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Lesser Roadrunner is one of the specialties of the Yucatan Peninsula -- and this one spread-eagled in the road near Uxmal was certainly obliging! Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
Our Yucatan and Cozumel tour offers a lovely short break "south of the border," ranging across the entire width of the Yucatan peninsula as we visit some of the region's most famous Mayan ruins -- which also contain some of the peninsula's most sought-after birds. The weather was (for the most part) delightful, with little rain and generally pleasant temperatures. And the birding was most enjoyable!
We started the tour on Cozumel, birding primarily along the island's protected western flank. The tangled forest here is short and dense, and the beaches edged with a thin strand of cream-colored sand. Among our targets were a pair of island endemics (the Cozumel Thrasher, sadly, has not been seen by anyone for more than a decade), and both cooperated wonderfully: a glittering male Cozumel Emerald patrolled around a big stand of orange flowers, and a pair of Cozumel Vireos peeped from leafy vegetation along a quiet back road while searching for insect prey. Other good sightings included several singing Yucatan Vireos along the road out to Alberto's (where swat teams of Black Catbirds swept along the roadsides and a tiny Yucatan Woodpecker hammered a tree trunk over our heads), some snazzy Western Spindalis flocks among the fruiting trees, a sleek and wary Mangrove Cuckoo that posed for long minutes in a roadside mangrove, a confiding Caribbean Elaenia, a couple of berry-gobbling White-crowned Pigeons, and a trio of rail species at the island's northernmost point (a pair of Ruddy Crakes that came within yards of us among the mangroves, a half-hidden Sora rummaging for goodies near the parking lot, and a pair of Clapper Rails that strode along the back edge of a puddle, occasionally bursting into song). And who will soon forget the point-blank overwintering warblers that danced through the trees right outside the doors of our rooms?!
A short ferry ride later, and we were on the mainland, starting our exploration of the Yucatan peninsula. First up was the area around Coba, where taller, richer forest and a series of interconnected lakes and cenotes surround the ancient Mayan city. Mixed flock madness was the order of the day here: Hooded, Worm-eating, and Blue-winged warblers consorted with Black-tailed Trogons and Greenish Elaenias among the ruins, a chance stop at an intersection near the lake brought us sparring Altamira Orioles, our first Yellow-winged Tanager, a Bronzed Cowbird, and more Melodious Blackbirds than you could shake a stick at (plus a Purple Gallinule picking through the reed beds below the trees), and a stroll along the entrance road to a remote cenote yielded a lovely male Rose-throated Tanager, a tail-swinging Turquoise-browed Motmot, foraging Canivet's and White-bellied emeralds, a Buff-bellied Hummingbird, an unexpected Red-legged Honeycreeper (normally gone during the winter), and a clown car's worth of noisy Yucatan Jays among the warblers and flycatchers. Olivaceous and Ivory-billed woodcreepers hitched up neighboring trees among the ruins, a Spotted Rail crept through the reeds nearly to our feet (under the boardwalk), and Limpkins paraded along the lake shore.
Then it was off to another ancient city: Chichen Itza this time, with an early morning visit to Punta Laguna, and a stop at Valladolid for a superb lunch at Meson de Marques. The area around the entrance to Punta Laguna was hopping, with a variety of orioles, vireos, warblers, and tanagers (including a pair of Yellow-tailed Orioles and our first gang of yellow-eyed Green ("Inca") Jays), and the trails there yielded more new sightings, including a little gang of Collared Aracaris raiding a fruit tree, a soggy, spread-tailed Squirrel Cuckoo, Green-backed Sparrows hopping along a path, a pair of Gartered Trogons, a confiding trio of Red-throated Ant-Tanagers near the cenote, a wild-eyed Bright-rumped Attila, and another nice mix of warblers. Our visit to the ruins at Chichen Itza was a tad on the soggy side (!!) but the next morning's outing was nicely birdy. A tiny but fierce Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl tooted from a dead snag (while his mate preened nearby), Yellow-winged Tanagers, Masked Tityras, and a Golden-olive Woodpecker gobbled fruits, a mob of "Ridgway's" Northern Rough-winged Swallows perched conveniently on a wire, a White-bellied Wren peeped from viny tangles, and mixed flocks of overwintering warblers and widespread tropical residents kept us entertained.
Another day, another ancient city! From Chichen, we moved on (via another superb lunch, this time at the gorgeous Hacienda Xixim) to Uxmal -- drier still than the previous locations. Though we struggled with nightbirds (darn those nightjars -- and that calling, but elusive screech-owl!), we had some great encounters with other species. A gorgeous male Gray-throated Chat gleamed among the vegetation on a foggy morning, a Lesser Roadrunner stood spread-eagled in the middle of the road, a mixed "juice" of four oriole species (Altamira, Hooded, Black-cowled, and the endemic Orange) flashed colorful semaphores from treetops near the highway, noisy mobs of White-fronted Parrots swirled overhead and gabbled in treetops, a pair of Lineated Woodpeckers checked out a conveniently leafless tree, Scrub and Yellow-throated euphonias investigated mistletoe clumps, a surprise Gray-headed Kite soared overhead, and flocks of overwintering warblers -- with a few unexpected Blue-gray Tanagers -- moved among ancient ruins.
We ended the tour on the peninsula's western edge, around the rich Celestun estuary, where waterbirds and landbirds vied for our attention. Among the chief highlights here were the hot pink American Flamingos that spend the winter in the area's rich waters; they'd just begun to arrive, so their numbers were small -- but they were certainly bright! Our boat trip also turned up a trio of endearing American Pygmy Kingfishers, a balletic group of fishing American White Pelicans and a handsome adult Common Black Hawk, and explorations of the nearby mangrove swamp netted us a fistful of visiting shorebirds, some close Boat-billed Herons, a pair of Rufous-necked Wood-Rails stepping carefully along branches, and an early morning chorus from a perched-up Collared Forest-Falcon. In the drier coastal scrub, a male Mexican Sheartail dazzled us (and presumably his perched lady love) with his towering display flight (and his glittering gorget, when he perched as well), a gang of Yucatan Wrens entertained us as they swarmed through a brushy roadside field, White-lored Gnatcatchers flicked through the thorn scrub, a surprise Jabiru (a rare vagrant recorded less than once a decade here) flew overhead, and a calling Yucatan Flycatcher led us on a walkabout on our last birding stop en route to Merida.
Throughout the tour, we enjoyed a touch of culture, with visits to the magnificent ruins of Coba, Chichen Itza and Uxmal -- expertly narrated by Alex and Rodio -- and some fine Yucatecan cuisine. All in all, it was a delightful early winter visit south of the border. Thank you for sharing the adventure with us; I hope to see you all in the field again soon!
KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant
THICKET TINAMOU (Crypturellus cinnamomeus) [*]
The American Flamingo is the most vibrantly colored of the world's flamingos. The ones we found seemed to float like pink swans on the Celestun estuary. Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors)
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
PLAIN CHACHALACA (Ortalis vetula)
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
BLACK-THROATED BOBWHITE (Colinus nigrogularis)
SINGING QUAIL (Dactylortyx thoracicus) [*]
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps) [b]
AMERICAN FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus ruber)
A fierce little Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl tooted challenges while his mate preened one morning near Chichen Itza. Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
JABIRU (Jabiru mycteria)
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga)
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) [b]
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)
The intricately decorated Nunnery Quadrangle at Uxmal is a masterpiece of engineering. Photo by participant Ann Scarfe.
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja)
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis)
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis)
This was the special desert they served us at Uxmal one evening. Yum bootik means "thank you" in Mayan. Photo by participant Ann Scarfe.
COMMON BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus anthracinus)
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)
GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus)
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
RUDDY CRAKE (Laterallus ruber)
CLAPPER RAIL (YUCATAN) (Rallus crepitans pallidus)
RUFOUS-NECKED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides axillaris)
GRAY-NECKED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus)
SORA (Porzana carolina)
SPOTTED RAIL (Pardirallus maculatus)
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinicus)
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
Close views of several diminutive American Pygmy Kingfishers were definitely among the highlights on our Celestun boat trip. Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) [b]
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus) [b]
NORTHERN JACANA (Jacana spinosa)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)
A low-flying Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture along the road to Celestun gave us a good view at the feature which gives it its name. Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
SANDERLING (Calidris alba)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri)
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)
SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
WHITE-CROWNED PIGEON (Patagioenas leucocephala)
RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris)
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto)
COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina)
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)
A rather soggy Squirrel Cuckoo tries to dry out after a short, sharp shower at Punta Laguna. Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
CARIBBEAN DOVE (Leptotila jamaicensis) [*]
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)
MANGROVE CUCKOO (Coccyzus minor)
LESSER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx velox)
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris)
VERMICULATED SCREECH-OWL (GUATEMALAN) (Megascops guatemalae thompsoni) [*]
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) [*]
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum)
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)
VAUX'S SWIFT (Chaetura vauxi)
MEXICAN SHEARTAIL (Doricha eliza) [E]
COZUMEL EMERALD (Chlorostilbon forficatus) [E]
CANIVET'S EMERALD (Chlorostilbon canivetii)
WHITE-BELLIED EMERALD (Amazilia candida)
Mexican food in the Yucatan is definitely worth writing home about! This fancy soup was one of the offerings at Meson de Marques in Valladolid. Photo by participant Ann Scarfe.
BUFF-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia yucatanensis)
CINNAMON HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia rutila)
BLACK-HEADED TROGON (Trogon melanocephalus)
GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus)
TURQUOISE-BROWED MOTMOT (Eumomota superciliosa)
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) [b]
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea)
COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus)
YUCATAN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pygmaeus)
This stunning little Mexican Sheartail wowed us (and presumably dazzled his lady love as well) as he displayed to a nearby perched female. What an impressive display flight! Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes aurifrons)
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus varius)
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus)
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur semitorquatus)
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway)
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) [*]
MERLIN (Falco columbarius) [b]
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
WHITE-FRONTED PARROT (Amazona albifrons)
OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEET (Eupsittula nana)
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)
BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (MAYAN) (Formicarius analis moniliger) [*]
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus)
IVORY-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus flavigaster)
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma imberbe)
A couple of berry-gobbling White-crowned Pigeons were conveniently low in a roadside tree on Cozumel. Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata)
CARIBBEAN ELAENIA (Elaenia martinica)
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)
NORTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma cinereigulare) [*]
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens)
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus)
LEAST FLYCATCHER (Empidonax minimus) [b]
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus)
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus)
YUCATAN FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus yucatanensis)
A confiding pair of Clapper Rails were among the six rail species we found on the tour. Photo by partipant Johanne Charbonneau.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) [*]
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)
COUCH'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus couchii)
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata)
ROSE-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus aglaiae)
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
WHITE-EYED VIREO (Vireo griseus)
MANGROVE VIREO (Vireo pallens)
Many of the tour's possible endemics cooperated very nicely, like this Cozumel Vireo -- one of two we found foraging beside a road on the island. Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
COZUMEL VIREO (Vireo bairdi) [E]
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) [b]
YUCATAN VIREO (Vireo magister)
LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis gujanensis)
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
BROWN JAY (Psilorhinus morio)
GREEN JAY (Cyanocorax yncas)
YUCATAN JAY (Cyanocorax yucatanicus)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (RIDGWAY'S) (Stelgidopteryx serripennis ridgwayi)
A couple of handsome Yellow-tailed Orioles were among a string of birds that entertained us near the entrance to Punta Laguna one morning. Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea)
CAVE SWALLOW (Petrochelidon fulva)
HOUSE WREN (COZUMEL I.) (Troglodytes aedon beani)
CAROLINA WREN (WHITE-BROWED) (Thryothorus ludovicianus albinucha)
YUCATAN WREN (Campylorhynchus yucatanicus) [E]
SPOT-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius maculipectus)
WHITE-BELLIED WREN (Uropsila leucogastra)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)
WHITE-LORED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila albiloris)
The gang checks out a tree full of Black Catbirds and Western Spindalis on Cozumel. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea)
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina) [*]
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi)
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
BLACK CATBIRD (Melanoptila glabrirostris)
GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus)
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla) [b*]
WORM-EATING WARBLER (Helmitheros vermivorum) [b]
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) [b]
The Yucatan Flycatcher, endemic to the peninsula, was the last of our new species, found on the way to Merida our last afternoon. Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora cyanoptera) [b]
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) [b]
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)
HOODED WARBLER (Setophaga citrina) [b]
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) [b]
CAPE MAY WARBLER (Setophaga tigrina) [b]
NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana) [b]
MAGNOLIA WARBLER (Setophaga magnolia) [b]
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
YELLOW WARBLER (GOLDEN) (Setophaga petechia rufivertex)
BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER (Setophaga caerulescens) [b]
PALM WARBLER (Setophaga palmarum)
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (Setophaga dominica) [b]
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (Setophaga virens) [b]
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)
YELLOW-WINGED TANAGER (Thraupis abbas)
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes cyaneus)
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)
What a spectacular little bird! This snazzy male Gray-throated Chat brightened up a misty, quiet pre-breakfast outing near Uxmal. Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
YELLOW-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris olivaceus)
WESTERN SPINDALIS (Spindalis zena)
BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR (Saltator atriceps)
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens)
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
OLIVE SPARROW (Arremonops rufivirgatus)
GREEN-BACKED SPARROW (Arremonops chloronotus)
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
ROSE-THROATED TANAGER (Piranga roseogularis)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)
RED-THROATED ANT-TANAGER (Habia fuscicauda)
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis)
Looks a bit crowded on that fencepost! One Yucatan Wren wasn't REALLY standing on the other, though it sure looks like that in the picture... Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus)
GRAY-THROATED CHAT (Granatellus sallaei)
INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea)
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
MELODIOUS BLACKBIRD (Dives dives)
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)
BLACK-COWLED ORIOLE (Icterus prosthemelas)
HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus)
YELLOW-TAILED ORIOLE (Icterus mesomelas)
ORANGE ORIOLE (Icterus auratus)
ALTAMIRA ORIOLE (Icterus gularis)
The Magician's Temple rises out of the surrounding forest at Uxmal. Photo by participant Michel Metayer.
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus)
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
SCRUB EUPHONIA (Euphonia affinis)
YELLOW-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia hirundinacea)
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)
YUCATAN SQUIRREL (Sciurus yucatanensis)
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata)
NORTHERN RACCOON (Procyon lotor)
WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica)
COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu)
One of the fun things about this tour is seeing "our" birds in their winter habitats -- like this Yellow-throated Warbler hopping around on the ground (or foraging at eye level) at our Cozumel hotel! Photo by participant Johanne Charbonneau.
Celestun dump, Cozumel sewage ponds,
Our leaders waved their magic wands,
Conjuring rails, owls, orioles through their scope,
Tempting us to begin hope,
That every species, dove to grassquit,
Would automatically and scientifically split.
Thus our trip list with no trouble
Would instantaneously double.
Coba, Chichen, their huge ball courts
Proved Mayans love of extreme sports.
Two captains and twelve players,
Two leaders and twelve birds.
A game of skill played to the death.
The concept made us pause for breath.
Should we win or lose instead,
Would we be without a head?
We know Chac, the god of rain.
Source of life, all powerful, a superbrain.
But to us, avian pilgrims, modern druids,
Megan and Alex are gods of fluids.
Cerveza, vino, poc chuc, pibil,
Sopa, pollo, meal after meal,
Guacamole, tortillas, flan and mangoes,
Alex and Megan = superheroes!
Ann and Barb's poem:
To Villa Blanca on Cozumel,
Twelve birders came one day.
One half of them from Canada,
And half from the USA.
Off to Alberto’s we did drive
On our first morning fine,
Black Catbirds called from every bush,
And warblers from every vine.
At Lake Coba we did find
Many dark birds on a wire.
So many Melodious Blackbirds there …
You might as well call it a choir.
Now hummingbirds a favorite are.
Here shiny Emeralds did delight.
There was Cozumel and Canavet’s,
And those with bellies white.
(Aside: Not to mention that displaying Sheartail later!)
Coba brought us small white dots
On wren and also rail,
And greetings from a young doorman,
Politeness without fail.
For Punta Laguna we were told:
The wardrobe’s not clam-diggers,
And we obeyed implicitly,
Just to avoid those chiggers.
Chichen Itza brought us owls;
That morning pair was quite a score.
But then along our evening drive,
There popped up yet two more.
Friday morning brought the fog.
Along the trail we did not jog.
At the end of the road to our delight,
A juice of orioles came into sight.
Those Saturday grosbeaks in a tree
Did make us all just clap with glee.
Then Alan found us quite a stunner
When he spotted a Lesser Roadrunner.
Pink flamingos and anhinga necks
Were joys for all to see,
But surely the stars of the Celestun trip
Must be those kingfishers three.
We mustn’t forget out driver Juan
Who drove us safe each day
On highways, byways, and rough-hewn tracks,
Helping us enjoy our stay.
But now our trip is at an end,
And homeward we are bound.
Many a laugh we all have shared,
And many a bird we found.
And as we go our separate ways
And take leave from friends old and new,
We know we’ll all keep birding on.
This is au revoir but not adieu.
Totals for the tour: 202 bird taxa and 5 mammal taxa