I never lost the faith of a dedicated birder



Brown Pelican off Isla Coronado

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 .

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.

Turkey Buzzard over Loreto

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.

Juvenile Magnificent Frigatebird

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!

Brown Pelican among the mangroves of Puerto Lopez Mateo

Male Magnificent Frigatebirds with red gular pouches

Female Magnificent Frigatebird

Nic Slocum

Nic Slocum

Nic Slocum is an experienced naturalist and wildlife guide and is best known for his escorted tours taking enthusiasts out, both in Ireland and overseas, to view and photograph whales and dolphins. Nic maintains a lifelong passion for using the written word to promote the conservation of our wildlife and wild places and has appeared as an expert commentator on both radio and TV. A zoologist by training, Nic has published articles on conservation related issues in regional and national newspapers. Nic is a director of Whale Watch West Cork.com and Whales World Wide.com

Nic Slocum

Nic Slocum

Nic Slocum is an experienced naturalist and wildlife guide and is best known for his escorted tours taking enthusiasts out, both in Ireland and overseas, to view and photograph whales and dolphins. Nic maintains a lifelong passion for using the written word to promote the conservation of our wildlife and wild places and has appeared as an expert commentator on both radio and TV. A zoologist by training, Nic has published articles on conservation related issues in regional and national newspapers. Nic is a director of Whale Watch West Cork.com and Whales World Wide.com

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Glenn Bartley

Nic, outstanding article with some great images. I too was bowled over by some of the same species when I visited Puerto Rico last year – the Turkey Vulture and the Brown Pelican – common birds but beautiful birds.