Saturday, 27 October 2012

Mexican rave

I swore I would never return to an all-inclusive hotel. Well, family politics dictated that I attended a wedding near Cancun in Mexico; the grim prospect of a minimal birding foreign trip loomed.  Luckily the hotel was located in a mosquito and crocodile infested swamp, and you can never knock out the urge to go birding can you?

21 species during a wedding ceremony didn't seem too bad. Laughing Gull, Brown Pelican, Least Sandpiper, Double-crested Cormorant and Royal Tern on the beach. Ospreys drifting overhead. Yellow-throated Warbler and Northern Waterthrush in the nearby bush. The service got under way. “Will you tick this Magnificent Frigatebird?” “I will.”

The hotel golf course was the saviour; plenty of lakes and swampy scrub, if rather over-manicured in the American style. An early morning walk each day soon developed a reasonable list.  Even better, take a buggy around and just get out the 'scope instead of the clubs. The golf going on around me was somewhat lacking in quality. Anything that went vaguely straight and over 20 metres prompted highly enthusiastic shouts of "Gee, good golf" and "Go on Tiger". Therefore, the safest place to stand on the course was somewhere in a straight line between tee and hole.

The bushes held plenty of warblers and a good selection of vireos. Parula, Yellow and Magnolia Warblers were all numerous, as were Waterthrushes, Yellowthroat and Ovenbird. Then add in a few of the local specialities such as Yucatan and Mangrove Vireos, and Black-headed Trogon. Meanwhile, the lakes had Killdeers, Spotted Sandpipers, American Black Terns a selection of herons and numerous technicolour Grey-necked Wood Rails.

By 10.00am the increasingly wayward golfers, and the heat, drive you to the 19th for a margarita. Then on to the beach, more margarita’s, and close study of the American Sandwich Terns and Semipalmated Sandpipers. Could be worse I suppose.  Wedding over, we may be able to escape into the surrounding countryside....

Below: American Sandwich Tern: The bill is slightly shorter and thicker than Sandwich. The moulting adult shows darker unmoulted primaries and some new primaries which have a narrower (1-1.5 mm) white fringe than Sandwich (2-4 mm). The black rear crown and nape feathers are longer, blacker and more greasy looking than Sandwich.


Imperfect and tense said...

Fantastic wedding shot!

Grumpy Ecologist said...

Thanks, I'm available for commissions.