colored Tanager, White-winged Tanager, Yellow-throated Euphonia, Blue-black Grassquit, Yellow-faced Grassquit, White-collared Seedeater, Rufous-capped Brushfinch, Olive Sparrow, Green-tailed Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Canyon Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Black-headed Saltator, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, Pyrrhuloxia, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Black-headed Grosbeak, Blue Bunting, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Melodious Blackbird, Brewer's Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Bronzed Cowbird, Hooded Oriole, Altamira Oriole, Audubon's Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Bullock's Oriole, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, Hooded Grosbeak, House Sparrow

Lists above perhaps contain birds out of the El Cielo area, including the trip to and from, and possibly El Naranjo, SLP.

Birds reported on tours by Byron Stone, December 2003 - January 2004
I recently returned from 5 days of birding in northeastern Mexico with Tim & Johnny Brush of Edinburg and David Stone of Austin. I'm reporting on the portion of our trip in the Gomez Farias region of southern Tamaulipas. Tim will report separately on the remainder of the trip. I have capitalized bird names for first occurrence for all species and for subsequent occurrences of some regional specialties to make them easier to find. If you would like an annotated trip list, please email me privately. Monday afternoon, December 29, 2003 - We arrived at the intersection of Hwy 85 and the paved road leading west to Gomez Farias early in the afternoon on Monday, December 29, 2003. We didn't have to wait long for excitement in the El Cielo region. On the flat section of paved road about one kilometer before the road begins to climb, we found an adult APLOMADO FALCON perched on the telephone wire south of the pavement. We stopped and enjoyed stunning views of this magnificent wild bird - no bands on either leg. We photographed the falcon after it flew to a nearby fencepost, where it was subsequently seen by another group of birders from Texas a short while later. On the road up to Gomez, we found a BAT FALCON at its usual post on the double power pole about half way up the mountain. In the town of Gomez, MELODIOUS BLACKBIRDS were abundant and highly vocal, and ALTAMIRA ORIOLES flitted from one tree to another. RED-BILLED PIGEONS could be seen occasionally, and a WEDGE-TAILED SABREWING had staked out a red-flowered shrub near our lodging, and was often heard making a loud clicking chatter. After a short siesta at the Casa de Piedra, we decided to spend the last couple of hours of daylight birding along the El Azteca road, which leads from the west end of Gomez Farias, northeast and downslope to the small village of El Azteca along the Rio Sabinas. Walking about a half-mile down this road (as far as the first coffee finca with large shade trees) produced COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (heard only), WHITE-CROWNED and RED-LORED PARROTS, FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (HO), BLUE-CROWNED MOTMOT, GREATER PEWEE (HO), MASKED TITYRA, SPOT-BREASTED WREN (HO), CLAY-COLORED ROBIN, YELLOW-WINGED TANAGER, YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA, and more ALTAMIRA ORIOLES. WILSON'S WARBLERS were probably the most common neotropical migrant in the Gomez area, followed by BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER. As darkness approached, several THICKET TINAMOUS could be heard calling from the forest. Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - A.M. - Tuesday morning, which started clear, calm and rather cool, we decided to explore Bocatoma II, which we had found to be very productive the year before. This is an area near the nacimiento of the Rio Frio, which is at the base of the Sierra de Guatemala southeast of Gomez Farias. It can be reached by turning south onto the dirt road at the sign for "La Florida" near where the paved road from Gomez flattens out. There is an "Area de Descanso" with a small bench at this intersection. Follow the signs for "Mariscos" or "Bocatoma II," which is a restaurant and swimming hole along the Rio Frio. On the way down, we saw a pair of BAT FALCONS at the double power poles. At Bocatoma II, the birding was slow initially but heated up quickly as the sun reached the lower parts of the forest canopy. We had a brief flyover of a noisy pair of AZTEC PARAKEETS. A GREEN KINGFISHER foraged in one of the concrete irrigation canals. We found our first SQUIRREL CUCKOO for the trip - we had this bird here last year, too. We also had ELEGANT TROGON here, and the ever-present BOAT-BILLED and SOCIAL FLYCATCHERS, as well as a single TUFTED FLYCATCHER which Tim found foraging over the river. Other flycatchers present here were several COUCH'S KINGBIRDS, DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHERS and a few GREATER PEWEES, all vocalizing. The latter two species could be heard almost everywhere we birded in our three days in the Gomez Farias region. Additionally, we found one or more pairs of MASKED TITYRA foraging with a mixed species flock, and even better, a male and female BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA. Another highlight here was a pair of ROSE-THROATED BECARDS, including stunning views of the male in early morning sun. At Bocatoma II we also had YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIAS and a single female SCRUB EUPHONIA. We did not find Blue-hooded Euphonia, which we had at this location last year; nor did we find this species during the remainder of our trip. We reluctantly left the flock at Bocatoma II and drove toward the small park at La Florida, about 2 km to the north. At a birding stop about halfway to La Florida, Johnny spotted a distant, dark raptor alternately flapping and soaring on long, flat wings. This turned out to be perhaps the best bird of the day - CRANE HAWK. As we cruised the roads paralleling the irrigation canals, trying in vain to get another look at this raptor, we did find a perched ROADSIDE HAWK which allowed a brief, good look. We arrived at La Florida about mid-morning, finding a small mixed feeding flock which included TROPICAL PARULA, several migrants from further north, and a BRONZE-WINGED WOODPECKER. A female PALE-BILLED WOODPECKER worked diligently at excavating a cavity on a large tree trunk near the nacimiento, allowing extended study. We had fly-bys of two BLUE GROUND-DOVE, first the female, seen by me, then the male, seen by Tim and Johnny. This was the only time we saw or heard this species during our stay in the El Cielo region. We found a single GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER at La Florida, a bird which is common at slightly higher elevations, but not quite so common here. Wilson's Warblers and BG Gnatcatchers were common here, as they were at almost all elevations visited during our trip. Ditto for Social and Boat-billed Flycatchers. Dusky-capped Flyc. and Greater Pewee were present also, in small numbers. Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - P.M. - After sandwiches, Cocas and a short siesta, we drove south to the Cd. Mante area to try to locate a few birds which Johnny hadn't seen yet. En route to Mante, we found the other three expected species of kingfishers, including a female AMAZON KINGFISHER perched on a wire beside a roadside ditch. In the irrigation canal west of Mante, we found LEAST GREBE and PIED-BILLED GREBE, and Johnny alertly spotted a pair of NORTHERN JACANA, one of our targets for the afternoon. Both jacanas were juveniles. We decided not to bird the nacimiento at the end of the dirt road because of the crowds of people and vehicles. En route back to Gomez, we discovered a huge flock of TAMAULIPAS CROWS, probably over 300 birds, coming to water at an irrigation ditch in the village of Rio Frio along Hwy 85 north of Cd. Mante. Several large tropical evergreen trees on the east side of the road were filled with crows waiting to drink or perhaps settling down to roost. Back in Gomez in the late afternoon, we walked the El Azteca road again, seeing or hearing most of the species previously encountered there. Just before dark, however, we heard a small group of birds and were able to get glimpses of two new species for the trip - YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (seen by Johnny but also identified aurally by Tim) and a pair of RED-THROATED ANT-TANAGERS. The latter, fortunately, were making loud, raspy calls which helped separate them from the similar Red-crowned Ant-tanager. Wednesday, December 31, 2003 - A.M. - Count day for El Cielo (Gomez Farias) Christmas Bird Count. I awakened before dawn to check for owls. Walking the quiet main street of Gomez Farias, I heard at least two MOTTLED OWLS, on on either side of the ridge down which the road runs. Unfortunately, the Vermiculated Screech-Owl reported the morning before behind the Posada Hotel was quiet this morning. After the others arose and had a quick breakfast, we headed for the Julilo Road, which we elected to bird for the count because we had good luck on this road a year ago. A couple from Vancouver, Joan and Allan, joined us for the morning portion of the count. The Julilo Road is a jeep trail which runs from a hamlet on the Rio Sabinas (La Libertad, I believe) upslope approximately 12 km to the small community of Julilo, at the transition zone between cloud forest below and the humid pine-oak zone above. We walked up the road far enough to pass through pockets of cloud forest habitat, and the birding did not disappoint. As we began our trek at the edge of the Rio Sabinas, one or more LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH announced their presence with loud chip notes. A pair of RED-LORED PARROTS called loudly from high up in a massive Montezuma Cypress. The walk uphill proceeded at a casual pace because of the frequency with which we encountered mixed feeding flocks. WHITE-CROWNED PARROTS and RED-LORED PARROTS passed noisily overhead. We had at least 4 SQUIRREL CUCKOOS in different locations on the trail. Also encountered were GROOVE-BILLED ANI, FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL, AZURE-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD (Johnny only), SMOKY-BROWN WOODPECKER, BRONZE-WINGED WOODPECKER, PALE-BILLED WOODPECKER (4 individuals seen or heard), IVORY-BILLED WOODCREEPER, SPOT-CROWNED WOODCREEPER, BARRED ANTSHRIKE (HO), another TUFTED FLYCATCHER, and multiple DUSKY-CAPPED, SOCIAL AND BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHERS. GREATER PEWEE could frequently be heard, and occasionally seen. No Becards seen or heard on this road, interestingly enough. SPOT-BREASTED WREN could be heard at almost every turn of the road. Wilson's Warblers could be heard or seen almost continuously and one or more accompanied almost all feeding flocks. GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLERS, often in pairs, became increasingly numerous as we ascended. We had at least one CRESCENT-CHESTED WARBLER. BLUE-HEADED VIREOS in small numbers were present in most mixed feeding flocks. YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA was very common, especially at lower elevation, and usually feeding in mistletoe. On the way up, we had several CLAY-COLORED ROBINS, 4 or more singing BROWN-BACKED SOLITAIRES, and a single WHITE-THROATED ROBIN. We heard one BLUE MOCKINGBIRD. After lunch, near the top of our climb, we found a flock containing a FLAME-COLORED TANAGER and a single stunning male WHITE-WINGED TANAGER providing good looks for all in our group. The sharp scolding calls of BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR accompanied our descent at the higher elevations. We also found several male BLUE BUNTINGS, a number of INDIGO BUNTINGS, and a single LINCOLN'S SPARROW. Orioles were represented by small numbers of ALTAMIRA and HOODED ORIOLE, and a single male BALTIMORE ORIOLE. We had a small flock of HOODED GROSBEAK at mid-elevation of our climb. Several small flocks or family groups of BROWN JAYS were seen and heard at several different locations on the trail. GREEN JAYS were seen and heard in smaller numbers. About half-way down, Tim and Johnny called my attention to a single PEREGRINE FALCON soaring high above, and as we neared the bottom of the trail, 2 BAT FALCONS put on an air show overhead. We made it back to the river a little after 1 p.m. Wednesday, December 31, 2003 - P.M. - On the way back to Gomez, we drove the dirt roads through the small ejido of Ojo de Aqua to try to add Ruddy Ground-Dove. We dipped on the ruddy, but added GREAT EGRET, VERMILION FLYCATCHER and BRONZED COWBIRD to our day list. Tim, Johnny and I walked El Azteca road again for the last 2 hours of light. New birds for count day for us were SINGING QUAIL (HO), ELEGANT TROGON, BLUE-CROWNED MOTMOT, GREY-HEADED DOVE (Johnny only), and the RED-THROATED ANT-TANAGERS heard again. Other good birds here were more WHITE-CROWNED PARROTS, another WHITE-WINGED TANAGER and 2 more BLACK-HEADED SALTATORS. After the countdown dinner, ably chaired by Stennie Meadours of Houston, Tim, Johnny and I joined Gary Waggerman and a vanload of other Texas birders to search for NORTHERN POTOO along the roads near Ojo de Agua. After searching fruitlessly for over an hour, I caught a ride back to Gomez with Stennie in order to make my curfew. I had only been back at the Casa de Piedra for about 20 minutes when Tim and Johnny came in, and I could tell by the broad smiles on their faces that they had added the potoo to their trip and lifelists. What a great way to end a year! Thursday Jan 1, 2004 - A.M. Tim, Johnny and I started the year with a predawn trip down the Gomez road toward Hwy 85 to listen for owls. Near the "Bat Falcon" pole, we heard a single MOTTLED Owl, and a GREAT HORNED OWL (new for the trip). At the bottom of the hill, we could hear several FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWLS, but no Vermiculated. We headed back to Casa de Piedra for breakfast and preparations for departure. Before leaving Gomez we drove to the Posada Hotel, where Stennie's granddaughter helped us locate the male CANIVET'S EMERALD which was feeding in cannas behind the hotel. Eventually we all had great looks at this bird, and as Tim said, "now we know why it's called an emerald!" We drove down to Hwy 85, turned north and then west on the dirt road to El Azteca (not the same road we had birded the past three days). En route to El Azteca, we found three noisy ROADSIDE HAWKS, and a single RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, which was missed on the CBC the day before. We also saw and heard a small group of TROPICAL KINGBIRDS, only our second encounter with this species on the trip - it appears to be outnumbered here by Couch's Kingbird. We stopped in El Azteca for Cocas and to deliver a photograph taken by David the year before of a gentleman and his horse. On the return to Hwy 85, we spied a non-Couch's-type Kingbird in a brushy field on the south side of the dirt road. We stopped to examine it and added CASSIN'S KINGBIRD to the trip list - a seldom-reported species here in winter. By this time, it was almost mid-day, and time to head north on Hwy 85. We had a great trip in the El Cielo region and all of us hope to return soon. Please contact me privately if you would like an annotated trip list. Que le vaya bien!  - Byron Stone, Austin