Sunday, May 19, 2019

Tulum Part 2 (16Apr2019)

We stayed in Tulum for 3 nights and on Day 2 we spent the day exploring locally.  Luckily the family was happy to sleep in and eat breakfast while I explored the birding spots.  I hit up Muyil again early in the morning but this time went straight to the spot I knew was good without having to search.

Yellow-billed Cacique

Tawny-winged Woodcreeper

Northern Waterthrush

Russet-naped Wood-rail - probably the highlight of the day when this bird strutted by.

Streaked Flycatcher

Yellow-olive Flycatcher

Black-cowled Oriole

Red-throated Ant-tanager

Yellow-green Vireo

Tawny-winged Woodcreeper

Morpho Butterfly (one of the species but I don't know which) - I was trying my best to get a dorsal shot of the unbelievably blue surface but had no luck.  The blue colors of the Morpho are actually not pigmentation but iridescence from structural coloration.  The blue color is from light refraction off the surface which is why you can't even catch a hint of it from the ventral side.

After going back and picking up the family, we headed back to Muyil but this time the archeological site was open.  This site was really nice because it was nestled in the jungle without tons of vendors hawking stuff.  Here are some pics from Melissa because as usual if it is not alive and breathing I don't usually take photos.  That is the shortcoming of a fixed 400 lens.

True to many parks the best birds were in the parking lot.

Bronzed Cowbirds

Rose-throated Becard female.

It was freaking hot and humid so we headed to Laguna Kaan Luum which promised to be a good place to take a swim and cool off.  Unfortunately half of the population of the Yucatan also had the same idea so I decided to hike down the lake shore to look for birds.  The lake can really be appreciated from above as the middle drops down into a huge blue hole but from the side it is less impressive.  All the photos online are from a drone.

Here is a photo from online, I repeat the following is not mine so no lawsuits please.

Melissa snapped this shot before I left. They swam and applied the therapeutic mud while I looked for some birds.

The photos were washed out but I kind of liked them.  This was either a Couch's or Tropical Kingbird.

Morelet's Seedeater

Great Kiskadee

Yucatan Woodpecker

Altamira Orioles were nesting in the parking lot.

Stomachs were rumbling so we headed to our next destination at Tulum Beach.  Javier the proprietor of our villa suggested a nice restaurant right on the beach, I think it was called Hotel Dos Ceibas or something.  Pretty good food and eating there gets you access which is good because parking in this beach section of Tulum is at a premium.  The beach area is very similar to Santa Theresa in Costa Rica.  Lots of young beach bums and street vendors selling crafts and expensive boutique stores but that suited Melissa fine.

 Magnificent Frigatebird

Common Black Hawk or Great Black Hawk?

On the way back to Tulum proper, these Yucatan Jays finally obliged for good photos.

The original plan was to head to Calakmul next day way inland but I had not done much homework and when I plugged it into GPS the drive was going to be like 5-6 hours or something.  Calakmul is one of the most breath taking archeological sites and it only receives about as many visitors in a year that Chichen Itza sees in a day.  Also, there are no vendors cluttering the site which gives the feeling you have discovered a hidden city.  I will get there one day, but Melissa was not up for it and we had to change plans.  The other place I wanted to visit but had originally not planned on it because it was going to eat too much time was Rio Lagartos on the north coast of the Yucatan.  Rio Lagartos is frequented by birders because it is home to a couple endemics and also has a huge population of American Flamingos.  The drive was much closer than Calakmul and also much closer to where we would be staying our last couple of days at Chichen Itza.  So after a nice dinner for our last night in Tulum we formalized the plans using and I fell into a deep slumber dreaming of the exotic new species I would be seeing.

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