After leaving the Tamcach-Ha Cenote we drove back out toward the highway, slowing down when we reached the lagoon at Coba. Luis asked the driver to pull over after spotting a colourful bird in a bare tree on the other side of the road; he identified it as a Yellow-winged Tanager, another bird I hadn’t yet come across in my studies. It was a pretty bird with a sky-blue head, yellow underparts, and a bright yellow patch in the middle of the black wings; we had fantastic views of it as it scurried along the branches of the dead tree, investigating the nooks and crannies in the bark for bugs like an impatient nuthatch.
We left the lagoon and drove a couple of kilometers into the jungle. Our destination was the Tamcach-Ha Cenote where Luis hoped to find the Turquoise-browed Motmots that breed in the underground caverns, but before we had driven too far he asked the driver to stop when he found a spot that seemed quite birdy. We got out of the van and started walking down the road; after only a few steps, Luis pointed out a Yellow-green Vireo foraging in a tree right above us. This vireo looks like a Red-eyed Vireo with bright yellow sides and flanks, and indeed these two birds were once considered to be the same species. It was a handsome bird, but like most vireos, it was foraging too high among the leaves to get a photo.
On April 18th Doran and I took the first ferry over to Playa Del Carmen to meet with Luis Ku of Motmot Birding Tours to do some birding near Coba and Punta Laguna. It was still fully dark when we left Cozumel, so we didn’t get to see any flying fish or other marine life. However, it was light enough by the time we arrived to see Luis waiting on the ferry pier with his binoculars. Normally Luis’ outings start at 5:00 am in order to arrive at his destination around sunrise, when the birding is best; unfortunately the first ferry didn’t leave until 6:00am, so we didn’t get across to the mainland until about 6:45 and over to Coba about an hour later. In this case there definitely would have been an advantage in staying at a resort on the mainland.