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Birding Magic in San Jose del Pacifico, Oaxaca

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By Suzanne Staples
While spending time in Oaxaca city in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, we decided to explore the mountainous areas surrounding the city.  Oaxaca rests in a valley between three mountain ranges.  The Majestic Sierra Madre del Sur rises to the south, climbing to about nine thousand feet. At the top, a dense pine-oak forest is interspersed with tree ferns, brilliant orchids and meters-long climbing vines. Tiny red salvia flowers and orange paintbrush generously dot the road that is carved from the steep mountain.  Many of the simple homes along the road at the higher elevations have plant nurseries.  Colorful pots of flowers line up in neat rows against the steep hill.  Pink and red begonias flourish here, as do rich blue Nile lillies and white calla lillies.  The people carry baskets of these blooms into Oaxaca city to sell in the many markets.


The small hamlet of San Jose del Pacifico perches along the highway near the summit of the mountain range.  The land dro…