Ever since those dreamy childhood days when I would lie on my back on a straw rick listening to the chattering and murmuring of a flight swallows as they wheeled and swooped in the yard outside the barns on my fathers farm I have been a birder at heart. Saddened as I am by the catastrophic decline in the swifts, swallows and house martins and many other avian species in Northern Europe; my passion for birds was rekindled recently following a visit to southern part of the Baja Peninsular in Mexico.
The mangrove fringes of the Pacific lagoons of Baja and the Islands of the Sea of Cortez yielded species which I knew well from my childhood days spent thumbing through my favourite book, Birds of the World, but had never encountered in their natural habitat.
I am sure my hosts in Mexico thought I had gone a little bit “loco” as I enthused about the Magnificent Frigatebirds and the bright red gular pouches of the males as they cruised over the white coral beaches of Isla Coronado or the caracaras that strutted among the rubbish dumps along the long straight road to the lagoons of Puerto Adolfo Mateo. Ospreys nesting among the cactus forests of the Mesa. I had not seen these birds since my father took me to Loch Garten in Scotland during those heady days when ospreys, after years of persecution, returned to the British isles and started nesting for the first time in decades. The blue footed boobies (the source of much amusement as a callow youth) resplendent with their blue feet being the evolutionary mirror images of their Sulid cousins, the European gannet.
At the end of my all to short sojourn in Baja earlier this year I vowed to return to identify the myriad of hawk species, big and small, I chanced upon, the small birds of Loreto that I spied flitting among the palms and the amazing migratory waders that frequent the waterways and marshes of Nopolo.
I also realise as I read the various birding related posts on this wonderful blog site created by Ken Billington that I never really lost the faith of the dedicated birder!