Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mexico II: Sayulita (290-293)

Wow, time flies! At this rate I'll never keep up with my birding adventures. Life has been a little bit nutty...I've been working my tail off (and let's face it, playing pretty hard too)...but it's time to take a timeout for the birds!

Following our morning jungle birding earlier that day, we walked into town. The surf was not so good in Sayulita when we visited, so we found van to take us out to La Lancha. On the drive over, there was a pond with some birds, and we made the van full of surfers stop so we could take pictures (just in case it was the only time we saw them. i apologized profusely and swore we wouldn't ask them to do it. luckily everyone was pretty chill about it...ha).

When we got there I was a little sad (but not really) that we couldn't take anything at all. La Lancha is guarded and you can only get in if you have a board, and your board is all you are allowed to take with you. So we headed in and I have nary a shot to show for it. Not that the camera would have been useful to me anyway. Sometimes I need something to get the camera out of my hands so I can just see things.

So my highlight of the whole day was actually this: hanging out on my board, waiting for the next set, scanning the scene ahead of rock turning into white beach and coast. A convoy of 10 or so pelicans cruise low along the surface of the water toward the shore...they are a ways down the beach but they approach, hugging the water's surface as they go, until they are right where I am, and one by one, each silently, gracefully, effortlessly lifts directly over me just as we appear to collide. the very last one, I swear, looks me in the eye as he goes. i don't think any camera could capture that, and words barely do either. I think that feeling will stick with me forever. i just sat there in awe and my mouth gaped. this, this is a happy girl. i turned around and said to everyone, I don't care if I get another damn wave. it was all worth it just for that moment.
Luckily this girl has some pictures of La Lancha

It was only a few hours before I was totally wiped, so we tried Sayulita Fish Tacos with our new friend Aryn and we had one thing on our minds: margaritas. Not having eaten all day, and only one rather strong margarita was all it took to put me out of commission. Afterwards, we wandered around town and found a great birding spot (the wastewater treatment centre beside the river) but Matt took all the photos, me still being in my "margarita mindset"). 
This one little area was a hotbed of birds! Just about a block from the beach was a totally different scene, but here we had some really beautiful species that we're just so unused to seeing that it was a real treat.

I love the shots where there are different types of birds together...especially when they are birds I don't normally get to see!
White Ibis, black-necked stilt, snowy egret
 #290: White Ibis; February 2014; Sayulita, Mexico
(I guess we did see the white ibis again after all, but they looked totally different! We never saw the all-white ones again)
There were so many beautiful and interesting birds in such a small area. The snowy egrets were a blast to watch, chasing each other around and hopping over each other, it's easy to laugh when such an elegant bird is being so inconsistently awkward compared to its appearance!

We'd seen the Hawaiian subspecies of the black-necked stilt, but here's the more common variation:

As you can see, the water wasn't looking very clear, but this little blue heron didn't seem to mind. Yuck!

#291: Little Blue Heron,  February 2014; Sayulita, Mexico
Again in BW. I'm not sure which I prefer. I never do this so you can see the colours, but I think this one looks really nice. So strikingly elegant.

It seemed that a lot of birds came to this little spot to roost for the night. The area was taken over by caciques--detected most easily by the total racket they were making, but also the flashes of yellow and black They were incredibly hard to photograph.

Soon we saw a tricolored heron land in a big palm tree across the creek.

#292: Tricolored Heron; February 2014; Sayulita, Mexico
Then a snowy egret came into land. A cormorant also came in, and they didn't seem to mind each other at all.
And then we noticed a little blue also in the same tree, standing silently.
I was just a little bit in awe that there were so many spectacular birds in one tree.
There was also a green heron at the bottom!
Clockwise from bottom left: green heron, double-crested cormorant, snowy egret (circle moved somehow!), tricolored heron, little blue heron, snowy egret. Amazing!
Then, all that was left to do was head toward the beach, enjoy basking in the warm glow of the setting sun, watch some fisherman hand cast nets in the shallows and watch the pelicans dive for fish--my favourite activity and the end of a perfect day. Sayulita, our stay with you was short and sweet, but absolutely wonderful. But we like to move and we have more adventures waiting for us...always!

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