Mexico Travel Diary - p. 3Orange-breasted Bunting (56128 bytes)

21 March 2002
I'm spending a few days at Posada Cañon Devata, along the Pacific coast of southern Mexico.  It's a decidely offbeat resort that meanders up a wooded ravine outside the fishing village of Puerto Angel.  The posada is a cozy haven for Americans and Europeans and is of course the home of Buster, the notorious tomato-eating cat.  Buster will gladly share your salad with you, in fact he usually insists.
    Jeff and Marta, two New Yorkers who just married in Oaxaca City, are honeymooning here.  A birdbath near their chalet is the only one attracting Orange-breasted Bunting, tops on my list for the area.  They kindly agree to let me photograph this colorful charming little bird, endemic to western Mexico.

23 March 2002
Today is my first day at Cafetal Monte Carlo, a coffee plantation located at 3000 ft in the Sierra Madre del Sur.  My host is Alvaro Ricárdez Scherenberg, whose father built the cafetal in the 1940s using concrete brought up the mountain by mule train.  Coffee growing in Oaxaca state, unfortunately, has fallen on hard times.  Prices are low, but worse is the fact that men who formerly picked the coffee have left the valley for better paying jobs in Mexico City and the U.S.  Cafetal Monte Carlo (67235 bytes)Ecotourism offers a good chance to keep the cafetal going.  The Ricárdezes now live in Oaxaca City much of the time, and have come here for the Easter holiday.  Our party consists of Alvaro and me, his wife Martina, their children Maria, Francisco, and David, two cats, two dogs, and four puppies.  The runt of the litter is named Napoleono. 

24 March 2002
Early in the morning Alvaro and I hike the mountain road,  enjoying good views of Common Black Hawk, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Citreoline Trogon, White-throated Magpie-Jay, Lineated Woodpecker, Rose-throated Becard, and both Audubon's and Streak-backed Oriole.  We meet a group of Zapotec Indians, who have walked 8 miles, and will walk another 7, to visit relatives in another village.  The matriarch carries on her back a bundle supported by a mecapal, a wide band across her forehead.  She speaks Spanish slowly, because her first language is Zapotec.  Alvaro says that in the most remote mountain villages, Spanish is neither spoken nor understood.

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