Birding from VdF: San José Estuary

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Since last week, I’ve been based back at Villa del Faro in Baja California Sur, Mexico, where I’ll be co-managing the property with Jocelyn for a good while. In addition to having the opportunity to see what kind of birds show up here in their winter migration, I’m also hoping to have time to check out the surrounding region for other birding hotspots. I’ll do this not only for my own interest, but also because we may get guests here in the future who are bird-watchers.  I’d like to be able to recommend areas based on my own experience, so they don’t have to rely solely on eBird, which helps find certain spots but can’t give you any directions that Google Maps doesn’t have.

Nevertheless, eBird is one of the best ways to quickly figure out what locations within a region are popular for birding, whether because they have lots of species or because lots of birders pass through there (or both). For the state of Baja California Sur, the hotspot with the highest number of both species and reports is just an hour away from Villa del Faro: the San José del Cabo Estuary (second highest is a sewage treatment plant up in La Paz, the state capital).

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White-faced Ibis

Estero San José, as it’s called in Spanish, is a protected park that we visited very briefly in July, and stopped by again last week to explore a little further. Since we arrived at around 11am, it was pretty hot and sunny by then, and we only stayed an hour, but even so I got to see some nice wading bird species, a couple of which I hadn’t seen before.

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Reddish Egret

For guests staying at Villa del Faro, leaving at dawn for San José is a great way to spend the morning at the Estuary, and then have lunch in town, maybe wander around for a bit, and then come back to the hotel to relax at our beach before drinks and dinner!

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“Baby Beach,” Villa del Faro’s main swimming area, as seen from the northern edge of our property

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