Unfortunately for almost everyone else, food poisoning interrupted the group’s fun near the end of the trip. I managed to stay bug free and enjoyed all the food put in front of me. Although it’s easy for me to say, if relatively minor food poisoning (no food poisoning is really that minor in terms of comfort) was the only major issue we had, I think we got off pretty well!
We explored the surrounding region for the next two days and despite some illness, largely had fun. In the town of Aduana, we caught a glimpse of a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl catch a unfortunate lizard mere feet from us. We watched Happy Wrens gaily flitting among the undergrowth. A return to the river granted us magical views of a young Tiger-heron and a troop of Rufous-belled Chachalacas. A Sinaloan Wren, which I’d only briefly seen before, gave Jeff and I quite a show, casting aside skulkiness to investigate an old becard nest.
Without poeticizing every little moment of the trip, this was a stunning way to begin many future travels to Mexico. We made out way back and crossed back into the United States scot-free. The trip was a success with 200 species of birds, I had 18 life birds.
However, it was strange how quickly we melded back into American culture on crossing an imaginary line. Nothing seemed as colorful, surreal, or interesting. Just chain restaurants and golf courses that shouldn’t exist. When I see and hear about lands and peoples far away, my first impulse is to rush off there. But as I’ve grown older I’ve tried to temper that excitement and make others see these places and care. Because it’s easy to watch Planet Earth on your wide screen TV, while eating a meal of takeout, and pretend to be concerned for the planet.
Wingtrip is a project to make these places real, comprehendible, and interesting. As beautiful as Planet Earth or other documentaries are, I believe they unfortunately represent a fantasy being gobbled up by an entertainment-addicted populace. I love these shows just as much as the rest, they are my fix for extended time in the city. I am in no way advocating their insignificance or suggesting they never inspire people. However I also believe that you need to see the people out there, the reality and interaction of people and place. I want you to know how much fun we’re having exploring and attempting to make a difference in the world. Conservation and Science (not that this trip was for conservation or science) are hard work often-unforgiving paths but the people involved experience so much. To put it poorly, it’s very cool and they deserve to be understood and appreciated.
The human role in the planet is palpable in places like Mexico. They can’t avoid their trash by throwing it in a bin and forgetting it; they have to make choices between living and destroying their environments. They can’t all sit in front of a computer and preach environmentalism while being very much removed (yes I’m alluding to myself and my compatriots). My hope is that through reading about my friends’ and my travels in Mexico you’ll find yourself interested and possibly visit yourself. Maybe you’ll fall in love with the stark Pitayal or the verdant hills of Alamos and start to care yourself. It’s easy, it’s cheap, the food is good and the people are amazingly friendly. I look forward to hearing about your travels there soon.