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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Friday, January 20, 2017

For the birds

Today's discovery was the first "real" park I have visited here, meaning one in which green space and wildlife are the focus.

It is the Acuaparque, an old quarry now home to a pond and wetland and lots  of birds. The park is hardly wilderness, being surrounded by city and well-populated with human visitors, but it definitely is a haven for small wildlife. In the first ten minutes of meandering up a paved trail, I encountered two life birds, a little blue heron and a number of northern jacanas, amusing robin-sized creatures that can walk on lily pads. One name for them is the "Jesus bird" since they seem to walk on water.

Another interesting tidbit about the jacana: it is polyandrous, with females seeking out multiple mates, and the males are responsible for most of the child-rearing.

Ducks, great egrets, kiskadees, grackles, and the occasional sandpiper added to the life in the park, along with joggers, dog-walkers, and people just out for a stroll before the heat made being outside too unpleasant. With the help of an expat resident in Yucatan for the last several decades, I was able to encounter two other "life birds" today: one of the anis (which are evidently so common here that my birding companion almost failed to point it out) and a great-crested flycatcher, like yours truly, spending the winter in the tropics.

My favorite inhabitant of the park was another winter resident, the American coot, almost as ubiquitous as the grackles and the doves. These white-footed and white-billed clowns were everywhere today, swimming, diving, feeding, feuding, and being generally entertaining.

As much as I have enjoyed the human history and culture of this old city, my soul has hankered for green. The Acuaparque delivered.

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