Saturday, April 27, 2019

Yucatan Day 1 - Cenote Verde Lucero (13Apr2019)

On recommendation from the Jolie Jungle staff we headed to Cenote Verde Lucero on the way to Playa Carmen.  Initially we were hesitant to stop places with all of our stuff in the car but we never really got a bad vibe anywhere and used common sense in never leaving anything of value visible in the car.  Its no different than what I do at home in the states anyhow.  To be honest the only things I care about anyway are my family and my camera and that is always glued to my side except when swimming.

Olive-throated Parakeets ended up being pretty common throughout the trip but at the time we arrived at the Cenote it was hard to get me out of the parking lot.  However, it was warm and cooling off with the kids in the Cenote was super refreshing.  The folks that ran the cenote had set up some zip lines and there were multiple places to jump from the rim into the water.  Unfortunately Melissa did not get footage of my swan dive from the highest jump but she did get a short clip of Luke and I jumping in from one of the smaller jumps.

While the boys played in the water I walked around the cenote drying off and looking for some birds.

Clay-colored Thrushes were common all over the Yucatan.

North American migrants were plentiful including this Summer Tanager.

Blue Bunting was a lifer for me as I missed one in TX.

There were several hard to ID flycatchers flitting about and I tried my best to get some identifiable photos but I am starting to resign myself to the fact that if I really want to have identifiable media I will need to start more sound recording and video.  I decided the above bird was probably an Eastern Wood-Pewee based on long primary projection, lack of eye-ring and dark upper mandible with a darker bill tip.

Flycatching close by was this Pewee which I determined was a Tropical Pewee based on the mostly lighter bill and buffier appearance.  I did here the call notes but I could not be sure which bird the notes were coming from.  However, playing on my app the call notes matched Tropical Pewee which is an expected bird but with migrants pouring through I had to be careful.

Altamira Orioles were common everywhere.  I did not do enough homework before the trip and IDing the various orioles was not easy but I reasoned I could shoot first and ID later.  Now I see that Altamiras are easy to ID when you see an orange shoulder on the wing and prominent white wing bar.

Black-and-whites were common.

At the time I thought this was a lifer but was not sure which.  Turns out it is just a House Wren!

Here is the presumed Tropical Pewee.  Note the medium primary projection (wing tip extension from the rest of the wing feathers) and the mostly lighter bill.

Olive-throated Parakeet.

A couple of Spider Monkeys were hanging out the barbeque area where a local family was having lunch.  It was obvious these monkeys were regulars and have learned to get handouts.  However, it offered me good opportunities to get close and personal with a species I previously only saw through treetops.

The family left a cup with Coke sitting around and this cheeky monkey quickly came down and grabbed the cup and chugged the Coke.

Eastern Wood-Pewee - note the longer projection and darker upper mandible.

Gartered Trogon!

Tropical Pewee

Blue Bunting on a Pineapple plant!

Our next stop was Playa Carmen where we dropped off our rental car in a parking lot and headed to the passenger ferry for Cozumel.  This was probably the only part of the trip that made me nervous.  Upon arrival at the ferry terminal we got in a huge line and waited for over an hour all the while watching the ferries getting tossed all over in huge waves breaking up against the docks.  In the states, they never would have ran the ferries because of the waves but in Mexico this seemed to be normal.  The boats would pull up the dock and get tossed around making a horrible sound every time the side of the boat rubbed up against the dock and the gangplank for entry and exit onto the boat was practically falling into the water every 5 minutes with 6 guys trying to hold it into place.  They would shout for passengers to run across the gangplank in between waves and then tell people to stop when a wave came.  Once finally on the boat the crew passed around barf bags but luckily no one seemed to get sick.

If it was just me, I would have never been nervous but when you have precious cargo like these two guys it definitely frazzled me.

After a 45 minute ride to Cozumel we quickly found our rental car place (interestingly enough called ISiS after the god) and checked in to our harbor side boutique hotel (Casa Mexicana) which was really nice and in the center of town with a great view over the harbor and the many swallows and frigate birds.  Dinner at a taqueria was good but I have to say that we never got tacos better than the fish tacos at Savorez back in Wilmington.

Next installment - Cozumel!

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