Mexico Travel Diary - p 2

Russet Nightingale-thrush14 March 2009
An unwelcome sound this morning:  rain on the cabaña roof.  It is of course a quiet rain; not a whisper of thunder.  We watch the showers as Carmen, a whirlwind of activity, soon whips up a breakfast of frijoles, boiled eggs, cheese quesadillas, and scrambled flor de agave.  The agave is common here in Sinaloa state; its flowers seem to be a culinary delicacy.
    With the rain comes the cold, enough to see one’s breath.  A long slow day seems in the offering.  I spend the morning watching birds around the cabaña, including Russet Nightingale-thrush, the name prettier than the bird.

Olive Warbler15 March 2009
More rain last night and this morning; so cold that we all retreated into the cabaña for breakfast, beginning with rich hot chocolate laced with cinnamon sticks.  On a late morning walk with Santos, we struck gold, a fine warbler flock.  The damp woods swarmed with brilliant little jewels.  Among the warbler prizes were Golden-browed, Crescent-chested, Hermit, Red, and Townsend's, the latter perhaps the most common warbler here.  Joining the party were Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Pine and also Tufted Flycatchers, and two more warblers, Slate-throated Redstart and Orange-crowned Warbler.  My favorite, though, was a lifer - Olive Warbler, busy gleaning insects from pine buds.  This bird's world is pine forests from Central America to, in summer, Arizona and New Mexico.

Red-faced Warbler

16 March 2009
For my last day here, a perfect sunny morning in the barranca.  The birds are ravenous after our spate of cold weather.  The upper reaches of the canyon swarm with the usual suspects, not to mention Red-headed and Hepatic Tanagers, White-striped Woodcreepers,  and a new bird for the trip, Grey-collared Becard.
    For several hours I wander amid feeding warblers, awaiting that lucky shot that never seems to come.  I've visited the Texas Coast and Point Pelee during songbird migration, but would put neither of those birding hotspots ahead of the barranca and its teeming mix of migrating and resident birds.  All, including the Red-faced Warbler I worked so hard to get, feed and dart about frenetically, as if they have a bad case of caffeine jitters.


Crescent-chested Warbler

Finally a Crescent-chested Warbler, another denizen of pine-oak forests in Mexico and Central America, gives a good look as it perches in the open for a few seconds and even bursts into what passes for song among warblers. 
    So tomorrow it's back to bright, noisy civilization.  As for the Preserve cabañas, all are wired and awaiting electricity.  Visitors here will soon enjoy bright lights, a fridge, a plug for their laptops, all the comforts of home.  Maybe I'm just being old and contrary, but I liked it fine the way it was.



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