|Birds with bills upside down? Yes....American Avocets|
When I began this epic journey into birding, I was so focused on finding the "interesting" or "colorful" birds to photograph. On the trip to Rocky Point(or Puerto Peñasco) in Mexico, my main concern was going to "Bird Island" and finding the nesting Boobies. I didn't care about seagulls or terns very much and I hardly knew anything about the water birds along the shore. I just wanted to photograph unusual birds. But what I didn't realize, at the time, was that this would be a turning point for me.
|Why is this bird giving me attitude? Black-bellied Plover|
|Whoa! A big hummingbird! Is it a Whimbrel or Long-billed Curlew? 9 months later, I change my answer to Long-billed Curlew|
Rocky Point is such a strange place because it's in the middle of sandy desert, and yet with the ocean nearby, it brings in all kinds of birds and critters.
After some research, we chartered a shrimp boat to the "Bird Islands". It proved to be an epic trip and worth the frustrating wait. With Mexico, patience is essential. I've been there many times and LOVE the country, but if you're looking for on time departures, forget about it. I remember getting up early for this trek and not leaving until noon!!! When we finally boarded, I sat outside on deck and had fun getting splashed with ocean water. My camera was locked away in my waterproof bag.
When we arrived at the islands, it was well worth the rough trek! Thousands of nesting Boobies greeted us along the rocky shores. We stayed inside our boat and moved close to shore where we were able to watch the Brown Boobies nest on the open rock. Gulls and Cormorants were everywhere.
|Brown Boobies with blue feet! It takes me forever to learn the difference between Blue-footed and Brown Boobies!|
The islands are amazing. So MANY birds! And I was just an amateur wanting to see Boobies. This trip was frustrating for me because I didn't know all the other birds that flew around us. Plus I was embarrassed to tell people that I was going to Mexico to find the nesting Boobies. Those days are over. I'm a proud birder who isn't ashamed to say their names. It was something I had to get over. Today I say Dickcissel, Tits, and Boobies without flinching. Oh there are others with fun names, including a colorful number who goes by the name Cock-of-the-rock. Those incredible birds are located near a tropical slope close to Cuzco, Peru. But I'll have to save that trip for another time. I missed them on my Peru trip back in 2008. Too many places to visit!
Back to Mexico. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed by all these new discoveries. Many of the birds were unknown to me until I began to ebird them months later. I was alone in this birder world at the time and didn't know anyone who could help me. That all changed when I met a birder who took me under her wing. She would become my mentor and friend who taught me the ways of the birder. She encouraged me to look at every bird....even the common ones......and study them. That included the dreaded Gulls and Sparrows! I sat for hours and hours ID'ing pics. I changed from bird photographer to a birder with a camera.
|American Oystercatcher-hey Mexico is part of the Americas!|
|The pretty gull, Heermann's Gull, is also listed as Near Threatened! That's an ugly fact.|
Or I remember at the time thinking that this Red-billed Tropicbird looked like a fat tern. So I snapped a pic because it was interesting. Today, I would love to observe this bird again with my practiced eyes.
|My fat tern is a Red-billed Tropicbird|
|There's nothing plain about this Willet|
To charter a boat out to San Jorge Island(or the "Bird Island"), check out the various companies that offer treks to the islands. They are all centrally located around one public pier in town. For a birder or scuba diver, it is well worth the adventure. Cross your fingers for smooth sailing:) Birding takes us all over the world. And that's why it's so much fun. Until next time....