This was only our second day in Chiapas, but the morning’s boat ride up the Rio Tzendales was to be voted the tour’s favorite outing by the group.
Taking digiscoped photos from a boat is nearly impossible, so here’s a point-and-shoot snapshot in which you can still make out the tiny, dark reddish brown American Pygmy-Kingfisher. It’s perched atop the fallen branches to the right of center. We saw two of these very well and finally with a Belted Kingfisher on the way back ended up seeing all five possible kingfishers this morning.
This was one of three Sungrebes we saw swimming furtively along the shore. Not really all that shy, one chased a little fish that leaped out of the water several times and caught it while we were just a few yards away.
Other bird highlights from this morning were numerous, including multiple Yellow-tailed Orioles and great views of the extremely local Blue Seedeater in the bamboo. I also asked our boatman and guide, Celedonio, about White-collared Puffbird. He said he had seen one a couple times, stopped at a nondescript spot on the river, and suggested I play a recording there. Almost instantly one flew into the large tree on the bank, eventually giving us all good views of this tropical specialty.
I asked Celedonio to stop at a couple flowers too. Growing on the end of a submerged dead tree limb was this orchid Bletia tenuifolia, identified for me by Gerardo Salazar from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
We also stopped for this “Malabar Chestnut,” probably better referred to by its specific name, Pachira aquatica, since it bears no resemblance to any incarnation of chestnut nor does it hail from Malabar. It hails from here. Celedonio knows it as Zapote de Agua, which is only a little better.
Photo at top: Laughing Falcon by Rich Hoyer
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