Previous Page  44-45 / 80 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 44-45 / 80 Next Page
Page Background

Soft Adventure

Vacations® •

Fall 2018 • 45

44 • Vacations

®

Fall 2018

ABirder’s

Paradise

RivieraNayarit:

BOAT-BILLED HERON

WHITE EGRET ©ROBERT ORR

LOOKING FOR THAT PERFECT BIRD PHOTO

©BARBARA RAMSAY ORR

MATURE CHACHALACA ©BARBARA RAMSAY ORR

The boat’s motor sputters to a stop, everyone falls silent,

and we hold our breath. There is only the murmur of water

and the faint rustle of wind in the tall grasses. “There!”

whispers our guide, Francisco. “Right at the top of that

tree - a mature Chachalaca in full sun – perfect for a

photograph.” The bird is beautiful, feathers gleaming in

the sunlight – then he emits a cry that is raucously grating,

like a rusty hinge, shakes his wings and is gone.

We’ve sighted our first endemic bird, one of about 30 that

can be spotted around San Blas, in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.

We’ll also see many of the more than 300 other species

that either call this area home or stop in as they fly from

northern climates along the Pacific Flyway.

It’s candy land for birdwatchers.

We are six bird lovers on a guided birding safari through

the mangrove-lined estuaries of La Tovara National Park, a

perfect environment for bird populations to flourish. It is late

afternoon, a time when the light is golden, the temperatures

are cooler and birds are beginning to stir from their afternoon

stupor. In quick succession, we see a boat-billed heron, a

potoo, several hawks, some oystercatchers and an anhinga,

drying its wings on a sunny river bank.

We stop for a cool swim at the freshwater spring and then

continue along the narrow channels, ducking under hanging

branches. We listen to the squawks of the ever-present

caciques – strikingly pretty with their black and yellow

feathers – and spy more herons and a rare Colima

pygmy owl. American alligators lounging on logs and

sleeping in the shallows makes us hold a little tighter to

the gunnels.

At the end of our three-hour safari, as a final flourish,

Francisco stops the boat in front of a grove of trees.

Festooning almost every branch, preening, alighting

and settling, cooing and posing, are dozens of graceful

white egrets.

For birders, it’s a perfect reason to travel, whether to

check off a species on their list of ‘birds sighted’ or

merely to capture them on camera. Birdwatching has

Withmore than300 species in the area, theRiviera

Nayarit is a candy land for birdwatchers.

By Barbara Ramsay Orr