And sometimes, even when I was prepared and had the time, I only heard the birds and couldn't see them. Picture an oldish lady in a wide-rimmed, black hat, roasting in blazing sunlight on a cobblestone street. See her, camera ready, staring up into a tree, dodging the occasional car, returning again to stare into the branches. And then, reluctantly, turning off the camera and trudging on. Picture the bemused or amused glances of residents passing by. Tourists!
Some birds I recognized, even with brief glances; violet-green swallows, sparrows, a goldfinch, common rock pigeons, the great-tailed grackle (like our crow, in behaviour and colour, but longer and bluer.) Some looked familiar at first glance, but then were subtly different from those I'm used to.
There was another bird hanging around the edge of the rocks with me while I watched surfbirds, a pale brown, almost featurless peep. The camera refused to focus, choosing rather the darker rocks right behind it. I think, from memory, that it was probably a willet.
|House sparrows. Although, if the back one is a female, her beak should be yellowish.|
|The great-tailed grackle. Male; the females are smaller, and dark brown.|
|When the light hits them just right, they shine in iridescent blues and purples.|
|Male grackles on a roof ridge, displaying for the females. Lots of competition here!|
Territorial “ruff-out” displays of erected feathers, fanned tail, and bill held skyward may erupt into wrestling matches, with competing males locking talons and rolling on the ground. (Cornell)
This was another lifer: the boat-billed flycatcher.
|Boat-billed flycatcher, Megarynchus pitangua, with nest. A shy bird; one camera click, and she ducked down out of sight.|
|The back and tail are brown. There is a yellow patch on top of the head, only visible at certain angles.|
The great Kiskadee is an almost identical bird, also present in the area. But it has a reputation for being bold and noisy; these ones were wary of humans and quick to hide, so I think they're b-b flycatchers. As always, I could be wrong.
Another shy bird.
|Some sort of woodpecker*. Photo lightened up considerably; she was hiding in deep shade. For the next photo, she ducked behind the branch and only showed the top of her head.|
*Update: Gila Woodpecker Melanerpes uropygialis
|Very bad photo of a brilliant little bird. I think he might be a male Vermilion Flycatcher.|
And of course, there are always common city pigeons.
|One on the beach|
|Hundreds in a tree. Zocalo, Antigua Mazatlan.|
I want to go back.