Now that I have my feet back, not only on the ground, but also firmly on the pedals of my trusty bike, I am ready to resume my Carbon Free Big Year. For the last month or so my wife Patricia and I have been leading a tour to many birding and cultural sites in and around Oaxaca. With the able help from my long time friend and co-leader Peter Pyle we explored cloud forests, climbed ancient ruins, visited native artisans, took a cooking class for Oaxacan food, boated trough mangrove swamps, birded thorn forest, banded and learned about many birds in the hand and even found ourselves watching green sea turtles while Tropicbirds circled overhead. After our tiring and fun tour was over, Patricia and I along with friends Kirk and Lisa headed east toward San Cristobal, Chiapas. Before arriving, the 4 of us took a dramatic boat ride up and into Sumadero Canyon. This was the first time I had been back to a town that changed my life. On Jan. 1st 1994 I was there with 3 friends when a revolution was born. The Zapatistas, lead by Sub-Comindante Marcos and some 350 armed freedom fighters took over that city along with 6 others that day. I will never forget that experience and feel that it will have to be told on some future blog post. Anyway, it was nice to be back! A day or two later our friends Janet and Burr flew down to meet us for a week moving through the beautiful jungles of Palenque, Bonampak and the border regions of Mexico and Guatemala.
So I find myself back home and behind the drawing board but with our time away several species of birds have simply moved into the area and I will fill you in on the latest ones. When I left, my total was at 151 species. We returned on March 19th late. While having breakfast the next morning I saw a nice trio of Barn Swallows zip by our window, gifting me my 152nd species. Later that day I was stoked to see that our local nesting flock of Cliff Swallows had returned, rounding out the day with my 153rd bird. On March 20th while watering the plants at my gallery, a Hooded Oriole called and came into the patio, reminding my to get my hummer feeders back up and running. # 154! Next, while birding the Bolinas mesa on March 23rd, I spotted # 155, a very distant Violet-green Swallow. Later they came in and perched right above my head and chattered away “It’s SPRING”. Not to be out done, I went out for a “Big Bike Hour” with Burr on March 27th and we added 3 new birds. Song was in the air and with that we added some new arrivals. The first heard was a Wilson’s Warbler, (#156) followed by a Warbling Vireo, (#157). Moments later we had a trio of Caspian Terns out at the mouth of the Pine Gulch Creek, bringing me up to #158! So as of the writing of this post, that is where I stand. Hopefully there will be many more to come and I will keep you up to date!