Campeche

The Mexican States of Quintana Roo, Campeche, and Yucatan make up what is popularly known as the Yucatán Peninsula   In December 2014 and January 2015 Rebecca and I (and friends) made the great loop of the outside region of the peninsula.  This section of the site covers my travels in the state of Campeche. My photos from this trip are in the photo galleries of Campeche CityMayan Ruins in Southern Campeche and Northern Mayan Ruins (for Edzná)  on www.bobbarnes.us.  

MAYAN RUINS (GENERAL)

In the early 1990’s I spent several days at the Mayan ruin of Tikal in Guatemala and several more at a smaller site in Belize.  The ruins were interesting and I spent quite some time exploring them, but the focus was on birding and the associated natural history of the area.  I hoped for something like that on this trip, even though the format was substantially different and I was traveling with five other people from the area around Hillsboro.  

Structure 1 at Xpujil
Campeche, Mexico

Over the three weeks we visited the following Mayan ruins (in order of visit);  Chicanná, Becán, Calakmul, Xpujil, El Hormiguero, Balamkú, (all in the state of Campeche), Palenque, Bonampak (both in the state of Chiapas), Edzná (back in the state of Campeche), Uxmal (including a night-time light show), Chichén Itzá (both in the state of Yucatán), and Cobá (in the state of Quintana Roo).  We also visited several archaeological museums.  I had hoped that I would be able to sneak off and do occasional birding video.  I was able to do some video in the early morning at two sites, but mostly my attempts at birding video were at mid-day.  

Balamku Campeche, Mexico Stucco Frieze in Structure 1

The ruins - especially the smaller ones in the south of Campeche - were often interesting, and I was able to visit Agua Azul in Chiapas and Celestún in Yucatán.  I was also able to watch a bat swarm leaving a cave in the evening in southern Campeche and take some stolen moments for visits to two cenotes in the state of Yucatán. 

Mayan Ruins and beaches are what most tourists go to the Yucatán for, and they many never leave the mega (vulgar) resorts of Quintana Roo.  As we drove south from Cancún (our airport of choice on the Yucatán Peninsula) we passed mile after mile of beach blights which offer sand and alcohol to tourists visitors.  Calling themselves by a variety of names which all seem to include "Maya", these resorts are the Yucatán experience for many tourists - although some will sneak across the border into the state of Yucatán on a tour bus to see Chichén Itzá.  (I want to make clear that I have nothing against sand and alcohol, as long as there is some moderation involved.)  The big tourist ruins that we visited (Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, Palenque, Cobá, and Edzná) were overrun with tourists and the experience was less than stellar.  The smaller sites in the south of Campeche (Becán, Chicanná, Xpujil, El Hormiguero, and Balamkú) were sublime.  Often we could roam the ruins with no other person in sight; at times we literally had the places to ourselves.  Calakmul, also in the south of Campeche - but hardly small, did not have the swarms of humans typical of the northern ruins and was quite impressive. 


THE FOOD

In general, and generally at meal time, I develop an intense interest in food.  And, I have noted through years of experience, food is even better when it tastes good.  (At this point, I must confess that I was never - among many other things - cut out to be a restaurant reviewer.)  The food I ate in Yucatán was always (at least) okay and often very good.  Seafood is fresh in Yucatán and often very tasty.  In particular, various fish fillets prepared in garlic sauce or grilled, shrimp in butter or garlic sauce, and ceviche stand out in my memory as especially good.  In fact, the very large dish of ceviche I had at the Restaurante Las Chachalacas (just north of Felipe Carrillo Puerto in Quintana Roo, on the south bound lanes of Mexico 307) is the first of three dishes I note in particular from my trip.  The second selection is the Mango Tarts which Rebecca and I had in Merida at the Botella Verde restaurant in the corner of Parque de Santa Lucia (Calle 55/Calle 60).  What really made it wonderful was the passionfruit sauce and toasted passionfruit seeds.  (I took the photograph of a passionfruit, right, at a restaurant on the east slopes of the Andes in Ecuador.  The waiter at Botella Verde said the passionfruit in our tarts came from Brazil.)  And lastly, representing all of the barbecue grills in Yucatán is the restaurant on the south side of the road where Mexico 199 crosses the Rio Chacamax, south of Palenque in the state of Chiapas, across the road from the Nututun Palenque Hotel.  The barbecue ribs we had there were outstanding - to the point of eating way to much.

Parque Nacional Agua Azul, Chiapas, Mexico
droppedImage

In total, I must say that the best food I had was in the small restaurants along the road.  Forget the guide book recommendations and strike out on your own, you will be amply rewarded.

I really did not anticipate encountering a food I was not familiar with on this trip.  But I did.  Citrus limetta (photo above), is called by a variety of names around the world but referred to in Chiapas as “lima”.  It is not a lime and it is not a lemon.  The term “lima” might lead you to conclude that it is a lime, limes are referred to as “la lima” in most of the spanish speaking world.  It Mexico, however, they are called “el lemón”.  So get over it, it ain’t no lemon and it ain’t no lime.  In most of the world this food is called “sweet lime” and it is generally used to make juice.  Its taste is quite bland, very low in acidity, and it is probably best used to make juice.

In Campeche we searched out a place which served chocolate, hoping to replicate our experiences in Oaxaca where the chocolate is wonderful.  Alas, a replicated experience was not to be had.  The chocolate which I had in the Yucatán was not nearly as good as in Oaxaca.  The cacao pods pictured to the right were photographed at a stand along the Rio Agua Azul in Chiapas, Mexico.

Parque Natural Agua Azul, Chiapas, Mexico

THE MAYAN RUINS AT CHICANNÁ, SOUTHERN CAMPECHE

I mentioned, above, that we visited the Mayan ruins at Chicanná, Becán, Calakmul, Xpujil, El Hormiguero, and Balamkú on our recent trip to the Yucatán Peninsula.  In my mind, these ruins were the absolute highlight of our trip when it comes to ruins.  The first ruins we visited were at Chicanná, west of the village of Xpujil on Mexico 186.

Chicanna Campeche, Mexico

Chicanná is a site from the Mayan Classic period and is closely associated with (dominated by) Becán which is less than two miles away.  It was inhabited from about 300 BCE to about 1100 CE.  The viewable structures, which were built between 600 CE and 830 CE, are primarily of the Río Bec style, especially Structure I.  However, they also include elements of the Chenes and Puuc styles, especially structure VI.  

Chicanna Campeche, Mexico

The name of the site is based on the motif of Structure II, pictured top above (Garland Bills providing perspective).  Across the top of the door way are a series of teeth, mirrored on the steps leading to the door.  The image below, of serpent teeth, is from another location at the site.  Structure II is called the “House of the Serpent Mouth” which translates, in Mayan, to Chicanná.  “Chi” is mouth, “can” is serpent, and “na” is house.  It most likely represents the Mayan god Itzmaná.

Chicanna Campeche, Mexico

Structure VI, pictured below, is the last of the structures that you come to as you travel along the site route and has elements of all three Mayan architectural styles mentioned above.

Chicanna Campeche, Mexico

Chicanná was not discovered until 1966 when Jack Eaton discovered its location just prior to his work at Becán with the National Geographic/Tulane University study of that site.


A BAT CAVE

When I was in the southern part of the state of Campeche I visited a “bat cave”.  Mad music, flashing lights, and a futuristic car did not appear out of this cave, which was at the bottom of a sinkhole, at dusk.  Thousands and thousands of bats did.   (Reported by knowledgable people as roughly 2 million bats of eight species).  Nothing good in the way of photographs but what a wonderful experience.  Masses of bats swarming up out of the earth flying between my legs, past my ears and elbows, everywhere - swooping high and out across the canopy, dodging along the ground around trunk and limb, everywhere.  Strangely it is an event which I have tended to forget but when I do remember, I remember it as the most unique experience of the trip.  Video of the bat fly-out has been posted to the Mammals Video Portfolio.


THE MAYAN RUINS AT BECÁN, SOUTHERN CAMPECHE

When this site was found by Karl Ruppert and John Denison in 1934 they named the site Becán.  Becán is a word constructed from Yukatek Maya meaning either “ravine formed by water” or “the way of the serpent” such is what happens when you make up words (“Be” means a roadway and “Cán” or “Kán” means serpent).  In any case, Ruppert and Denison chose the name in recognition of the moat  which surrounds the reservoirs and core complex of structures.  Several internet sites claim that this moat is unique in Mayan city planning.  This may be true; but the Mayan site at Cerros in northern Belize has an extensive canal system associated with it, there is a extensive canal system at Edzná (which was used for flood control, defense, transport, and irrigation), and El Mirador had canals for rain collection and probably defense.  There is no clear evidence that the “moat” at Becán was anything more than a version of these other canal systems.  The moat is no longer as deep as it was when first constructed (100 CE to 250 CE).  At the entrance, the moat is still, at 12 feet deep and 45 feet wide, very dramatic.  The material excavated from the moat as it was being dug was piled on the inside, making a much more significant barrier than that which is viewable today.  The moat is more than a mile long and, even today, is as deep as 21 feet.  There are seven bridges across the moat.

Becan Campeche, Mexico

After crossing the moat a plaza (Structure IV) is to the left.  At this point, to the right and straight ahead is a tunnel which leads to the rest of the complex.  The tunnel, photo below, is an excellent example of the Mayan Arch and provides a dramatic entrance to the site.

Becan Campeche, Mexico

This area was first settled (at least) 3,000 years ago and there was a village at this site by 550 BCE.  The oldest viewable structure at the site dates from about 50 BCE.  Becán was a major political power between 600 and 1000 CE.  The Rio Bec style of Mayan architecture is prevalent at the site. 

Becan Campeche, Mexico

This was another site with few tourists, something we relished greatly at the time and even more so later.


THE MAYAN RUINS AT XPUJIL, SOUTHERN CAMPECHE

The ruins at Xpujil, also Xpuhil, are located on the northwest edge of the town of Xpujil in the southern part of Campeche.  The name means “cat’s tail” in reference to Typha domingensis which is the dominate plant in the adjacent marshes.  

Xpujil Campeche, Mexico

Settlement in this area began about 2,400 years ago.  The site was most important between 500 CE and 750 CE.  This population center went into decline in the early post-classic period, about 1150 CE.  The site was rediscovered (by archeologists) in 1938.  

Xpujil Campeche, Mexico

Experts quibble about whether or not Structure I, pictured in this post, is of the Rio Bec architectural style or not.  The Rio Bec style is defined by two end cones and a long (lower) structure which connects them.  Since this structure has a large central cone some argue that it is not Rio Bec.  Others argue that it is simply a unique version of the Rio Bec style.  The site generally, and the two end cones in particular, is certainly in the Rio Bec style.  Note the false door ways in the southern end cone, picture above.  These end cones are tapered, giving the appearance of greater height.  The end cones are also graced with false staircases and are solid, they do not contain rooms.  All of these structural elements are typical of the Rio Bec architectural style.  As are the rounded corners on temples, visible on the central cone in the photograph below.

Xpujil Campeche, Mexico

This was far and away my favorite Mayan site on this trip to the Yucatán.  Perhaps because there was a pair of nesting Bat Falcons at the site.  Listening to them call in the trees and watching their aerial antics as they darted about Structure I was a memorable event for me. 

Xpujil Campeche, Mexico


THE MAYAN RUINS AT EL HORMIGUERO, SOUTHERN CAMPECHE

El Hormiguero, or more typically Hormiguero, means ant hill - reminding me of the one I stood in at Chicanná and the suffering that ensued.  The Hormiguero site is located south of Xuphil in southern Campeche, Mexico.  The main road south from Xuphil is sealed with a standard allotment of topes, turning west off of this road on to a secondary sealed road you travel through sub-tropical forest of mahogany, cedar, and sapodilla.  Eventually this access road becomes dirt and is quite rutted in places, we had no difficulty driving into the site in our rented VW Gol but during the rainy season access may be more problematic.  For once, and probably for the only time on this trip, I felt like an adventure might ensue.  Driving through the forest on a dirt track heightened the impression that Structure II made on me as we entered the site.  Of the structures I saw on this trip - including the mega pyramids at Uxmal and Chichén Itzá - Structure II (photos below) was easily the most impressive.

El Hormiguero Campeche, Mexico Structure II
El Hormiguero Campeche, Mexico Structure II

Structure II literally screams Rio Bec.  Want to know what Rio Bec architecture looks like?  Look at Structure II.  On each end of the structure there are cones, tapered to appear taller and with false doors and staircases.  These cones are joined by a lower and very elaborately decorated structure.  The rounded edges of many structural elements is clearly visible above.  In addition to the monster mouth motif, the central part of the structure is adorned with elaborate carvings like that pictured (second photo below).

El Hormiguero Campeche, Mexico Structure II
El Hormiguero Campeche, Mexico Structure II

The other major structure at the site is number V (photo below), it is not Rio Bec in style but rather Chenes.  Structure V is much smaller than Structure II.  It, too, has a representation of a monster mouth.  Each corner of the building is adorned with Chaac masks.  Chaac is the Mayan god of rain.

El Hormiguero Campeche, Mexico

Hormiguero was most important between 600 CE and 800 CE.

This site was identified by Ruppert and Dennison in 1933 when they explored the area as part of a Carnegie expedition.   The site was reported to them by the expedition’s cook who had camped at the site several years earlier.  They visited the site from the 9th until the 14th of April.  However, (authorized) excavations did not start at the site until 1979.


CALAKMUL

mexican anthrush

The Mayan ruins at Calakmul are in the southern part of Campeche, Mexico.  They are only 22 miles from Guatemala and not much farther from Tikal, with which it was often in a power struggle.  Calakmul is a very large site, with many structures - large and small.  I took no photographs at Calakmul.  I used our visit there to try for some mid-day forest birds (in the Mayan world view they are said to exist).  The frame grabs shown here, the Mexican Antthrush shown right, the Brown Jay (next below right) and Keel-billed Toucan (bottom right) are from the limited video that I did manage.  

Brown Jay

I saw two Great Curassows as I was roaming the forest, adding to various bites on my body.  I was trying to negotiate a particularly dense tangle, something that is quite difficult when you are carrying a camera mounted on a tripod, when suddenly the two Curassows were there in front of me, within ten feet.  It is an image that is imprinted in my mind, unfortunately I can not share it with you in any form other than word.  

Keel-billed toucan

When I ventured back out to the trail system I mingled with the occasional Mexican (extended) families that were also visiting the site.  Calakmul was somewhat more crowded than the sites we had been visiting - scores of people instead of none.  It was absolutely empty when compared with the northern sites we visited later.  I met a young Canadian/USA couple who were hitchhiking around the Peninsula, we had a long and enjoyable conversation about this part of Mexico and the birds I was seeing - her father was a birder and she wanted to report back on that topic.  As we prepared to leave the site I found a Keel-billed Toucan nest (right photo).

But, perhaps, the most memorable Calakmul story happened yesterday.  Here in our living room in Hillsboro, New Mexico, USA.  We do minimal Christmas gift giving.  The glorified consumerism which the holiday has come to symbolize is not something that we relish.  What we often do is make charitable contributions.  Choosing a charity a family member supports we make a contribution in their name, they are pleased, the charity is pleased, we are pleased.  When Jon was about 14 we gave him a Kiva certificate.  The Kiva charity makes loans (through various partners) to low-income folks throughout the world, the loans are low capitalization and are interest free or low interest (generally - it varies with partner).  They provide a jump start for struggling people who have a (very) small business idea.  The repayment record for these loans is very good (currently 98.77%).  When the borrower repays the loan you can loan that money to someone else, and so the cycle grows.  This year we received a Kiva certificate from Jon with the message; "Happy X-Mas. Years ago you gave me some Kiva money. I have reloaned that same amount of money many times as people paid back my loans. I wanted to share that wonderful gift with you."  We were so happy to receive that gift and knowing what it had meant to him made me remarkably proud of him and the way he views the world.  We went exploring the Kiva site and found a beekeeper in Calakmul who needed a loan to buy more hives.  I may have talked to this guy and it is very likely that I saw his beehive boxes hanging from the trees as I walked along the road leading into Calakmul on a day the rest were visiting the museum near the site.  I wondered at the boxes hanging from yellow ropes twenty feet or so above the road until I figured out what it was all about.  Made perfect sense.  So we made a loan to help make honey in Calakmul (followed by a biogas generation loan by Rebecca because it caught her eye).  That my friends is a story.  One worth remembering.


BALAMKU, CAMPECHE, MEXICO

Like most of the sites in this area, Balamku was settled in about 300 BCE and reached its “height” between 300 CE and 600 CE.  The frieze for which it is known is from about 600 CE.  

Balamku Campeche, Mexico Stucco Frieze in Structure 1

There were four other tourists at the ruins when we visited.  I asked if we could see the frieze and an employee opened the door for us.  The frieze is in an enclosed room, with locked door.  It is one of the two most significant works of art which we saw on our trip.  And, I might add, the six of us had it to ourselves for as long as we wished.

Balamku Campeche, Mexico Stucco Frieze in Structure 1


SAN MIGUEL MUSEUM & FORT, CAMPECHE

The Museo Arqueológico de Campeche & Fuerte de San Miguel is located on the southwest outskirts of Campeche, Campeche, Mexico.  The fort was completed in 1801 and is a focal point of Mexican history in the area.  Not only was it one of the fortifications built to protect the city of Campeche from the English but it served as Santa Ana’s headquarters when he attacked the city in 1842.  The fort which reminds me of the fort at St. Augustine, Florida, USA (as old St. Augustine reminds me of old Campeche) now houses the Museum of Mayan Culture.  The fort, itself, was a nice change from Mayan ruins. 

Fort San Miguel and Museum Campeche Campeche, Mexico

I thought the museum compared well with the museum at Palenque and those in Oaxaca City.  It is not a large venue and the collection is not immense but it is very good.  The museum was one of the high points of the trip.  Not only because of its displays and artifacts but because when a guard saw me struggling with the reflections on the glass protecting a display he closed the shutters of a nearby window and brought his newspaper over, holding it to block ambient light so I could get my photo.  It was a courtesy which was missing at the large sites we visited.

Fort San Miguel and Museum Campeche Campeche, Mexico

The museum houses a collection of artifacts collected from Mayan sites in the state of Campeche.  Mostly from Calakmul and Edzná, the artifacts were also from the Isla de Jaina, a reportedly wonderful site which we were not able to visit.

San Miguel Museum 1
Fort San Miguel and Museum Campeche Campeche, Mexico

There were few people at the fort/museum when we were wandering about, making for a visit which was not hectic or hurried.

Fort San Miguel and Museum Campeche Campeche, Mexico


MUSEUM OF MAYAN ARCHITECTURE, CAMPECHE

The Bastion of Solitude in Campeche City houses the Roman Piña Chan Museum (Museum of Mayan Architecture) which has an excellent display of stone carvings and stelae collected from Mayan sites in the state of Campeche.  The collection is small but easily represents the best stone carvings that we saw on the trip.  A visit here will only take a few minutes and is well worth the time.  And if this isn’t proof that the Borg were here before, I don’t know what is!

Campeche, Campeche, Mexico Museum of Mayan Architecture

The museum and the The Bastion of Solitude (Baluarte de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad) were both uncrowded - in fact we may have been the only ones there.  Just outside the door to the museum is a ramp which leads up to the top of a section of the walls which previously encircled the city (don’t miss the stelae which are in the alcoves under the ramp - facing the small courtyard).   Campeche was a walled city and segments of the old walls can be found along the perimeter of the old city.

Campeche, Campeche, Mexico Museum of Mayan Architecture

The works on display at this museum are essential to a full understanding of what it was like at the Mayan ruins.  They were not just lego pyramids, they were wonderfully adorned with stunning works of art.


CAMPECHE CITY WRAP-UP

Campeche Wrap-up 1

Needlefish (undetermined species), photographed from the ocean breakwater in Campeche, Campeche, Mexico.

Campeche was not as good as expected (I had hoped for a mini-Oaxaca City) but was by far the best of the cities which we traveled through or stayed in on our trip, more than acceptable.  The food and chocolate we had in Campeche was standard but the two museums I posted about earlier were very good.  

Needlefish (undetermined species), photographed from the ocean breakwater in Campeche, Campeche, Mexico.2
Campeche, Campeche, Mexico

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Campeche was once a walled city.  Now the urban sprawl of modern Latin America surrounds the enclave of the old city - which is still bordered by walls at many points.  This bronze replica of the old city and walls is, appropriately enough, visible from the top of one of the remaining wall sections (photo above).  Below is a photograph of a section of wall and a portion of the old city that it currently stands guard over.

Campeche, Campeche, Mexico

As with most old Spanish cities, the streets are narrow in the old portions of town (photo below) and one-way traffic grids are the norm.  People and cars get along well in old town, no racing cars down narrow lanes - to much cross traffic, to many blind corners, and lots of cops.  In addition, several of the streets have been turned into pedestrian malls, no traffic allowed, and that makes for restaurant tables in the streets and lots of public art (statuary).  It appears to be a rather safe place, I had no qualms about walking about after dark, for instance.

Campeche, Campeche, Mexico

The area west of the old walls, which once fronted the ocean, has been infilled and now is a major transportation corridor.  On the other side of the roads, however, is a nice promenade along the ocean.  We were in Campeche for a day and an afternoon.  Rebecca and I managed two walks along the promenade during that time and among other things I took the photograph of the needlefish (pictured above) as we strolled in the afternoon - followed by a cold beer in a nearby restaurant.  

Old Campeche is a charming city, with substantial lodging and restaurant opportunities - good infrastructure.  I would not plan a trip around a return to Campeche but if I found it on my route sometime I would not mind at all...


EDZNÁ

Edzná is one of four large Mayan sites which I visited on this trip.   The other Campeche site was Calakmul, which we visited early in the trip, in the southern part of the state.  The other two large sites were Uxmal and Chichén Itzá - both in the state of Yucatán.  It was less crowded than the two sites in Yucatán but there were still a lot of people wandering about.  This is the site I would revisit if given a choice of all three northern sites.

Edzna, Campeche, Mexico

Edzná was inhabited by 600 BCE, was a major city by 200, and was abandoned in about 1500 - having been in general decline since about 1000.  It was closely associated with Calakmul during the height of its influence.  

Edzna, Campeche, Mexico

Edzná came onto the archeological radar in 1907, structured exploration began at the site in 1928, organized excavations began in 1958, and Guatemalan refugees were being used to excavate and restore the ruins by 1986.

Edzna, Campeche, Mexico

The Edzná site is located in a valley which is subject to flooding.  The Maya developed an extensive network of canals which radiated from the center of the site outward to farmlands and reservoirs.  The canals were also used for transport and are thought to have served defensive purposes as well.  

Edzna, Campeche, Mexico

CELESTÚN & PARQUE NATURAL DEL FLAMENCO MEXICANO

The beach and ocean were not the focus of this trip, so we didn’t see the ocean, or a beach, until we had lunch on the beach south of Campeche, on our way north.  The other opportunity for the ocean and beach occurred at Celestún which we traveled to after leaving Uxmal, arriving there in late afternoon.  A room in a small hotel on the beach with the sound of waves all night was a definite change from other locations on our trip.  We remained in Celestún the following day and left for Mérida the morning after that.

American White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
 Reserva de la Biosfera Ria Celestun, Yucatán, Mexico

For me, the attraction of Celestún was not the beach, nor the ocean, not even the seafood.  During the winter American Flamingos, Phoenicopterus ruber, are found in the estuaries at Celestún.  I had eagerly anticipated the opportunity to see them from the moment we started to plan the trip.  Not only are these birds beautiful but their range is limited.  I had seen the three other Flamingo species of the New World; Chilean, James’s, and Andean, in the high Andes - now I had the chance to see the Greater where it was warm.  Many people think of Flamingos as African species and it is true that two of the six extant Flamingo species are found in Africa, the other four are limited to the Americas.  In fact, four of the seven extinct Flamingo species were found only in the Americas.  Flamingos are, primarily, a species of the Americas.

American Flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber
 Reserva de la Biosfera Ria Celestun, Yucatán, Mexico

American Flamingo,  Phoenicopterus ruber
Reserva de la Biosfera Ria Celestun, Yucatán, Mexico

It seems that everyone in Celestún was trying to hawk a boat ride to see the Flamingos.  On the morning of our full day in Celestún we went to the edge of town and rented a tourist boat for our party and went off to see Flamingos.  I had assumed that the video I would get would be poor, video from a boat, especially when there is a bit of chop in the water never works.  But this was, I thought, the only chance I would have so I took what I could get.  The American Flamingos were magnificent.  The ride through a channel in the Black Mangroves was nice and toward the end there was a small mud beach with an assortment of birds (photo top of American White Pelican and Snow Egrets - photos below of Black-necked Stilt, Great Egret, and Roseate Spoonbills).

Black-necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus 
Reserva de la Biosfera Ria Celestun, Yucatán, Mexico

Black-necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
Reserva de la Biosfera Ria Celestun, Yucatán, Mexico

When we returned in mid-afternoon I arranged for another boat in the afternoon.  Three of us set off at 4:30 in one of the three-wheel tuk-tuk type vehicles - powered by a dissected motorcycle - which are prevalent in this part of Mexico.  We drove out to the mud flats on the edge of the town and walked out to a canoe that the guy had.  He then proceeded to pole us about the mud flat/estuary until dark.  It was magnificent.  American White Pelicans, Wood Storks, and at the very end Flamingos - which I could video from the land (as in no rocking boat).

celestun6

Great Egret, Ardea alba
Reserva de la Biosfera Ria Celestun, Yucatán, Mexico

Even given the fact that the birding/video was from a boat and boat drivers generally (and here, specifically) do not have a clue what the requirements are for video, this was a wonderful experience.  Celestún is a location I would return to.

Spoonbill, Roseate Platalea ajaja Reserva de la Biosfera Ria Celestun, Yucatán, Mexico


© Robert Barnes 2017