Tres Marias Cottontail, Isla Maria Madre, Nayarit, Mexico – John and Karen Shrader – August 2023
Karen and I did a birding trip in August 2023 to Isla Maria Madre, Nayarit, Mexico with Michael Carmody, Legacy Tours, Inc., Spokane, Washington, which included our two mammal targets for the trip: The Tres Maria Cottontail (Sylvilagus graysoni) and the “Tres Maria Raccoon (Procyon lotor insularis)”. Information about how to get to the island and other logistics, where we saw the mammals, and a list of helpful references is included. We have also included detailed information on the endemic species and subspecies of birds and reptiles that are found on the island since many mammal watchers are also birders or interested in birds and/or reptiles. After well over 100 years being off-limits as the “Alcatraz of Mexico” the penal colony was closed on the main island in the Islas Marias archipelago, and the current Mexicn government, with the help of the Mexican Navy, has opened up the biggest island, Isla Maria Madre, to tourism. There are now large pedestrian ferries running to the island and former guard housing has been converted to very adequate lodging for tourists. Notes from a subsequent trip in December 2023 by Michael Carmody are included which provide a helpful comparison between summer and winter trips to the island.