Sunday, May 1, 2011

I'm Intercontinental When I Eat French Toast

Some nights big flocks of Swainson's Hawks and Broad-winged Hawks come in to spend the night on the hill above town. As with all the pics here, double click to enlarge the specks.

April 23, 2011.

Five more days.

By the time you are reading this, I will probably be back in the virtual arms of the internet, being cradled by the collective lot of you. You will once again have more than one blog post a week, which I know you must have. No more will your nightmares revolve around the scarcity of photos on BB&B and weird formatting issues that I can’t seem to lose. Expect another interview and some new installments of Birders As Art. The Human Birdwatcher Project will once again rise from the ashes like a socially inept Phoenix, and BB&B will continue on its near-vertical trajectory of becoming the best bird blog. Of course, some would contend that it already is, and to you I say you are Right. But I must spread the word. The blogetite for BB&B is very strong, I know.

I hope you’ve all been birding much.

Besides vultures and birds of prey, other migrants like Anhingas, Wood Storks and these American White Pelicans can be seen flying over Chavarrillo as well.

Carlos is a master bird mimic. This is on top of the pigeon shuffle (which, not jokingly, I believe he does next to people as a territorial display), that all of you should be familiar with. The other mainstay is the rooster crow, which is incredibly annoying when he does it early in the morning in a confined space. Then there is the pigeon/chicken peck, which is how he occasionally eats his food. Yesterday I caught him doing what has to be a Melodious Blackbird song, at the top of his lungs. This is relatively easy to do if you haven’t hit puberty yet. He also displays some strange cat-like tendencies, such as mewing, hissing, lapping water from a wide, shallow bowl, and attempting to catch flies with his mouth.

The day before I leave Mexico I’ll be on the coast south of Veracruz, birding viciously. I haven’t seen the ocean since I flew down here in February and it will be cool to check out a new place. And its avifauna. Obviously. There are rumors of Thick-knees, Fork-tailed Flycatchers and Pinnated Bitterns there. Jesus! Tears are coming to my eyes just thinking about it.

Veracruz state is blessed with a strange mix of birds from both eastern and western North America, like this MacGillivray's Warbler. He is probably sulking about not skulking in this photo.

Standard counting swag. Coffee, data sheet, clickers (for Turkey Vulture, Swainson's Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk and Mississippi Kite, respectively), field notebook, ipod, nerd.

I highly recommend people come down to bird Veracruz state, if they get the chance. The quantity and diversity of birds here is amazing, and I wish I would have had the chance to experience more of it. In the spring, there is the raptor migration here in Chavarrillo to check out, and of course there is the River Of Raptors in the fall. There are coastal mangrove forests, marshes, rainforest, thorn forest, high elevation coniferous forest, and everything inbetween. Robert Straub, bird guru of Veracruz, has a great book on birding sites throughout the state that would be crucial to get your hands on.

The drug war seems like it’s only a rumor from where I stand here, but of course I know from personal experience it is all too real to the north…at any rate the risk of another Tamaulipas Incident here seems quite low. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Montezuma's Oropendulas are common around town. They are huge and ridiculous.

There is a big party building up in the plaza here for Semanas Santos. The godawful loudspeaker tower that is lashed to the roof of a neighboring house has been playing ridiculous music on a loop all morning. The chorus of one song is “I see. I know. Meow meow meow meow.”, followed by a synthesizer making cat-like mew sounds. The rest of the song is in Spanish. Pretty great.

The internet has been elusive for quite some time now. The only place in Chavarrillo with internet has been closed, and a journey to another town specifically for emailing also ended in failure. I must communicate. I guess its back to searching the sky until then.


  1. Meow meow meow. I love huge and ridiculous birds. Rad. I just looked at what you've been listening to lately and have to highly recommend Micah Schrabnel's solo album, if you haven't already heard it... It's been playing nonstop in my head even after I turn off the stereo.

  2. That name sounds super familar...from some Suburban Home band maybe? Ill have to check it out, thanks!