Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Yucatan: Playa del Carmen


The second day of my visit to Playa del Carmen I was out and about early. I walked down to the beach to watch the sun rise over the ocean.

There were few birds in evidence: A solitary Brown Pelican patrolled the water's edge while Laughing Gulls, Sanderlings and Ruddy Turnstones wandered around on the sand.

I walked up into Playacar, where I surprised several Agoutis prowling the streets and the grassy areas around local Mayan ruins.

One of several sets of Mayan ruins in Playacar


The size of very large cats, Agoutis are related to guinea pigs.

Except for Doves (White-winged and Collared) and Great-tailed Grackles, birds were few and far between for the first 30 minutes.

Female Great-tailed Grackle

Then I spotted a group of Yucatan Jays fu
ssing around in a tree.

Yucatan Jay

Close by was a Golden-fronted Woodpecker and a Yellow Warbler. A trio of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks passed overhead while several Hooded Orioles appeared on roof tops and in trees.

Female Hooded Oriole

Suddenly the air all around was filled with the most awful racket. Only one bird makes a noise like that: the Plain Chachalaca. Sure enough, when a nearby tree also erupted in noise, I looked up to see a Chachalaca calling as it walked along a branch.

A minute later another Chachalaca stro
lled unhurriedly across the street in front of me. This was a great ending to a quiet morning's birding.


The school where I was working had balconies overlooking a garden that looked to be a good habitat for birds. So, after finishing work, I hung out on the balconies and watched for birds.

First up were flyovers by a Great Egret and a Magnificent Frigatebird.

Great Kiskadees flitted from treetop to treetop, while several Hooded Orioles flew back and forth between the trees and the balconies. While a Brown-crested Flycatcher perched on a utility wire too far away for photos, a Tropical Mockingbird came much closer.

I managed get only quick glimpses of a Yellow Warbler but was treated to several good looks at a Blackburnian Warbler, surely one of the most beautiful of all songbirds.



Pam said...

Some great birds there, we saw a Chachalaca at a local bird garden a couple of weeks ago and my little one loved the name! The Warble is stunning!

Jeff said...

Chachalaca is a great name, isn't it? The noise they make sounds more like "qua-qua-duck," though.

Blackburnians are my favorite warbler.