Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Arrived in Veracruz

The bird pictured above is a Fan-tailed Warbler, one of several we banded last week in one of El Salvador's national parks El Imposible. After a short banding trip, I stayed around for a few days to attend Roselvy's thesis defense at the University of El Salvador on molt strategies in Long-tailed Manakins. She talked about this for about an hour and I was pleased to note I was able to follow 90% of it. Afterwards I briefly talked with a Salvadoran biologist about butterflies - yay for my still pretty basic yet much improved Spanish skills!

Since then, I traveled from San Salvador to Guatemala City on Saturday, from there on to Tapachula in the Mexican state of Chiapas on Sunday, and late Sunday afternoon I went straight through to the city of Veracruz, where I arrived Monday morning. From there it was only a 45 minute bus ride to familiar Cardel, where I spent three months counting hawks last year. Back then I liked it so much I decided to do that one more time. Many of last year's field crew are here again this year, so lots of familiar faces for me. Again, nice to be able to actually talk with everyone in Spanish, instead of smiling sheepishly at their Spanish like I did much of the time last year!

I now have a few days to kill before I commit once again to 10-hour sessions of staring at the undersides of clouds. Wanted to do some birding this morning in the fields behind the Chichicaxtle hawkwatch, but it started raining last night and it hasn't stopped raining since. Only had some yard birds, like Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Melodious Blackbird, Bat Falcon, Band-backed Wren, Groove-billed Ani, Inca Dove... all those birds are very easily seen around here. I also have reports to write, a publication to submit and another article to write, so the rain doesn't bother me too much. As far as I'm concerned, let it rain until Thursday and we may get a nice push of kites on the first day...

Sunday, while riding the bus from Guatemala City to the Mexican border, marveling at the spectacular landscape on that particular part of the itinerary, I listened to a lot of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings on the iPod. They appeared at this year's Newport Folk Festival only a couple of weeks ago, and that fantastic show was recorded for NPR - the show can be downloaded for free here. Check it out...

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