A Sonoran Sampler

One of the most spectacular birds in Mexico, Elegant Euphonias were common at our high camp at Rancho Santa Barbara. Photo by Jerry Oldenettel (Creative Commons 2.0).

Well, I’m back from two weeks in southern Sonora, recording bird sounds with an expedition led by the Sonoran Joint Venture and Western Field Ornithologists in the Sierra de Alamos / Rio Cuchujaqui Wildlife Protection Area.  It was a fantastic trip; I got 10 lifers and accumulated 19 hours of audio to sift through.  It’ll be great blog fodder once I catalog it all.  In the meantime, I’m still struggling to crawl out from under the massive pile of Things To Do Now That I’m Stateside, so I thought I’d just share with you a quick sample of some of the more interesting audio moments from the expedition.

Here’s the sound of a female Rose-throated Becard seizing a cicada, beating it against a tree limb until it quits stridulating, and then consuming it.

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Here’s a large colony of bats squeaking in their daytime roost in the skirt of dead fronds below the crown of a palm tree.

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If I were to judge a birdsong contest in Northwest Mexico, I’d have to give a prize to Sinaloa Wren, whose contributions to the soundscape were rich and frequent.

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But I also love the sweet, soft, musical song of the Rufous-bellied Chachalaca.

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No Mexican audio sampler is complete without this bird sound (in fact, much of a recordist’s time in Mexico is spent trying to get away from this species):

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Near the El Cajon camp, an adult Gray Hawk fed two young at a nest right above my head:

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And here’s the grand finale: the sound of a small group of Black-throated Magpie-Jays driving a Laughing Falcon off his perch.  He isn’t laughing about it, but if you listen closely, you can hear a couple of his faint chuckles.

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In the coming weeks, look for some blog posts with a decidedly southwestern flavor!  It’s good to be home.

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