New World Warblers in Guatemala
- Class: Aves
- Order: Passeriformes
- Family: Parulidae
- Genus: Setophaga
- Species: goldmani
The mountains of Huehuetenango are the oldest in Guatemala and the home of Goldman’s Warbler (Setophaga goldmani).
Some parts are millions of years old, and others were formed when volcanic rocks from the Caribbean plate collided with sedimentary rocks from the North American plate.
This event created particular types of rock highly prized by artists: granite, marble, and jade.
In Huehuetenango, most of the rocks are granite, a rugged rock.
Because these plates are constantly pushing each other, this place is continuously growing.
There are currently sites with more than 3 thousand meters of altitude.
In these areas, the minerals in the soil are unique and produce a type of coffee with a unique flavor.
These rocky mountains stop the clouds of moisture coming from the Gulf of Mexico.
this phenomenon make the valley south of the foot of the mountain valley a dry thorny forest populated by cacti and thorny plants.
In the intermediate part of the mountain, a humidity gradient shows a diversity of pine species that change when ascending the mountain.
The higher plain is icy, cloudy, and wet.
However, it has a scenic beauty that is difficult to capture in a photo because the landscapes are vast.
However, coniferous species are endemic to the upper part of this plateau.
In this place, the inhabitants, due to their isolation, jealously and rigorously guard a dress code.
This is a lifestyle with unique traditions that may remind them of Mongolia or another similar part of Asia.
Horse racing during the Day of the Dead festival, hunting migratory birds for food using traditional techniques.
Also bare-knuckle fights in the plaza on special days are some of the traditions seen as unique even within the country.
And this is just the way to reach the plateau where you can see a unique wealth of birds in the country.
Divisions of the Yellow-rumped Warbler
The Yellow-rumped Warbler is divided into four subspecies, which to most observers, on reasonable grounds, are already considered to be separate species:
- Audubon’s Warbler and Myrtle Warbler, which breed in North America,
- Black-fronted Warbler, which breeds in Mexico
- Goldman’s Warbler breeds between Guatemala and southeastern Mexico.
The basic definition of species defines individuals reproductively isolated from other populations.
In this case, the individuals are clearly distinguishable from one another.
I have had individuals from Audubon’s and Myrtle in my hand, in addition to observing Goldman’s several times.
All of them are physically easy to discriminate, in addition to the fact that their transit during the migratory season is prominent.
It is a matter of time before all the associations finally accept that these subspecies should be considered species.
- The IOC World Bird List classifies Goldman’s Warbler, Myrtle Warbler, and Audubon’s as separate species (Setophaga goldmani, Setophaga coronata, and Setophaga auduboni).
Other interesting species
The birding trip to observe the Goldman’s Warbler gives rise to the observation of Olive Warbler, Pink-headed Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, and Golden-crowned Kinglet, among others.
Also, groups of Ocellated Quail, Pine-siskin, Black-capped Siskin, and Wine-throated Hummingbird.
During the nights, searching for the Unspotted saw-whet Owl and Whiskered Screech-owl is mandatory.
In addition, there is the potential to observe occasional mammals such as Jaguarundi and coyotes, which can be a pleasant surprise.
Huehuetenango’s scenic beauty provides an excellent opportunity to capture fantastic images.
Unfortunately, most visitors spend little time on the site.
It is advisable to plan at least three days in the area to achieve the necessary shots of the desired objectives.
Most visitors manage to observe their targets satisfactorily. However, I’m sure they still wish they had a little more time to capture some memorable moments.
The area is wide and flat, and walks can be as long and satisfying as one can wish.
However, it would be best if you were prepared for the prevalent cold weather. Hence, plan your visit at the correct times of the year when you should avoid the rainy seasons from June to October.
During the rainy season, the cold, the rain, and even the hail, despite causing beautiful landscape moments, usually make transit difficult.
No doubt visiting this site provides a unique opportunity to live a completely natural experience of learning, appreciation of nature, and human understanding.
Moreover, it is an ideal place to share with a group of friends a visit to an area where you can grow in every possible aspect.