Monday, April 5, 2010

Palenque to Yaxchilan Ruins

March 23-24, 2010

After Steve contributed his time and expertise in helping to train some locals who were taking classes, working towards becoming local birding guides in the region, we continued south from Palenque.

On the way we stopped to check out a side road that looked like it might have some good birds. But in the hot afternoon, the view of this distant canyon was the attraction here. This appears to be a gap that the Rio Usumacinta flows through as it passes the westernmost point of northern Guatemala.

We arrived in the small town of Frontera Corozal, once a tiny Maya village, now the launching point for dozens or even hundreds of tourists daily for the ruins of Yaxchilan. With the roaming chickens and turkeys, it still has the feel of a small village.

We started early the next morning to take the boat ride to the ruins, long before any other tourists even get out of bed.

It's about a 40-minute boat ride down the Rio Usumacinta to the ruins.

Most of the area is affected by patchy clearing for agriculture, but the hilly area immediately around the ruins is nice rainforest.

We arrived at the ruins with workers raking leaves and getting ready for the late morning rush of tourists.

We mostly birded on the grounds, but it was kind of hard to ignore the structures. This is the labyrinth you go under and through to get to the plaza.

This temple is high on hills behind the main ruins.

This pair of Northern Rough-winged Swallows appeared to be nesting in the ruins.

This White-whiskered Puffbird was the second of 25 new Mexico birds for me on this trip (the first was a Philadelphia Vireo in a fruiting gumbo limbo tree).

Pale-billed Woodpecker

Plain Xenops

Stub-tailed Satyr, Taygetis virgila

This tiny orchid was growing next to the entrance trail.

It was too small for the wimpy macro function of my camera, but I thought of digiscoping with my binoculars turned around. Not bad. [Gerardo Salazar has identified this as Notylia barkeri, a genus I've never seen before.]

1 comment:

  1. How fortunate to have the opportunity to visit something nearly eternal and bird at the same time.