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Oct 9, 2013

Did I really see a Cozumel Thrasher?

I have recently received a comment from a fellow who signed his email Andrew S.   Andrew had inadvertently come across a blog of mine from March of 2011 in which I claimed to have seen a Cozumel Thrasher while vacationing on the island of Cozumel, off the Yucatan coast of Mexico.   I was relying on a birding guide who spotted and identified what he said was a Cozumel Thrasher.   It looked like a thrasher to me but I had to take the word of the local guide that it was a Cozumel Thrasher.   I did not know at the time that the Cozumel Thrasher was believed to be the most endangered species of bird in Mexico.   I have now learned that the last confirmed sighting was in 2004!   Unconfirmed sightings were made in 2006 and 2007 but none since then.   Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the bird.   Brown Thrashers have been occasionally spotted in Mexico, but Cozumel is quite far south of their normal range.   The two types of thrasher are quite similar in appearance, although the Cozumel Thrasher is the smaller of the two.   There are also 14 species of thrashers in Mexico...just to complicate things.   I am now not entirely sure that I saw a bonafide Cozumel Thrasher.   But I'm too old to worry about it, although if I return to Cozumel I will keep an eye out for this bird.   My thanks to Andrew S. for alerting me to this remarkable situation.   (Cozumel Thrasher drawing above from Birdlife International)
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