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Hooded Mergansers

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Unexpected Entertainment....

I had a whole different blog planned for today...  yeah, more birds and stuff we saw Saturday...  but then we went for our afternoon walk.

 It started quietly enough...  saw this guy riding his horse down the street.   Being the keen observers that we are, both Bill & I commented on the post hole digger and that old fashioned milk can.
We walked on.    We spoke to the old guy who has his rocker out on the sidewalk (sometimes in the street), and I even tried to kick a soccer ball back to a kid who was playing around.  Darned near fell over the thing...  we both laughed.

On past the ballfield...  a baseball game was in progress.  All's normal...  
But then we heard mooing...  lots of mooing...  We got to the corner....
 Hey...  this isn't Pamplona... we aren't in Spain...  they don't have running with the bulls here....  do they?  Of course not...  this guy is leading this herd of cattle down the river road.  
Now.... get this...  this guy was talking to the cows as he led them down the road...  he was definitely their leader and he had control.  I have no idea what he was saying...  but that herd of cattle knew and followed right along.

 A few got distracted by that luscious looking grass...

 And that horny bull was quite interested in all the young lady cows...  he decided to take advantage of the mayhem that the cattle drive created.  I'm standing right behind that concrete utility pole...  no fool me....  

 Those heifers could care less about their suitor...  they just want to get this drive over with.
Little do they know that they have several miles to go before they'll be in their home pasture again.
Remember my post of our walk to Los Lomas?  Well, we walked through their destination...  yes... they'll have steep hills and rough terrain to go through.  Fernando was at the tail end of this drive and stopped and talked with Bill....  these are his grandfather's cattle going to their alternate pasture....  the same path we just took!

 They pretty much played "follow the leader"...  but had a little help keeping them on the road and not stopping for a little snack along the way.  Those newly planted trees the road crew recently put in are leafing up nicely...  could be a tasty treat to these guys.

 These 3 men followed along behind...  just to make sure there were no stragglers.  I see they have their lariats just in case....

 Bill and I walk this road at least once, usually twice, every day.  It's kind of interesting to look at it through different eyes today...   I wondered where they were going...  this road leads to the beach...
unless...

 You turn off and go through this residential part of town...  
Sure enough...  right past the houses, kids, dogs, cars...  and whatever else is around.

These dogies moved on!  They got through the town central... right past the plaza, before we could catch up!  Fernando was in his truck stopping traffic at the plaza so the cattle drive could move quickly past and onto the road leading to their new pasture land.

 Nah...  the truck didn't run over this dog...
You see the cattle up ahead?  Well, they left a few gifts in the street...  much to the dog's delight!

 He must have thought manna dropped from heaven....

The cattle drive moved on....  off to greener pastures...
And the dog, having rolled in, tasted and totally enjoyed their passing, had to mark his territory.
Does he really think he's the alpha critter of those cattle?  Well...  maybe he is!

I'll post that other blog another day...  but...

That's All For Today!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Little of This... Some of That....

There's certainly no central theme to today's blog...  
You're gonna get pretty much just what I see....

 A new life bird for us...  a Masked Tityra
At first we thought it was building that hanging nest below it...  it does have a piece of straw or something in its beak.  But we Googled it later...  nope... it builds its nest in a hollow of a tree, like a woodpecker.  We're wondering if was just "borrowing" some straw from this hanging oriole nest to build its own.


 Not a bird, but a guy taking down this tree.  We've been watching him the past couple of days...  he's taken off all the top limbs.  We'll see if he continues to take the trunk down.


 All good equipment operators grease and oil their machines after each use.  This guy had his grease gun out...  hitting all the fittings on that attachment.  We watch this guy repair old bicycles nearly every day...  looks like he's got it down just right!

 We haven't seen them often, but at least 1 Roseate Spoonbill was over on the lagoon yesterday morning.  He's fun to watch as he swings his head back and forth, using his bill like a sieve to forage for his breakfast.

 On the hike yesterday we saw some HUGE trees.  I think this is a Banyon tree....  look how massive it all is!

 Also on the hike we saw this structure way up on the hillside.  Being from SE Ohio where hunting season is popular, I wondered if it were a deer stand... or in this case, a blind to use as camouflage while hunting.  Nope...  our guide told us it's just a shelter for the guys who are looking after the cattle that range here.  

 Whoever planted this field has put in a dual crop...  corn and cacti.  The cacti, when harvested, are sold as "nopali" in the stores.  I've bought them, but pretty much use it as a filler...  kind of like zucchini or jicama.

 You'd be in pain if you fell against this tree...  it's just covered with thorns!

 Yes, it's a parasite, but this bromeliad is really an orchid and will be beautiful when in bloom.


 Citreoline Trogan
First one we've seen on this trip.

 These little boys were playing along the street.  Don't worry, there was no traffic, and their father wasn't far away.


We've seen lots of "Veggie Trucks" along the coastal RV parks in Mexico, but sometimes, even though there are lots of stores that sell veggies, we'll see one here in Lo de Marcos.  You can even see their scales balanced among the veggies.  While we're not lacking for fresh veggies and fruits here, I love seeing these vendors along the streets.

 A juvenile Magnificent Frigate
(okay...  same as immature...  just sayin')

I think this is a Monarch butterfly...  but since it never opened its wings and I didn't get a close look, it could have been a Viceroy.  I'm too lazy to look it up right now ;-)

 Another street vendor...  she's selling Sugar Cane
She's peeling off the outer covering...  the white inside is sweet and can be used in lots of ways.

There seems to be a new business in the neighborhood.
We've been seeing these 3-wheel motorcycles hauling these 5 gallon bottles of water through the streets.  What we don't know is where the water is coming from.  Might be a question we really don't want to know the answer to.

 One last photos...
We saw this umbrella on the beach this morning...  we really haven't had any strong winds, so I'm wondering what happened to the cloth that covered the stays?  Looks kind of lonely, doesn't it...  and looks so appropriate for the final photo of the day.

That's All For Today!

Friday, January 29, 2016

An Eight Mile Walk...

Okay, folks, this was supposed to be a 2 hour hike....  I can do that...  heck, we walk at least 5 miles every day....  why not?

Well...  what was a 2 hour hike turned out (at least for me and Bill) an almost 5 hour hike over the mountain, down to the sea...  a ride from the main highway back to our little community...  okay...  you get the picture....

Here we go...
 All of our group of hikers (except for me, who took the photo)...
Our leader is on the far left...  Fernando, who knew the trail (which is really a cowpath (literally) from Lo de Marcos to neighboring village, Los Lomas.  Our organizer is Memo... in the striped jacket dead center.  The rest of us are all folks from the US or Canada who spend time in Mexico during the winter months and find hikes like these good exercise and otherwise entertaining ;-)


 Someone's taking a photo op along the trail...

 These folks are all behind me...  there were times when that mountain road was...  shall we say "difficult"?  Single file...  remember folks, we are on a cowpath...

 Some of the interesting things we saw along the way... 


 These folks are up ahead of me......  while the path didn't need bushwhacked... and often had ruts and stones, at least  we were able to distinguish it from the rest of the jungle...

Here's Fernando...  talking to this young colt....
He told us that the mare was pregnant for this foal when he walked this trail a few months ago.  We had just crossed over his grandfather's land onto another property.  He crosses this trail several times a year on a cattle drive...  herding his grandfather's cattle from  Los Lomas to Lo de Marcos as the seasons (and pastureland) changes from season to season.

 The young colt was curious...  and this hiker had some dried mango that the colt really liked.  

 Some of the terrain was rather treacherous...  narrow trail, roots ready to snag your toes...  rocks so slippery you could easily slide...  and the incline was very steep.

We finally all made it to Los Lomas...  where we had the option of either walking down to the beach or heading out to Rt 200 to catch a collectivo and ride back to Lo de Marcos.

Bill and I chose to walk to the beach, which we were told was 20 minutes away.  An hour later.... and very much an up and down road (mostly down a cobblestone road)...  we found ourselves at  Playa Monterro...  an all exclusive resort...  not many facilities open to the public.  

 We checked out the beach, used the facilities, and decided we better start heading back up the road.  We'd already walked for over 3 hours without stopping...  and I knew if I stopped for very long I would never make it back to the town.

So...  off we went...  we were almost back to Los Lomas when...
 This pick-up truck with many of our fellow travelers in the bed of the truck passed us....
They did stop to ask if we wanted to hop on, but by this time, we'd made it almost back to town...
Yeah, we were passed up by the Wimps!

A few minutes later we were all at the bus stop at Los Lomas...
Fernando flagged down a bus...  we all boarded it (for 10 pesos each) and rode the 5 miles or so back to Lo de Marcos.  

By my calculations, those of us who walked from Lo de Marcos, through the jungle to Los Lomas, and down to the ocean and then back to the bus stop, walked over 8 miles.  We got back to our bungalow around 1 pm.

It wasn't exactly what we'd planned on for the day, but even though I whined a bit on that mountain road, I wouldn't have missed it for the world!  And... get this...  when we got home, we ended up taking another walk through town with our friends Greg and Francine...  totally our mileage for the day was over 11 miles.  Not bad for a couple of senior citizens, huh?

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

That's All For Today!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

One Of Those Days...

Woke to rain this morning...  only the 2nd time we've had rain in the 6 weeks we've been here.  But we figured it wouldn't last...  so I did some laundry anyway and hung it out on the balcony.

We went for a walk...
Kinda hard to see, but there's a rainbow stretching from one side of this photo to the other....
I wore my rain jacket when we went on our morning walk..  more to keep my camera dry in case the rain got more intense than to keep me dry....  but it never did rain really hard.

But the critters were kinda hunkered down.....
You'd think this heron is really cold from the way he's standing...  but it really wasn't cold at all...  just drizzling enough to get wet if you stayed out in it long enough.

And...
Who knows what these two are thinking....
A great blue heron and a snowy egret...  checking out what's in the sea water as the tide brings it into the inlet...  or maybe checking out what the water in the river has in it as it flows back into the sea.

Kind of a quiet day... we took the bus down to the Mega store....  I needed some things I can't find here in Lo de Marcos, and it was an opportunity for us to show Greg and Francine how the local bus system works.  We really don't buy much down there, we mostly shop local, but it makes for a change from our every-day life here.  

By the time we got back it was well after our usual lunch time...  so we had a snack, then I fixed dinner later.  Like I said...  just a quiet day here.

One thing we buy that just cracks me up...  
We buy our TP (toilet paper) here in Lo de Marcos...  actually we try to spread our purchases out among several shops to kind of distribute what monies we spend here...  but anyway...  it was time to buy TP again...
Maybe I'm just a cynical kind of person, but come'on now...
Who the heck would put this label on toilet paper, of all things?
I find nothing adorable about TP....  it's just a necessary item we all use...  2 ply is better,  but how many of us really consider a name as the reason to buy?  In the States I buy Charmin....  don't give it a thought...  but this "Adorable" brand just tickles my funny bone.  

Yeah...  it's been a long day.

That's All For Today!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

One Pathetic Photo...

This is it for today....
The first Wood Stork we've seen in this area.
Kind of an ugly bird, isn't it?  Well...  no matter...  I bet his mother loved him.

Anyway...  we've had a busy day...  Our friends Greg and Francine, whom we met in Costa Rica a few years ago, flew in today for a 6 week stay.  We met them when we were all staying at Coco Beach, Costa Rica...  we've kept in contact since Costa Rica days, and they caught up with us again when we were volunteering at a NWR in Louisiana.

They are from Niagara Falls, (Canadian side), but have been pet-sitting in Arizona.  They have a break between gigs and decided to head down this way.  We know they could have found their way from the Puerto Vallarta airport up here to Lo de Marcos, but the bus system can be confusing, so we decided to go down an meet them at the airport.  And we did...  and...  as luck would have it, we caught a bus back up to Lo de Marcos almost immediately after walking over the the bus stop from the airport...  and we've been catching up and having a great time ever since.

So...  a short blog...  only 1 photo...  heck, I haven't even downloaded my photos of our dinner out tonight...  but I'll catch up more later.  So great to see these good friends again!

That's All For Today!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lunes Paseo

This is the meeting place for the Lo de Marcos Walkers...
 The Arch
Notice all the signs taped up along the sides of the arch.  They are notices for everything from the Veterinary Clinic at the library to a lost dog to an event coming to this or another nearby town.  One poster is announcing that a contingent of folks representing the Pope will be in the area.  This arch is also the main (well, okay, the only "real") bus stop in town.  (If you want to ride the bus but live down the street, you can just flag it down on it's way down the main street...  he'll stop and pick you up).  This plaza is where the main events in town take place....  it's where one group of folks play pickleball every morning.  It's where we "Monday Morning Walkers" meet at 8:00 am.

I think I've written that the river's outlet to the sea is blocked with sand.  There is no bridge across the river, so even when the river isn't high, like it is now, a person has to wade across the river.  Today it was higher than usual....  
 Here's part of our group...  heading across.
Some go barefoot...  most wear rubber flip-flops.  Neither Bill nor I ever go barefoot, so we're both truly "tenderfoot" kind of people.  We carry rubber sandals in Bill's backpack and change out of our "regular" shoes into them to cross.  (Leather takes forever to dry and dries hard and rigid).  If we come back here in the future, we'll both re-think the kind of footwear we'll bring.

We walk along the river for several hundred yards, then turn north...  then along a dirt road where there is a fair amount of various kinds of farming going on...
 Today we watched these guys planting a pineapple field (plantation?).  Everyone is friendly here...  they waved and gave us a big "thumbs up"....  

After the agricultural areas, we walked though the jungle for a while...   There are only a few areas where it's muddy...  and one area with deep mudholes....  but you have to keep moving or the mosquitoes will find you real fast!  

But eventually you come out to the beach....
 The sea is different today...
Even the sky and overall "feeling" is different.  It's more overcast....  lots of clouds on the horizon...  and not nearly as warm as usual.  The waves are high and loud.  We heard that person drowned here yesterday.  Actually, we heard the sirens going through town but didn't investigate.  Not too many folks try to swim out into the ocean (at least that we ever see), but the boogy boards, surfers, surf paddlers do seek out those high waves.  Here's part of our group....  I think there were 9 or 10 of us today...  in our hour or so walk we all tend to break up into pairs or threes and have our own conversations.  We get to learn a little more about "how the other person lives" and get to know them a bit better.  This works because a lot of the paths we walk on are so narrow that it's either single file or maybe 2 folks side by side.  

 This is not a fast paced walk...  it's meant to enjoy the scenery and enjoy each other's company.

At the end of the walk we usually stop for coffee somewhere close to the plaza.  Maria, of "Secrets" knows about our walks and makes it a point to have home-made muffins ready by 9:00.
 She also serves coffee...  but I let Bill go ahead to "Secrets" and I head to my favorite cafe and buy a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice.  Then I take it down to Secrets and join the group.
Looks like Maria's dog wanted to come in and say Hello as well.  
Bill said the muffins were very good...  a combination of banana, almonds, raisins and I think some other fruits.  I don't do well with bananas so passed on the muffins today.


And then we all go our own way....
It's not meant to be a strenuous walk, it's really more of a social event for most of us.  But it's so good of Memo to take the time to lead us on these walks and talk about the town and such.  We look forward to it each week.

Now...  about that Vet clinic yesterday.  There were 28 cats and dogs (don't know how many of each) that were spayed/neutered.  The clinic officially opened at 8:30 am and didn't close until 6:30 pm.  You might remember the photo I posted yesterday of the woman and black dog (well, his ears)...  It seems that dog was infested with ticks...  so much so that it had an enlarged spleen which was caused by a tick disease.  The sad part is, that dog had to be put down.  The disease is contagious and at this point, the dog couldn't be healed.  I know this is a sad thing to hear and for me to write about...  but it's good to know that there are folks looking out after all these cats and dogs living here.  And... about the library used as a temporary vet office...  they have the room, the facilities and it's available on Sunday....   guess it works out for all.

That's All For Today!