Mexico Travel Diary - p. 4Masked Tityra (64016 bytes)

26 March 2002
Meals at the cafetal fit the climate and work regime.  At dawn we have coffee, excellent of course, then a hearty breakfast at 9:30 a.m.  Our main meal is at 3:00 in the afternoon.  At about 7:30 p.m.,  we finish the day with a light snack.  In the heat of the day I retreat to a hammock on the second floor terrace for a short nap.  Today I awaken to Masked Tityras feeding on fruit of the trees around the cafetal.  These odd-looking and odd-sounding birds are cotingas, a diverse group unique to the American tropics.  Tityras are generally uncommon, but here they are one of the most frequently seen birds.

27 March 2002
Alvaro and I hike into the upper reaches of the plantation, where the best birds are:  Emerald Toucanet, Green Jay, Long-tailed Wood-Partridge, Happy Wren, Golden-crowned Warbler, and Scrub Euphonia.  Along the way we snack on the sweet tangy coffee berries, whose taste bears no hint of "coffee."  The coffee at Monte Carlo is shade-grown and free of pesticides.   However, it is not certified as such.  When international commissions come to certify coffee as shade-grown, Alvaro says, they expect to be wined and dined like royalty, and to stay in the finest hotels.  It would cost a month's earnings just to entertain them, so he, like many small growers, cannot afford it.
     Later near the patio, the concrete area where beans are dried, I find Baltimore Orioles Baltimore Oriole (63953 bytes)snacking on fruit of the mandimbo (Erhetia tinifolia) prior to their northward journey.

Russet-Crowned Motmot (61477 bytes)










30 March 2002

A splendid bit of luck today.  The Ricárdezes and I pack up and leave Monte Carlo this morning, and are trundling down the mountain in his Chevy pickup.  He, Martina, and I are in the cab.  Los ninos are in the back, along with luggage and their refrigerator, which gave up the ghost on the second day of our stay.  Suddenly a Russet-crowned Motmot flies across the road and perches in a low limb.  He remains there, eyeing us suspicously, as I set up camera and flash.   My tripod is in the back, so I place the camera on the side window opening and shoot half a roll.  All week I had sought in vain to photograph the motmot.  It's a peek-a-boo bird, usually hiding behind several layers of limbs and foliage.   Motmots, relatives of kingfishers, are also unique to the American tropics.  I am especially pleased to get the Russet-crowned because it is another bird that is only found on the Pacific coast of Mexico.

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