Once more the speeding train of time has swiftly moved, and here I am, back in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle after over a month in Portland, Oregon, helping my daughter’s household run smoothly after the birth in mid-December of the new, lovely granddaughter. With two older boys, 7 and 4 also at home, I was pretty much busy from 7am until about 9pm. So here at last are some pictures of the birds we saw in November and December as we explored the Costa Alegre (see the two previous posts for more about our adventures).
This post might be titled The Cacti and the Mangroves, because our closest sightings of birds occurred on the islands populated with huge cardon (?) cacti, or in the estuaries populated with mangroves. Very different ecologies, and very different bird sightings. The cacti were roosting spots for Magnificent Frigatebirds, Black Vultures, and Brown Boobies. Brown Pelicans roosted in nearby trees, and the occasional furtive dweller back in the thick tangles of vegetation would tease me with a quick sighting that defied identification. I was surprised to see Brown Boobies perched on cacti.
The Brown Boobies were nesting underneath the cacti, and even out in the open on the occasional grassy spots, which is why Isla Pasavera is so popular with the birds, because of it’s steepness, there are areas where the vegetation is mostly grass.
Just like on Isla Isabel last spring, the Boobies were hardly disturbed by our presence, I don’t think that too many people climb up the steep hillside above a tangle of cacti and other plants, to take pictures of the birds. We found this pair, were they greeting, courting, or fighting?
At Punta Perala, and again at Tenecatita, there were long estuaries to explore with the kayaks, sometimes wide open, sometimes close and dense, so dense that in one place we needed to take apart our paddles and use just half the paddle like a canoe paddle, dodging the mangrove roots that closed in around us.
After about two hours of paddling and exploring in the Tenecatita estuary, we came out of the thick growth of mangroves to find a lagoon perhaps a half mile wide, with a deserted fishing camp at one end.
The estuaries are rich with life, the vegetation and water and air supporting all the animals, from the tiny gnats and spiders to the large herons and egrets, all part of the teeming variety of creatures there. We didn’t ever see a crocodile in these waters, I’m not sure if they have been hunted for flesh and eggs by the local Mexicans, if they are really elusive, or if we just didn’t spot any. Here are some promised shots of some of the birds we saw.
The first picture was tweaked with Snapseed, to make it really green. The Great Blue Heron and the Great Egret look like they ingested green dye instead of fish. The next bird is a Lesser Yellowlegs, doing the Stroll. (That’s a dance from the early 60’s, in case you never saw American Bandstand).
In the mangroves we also saw Belted Kingfishers, Green Kingfishers, Long-billed Curlews, Marbled Godwits, Whimbrels, Black-necked Stilts, Yellow-crowned Night Herons, a Common Black Hawk, Mangrove Swallows, Tropical Kingbirds, Great Kiskadees, and we startled a Paraque, which usually is active only at night. Hope you’ve enjoyed this cactus and mangrove tour. For something different, the next blog will probably show shots of this past week, when I worked for two days in a spay and neuter clinic, and then got to do chemistry with four young friends here in the marina.