And quite honestly, the birding was best at our hotel. I monitored the area day and night discovering that our birds went by somewhat regular schedules.
|Prevost's ground sparrow|
It was a strange experience finding desert birds that I normally see mixed in with all the tropical ones. Once again, it reinforced the idea that birds have no borders. What happens in one place affects the other. And we are all interconnected.
The walks are wonderful but be mindful of the area. Many of the people are very kind. However, it is always best to go with another person. A person can even hire a local guide to show them all the wonderful things that Atitlan has to offer.
|Yellow-winged Tanager-um....this bird is cool BUT a dash of yellow makes it a Yellow-winged Tanager? This is one of those bird names that doesn't really work for me:)|
Here are some interesting facts. El lago is rising every year. They are not certain why this is happening but many properties that were along the edge of the lake are now swallowed up by the lake. In some areas, it looks like you are floating over the remains of Atlantis.
And I must share this tragic story. Every birder should hear it. Birds. We love them very much. Sadly, an endemic grebe lived here once and was known as the Atitlán Grebe. Most of us reading this today were alive when this grebe went extinct. Did anyone see this bird before they disappeared?
|The extinct Atitlán Grebe|
Rain forest photography is tricky. The clouds, the rain and dark canopy make photo captures extremely difficult.
After climbing the 500 some stairs along the hillsides, my legs began to develop some muscle. I discovered my first Rufous-capped Warbler, Brown-backed Solitaire, and Sparkling-tailed Hummingbird! And this was just the start!
|A little Spanish lesson:)|
Santa Cruz is a place for people to relax and take Spanish classes. Your loved one can dive here while you look for the Boat-billed Flycatcher.
Jaibalito is another great place to relax. The sunsets are spectacular!
Santa Catarina Palopo is a nice town away from the tourist track so if you are like me, it's a good place to immerse yourself away from the gringos.
Birding around Lake Atitlan has its challenges. Boats frequently stop at the boat launches around a relaxed schedule. We always had to be aware of when the last boat launch would leave for the day. OR watch for bad weather. The lake can quickly go from calm to extremely choppy and dangerous within minutes. When that happens, boats will stop operating!
If it does happen, just relax:) Each town has its charms and there's always a place to chill out and wait until the storm passes.
When that sun comes back out, it'll be time to hit the trails again. Until next time.....