Tracy, of La Jacaranda, asked me about the swallows seen at the bridge between Arocutin and Jaracuaro. Although I was 99.99% sure they were Cliff swallows and not Cave, I decided to double check (Saturday, July 5, after birding Zirahuen).
On my way, I spotted a raptor being stooped by a smaller bird by San Pareo. Luckily, I was able to pull off the road, put on warning lights, grab my binocs, and jump out of the car in time to clearly see both birds: a White-tailed hawk being stooped by a Cassin's kingbird. Clear light and close proximity, I was able to see upper and lower sides of the hawk. So cool. The Cassin's was nothing in comparison!
On I went to the bridge, where I got out my big Sibley's and National Geo and really studied the swallows. Still not convinced, I hopped over the side and made my way through all the basura (trash) to where I could see the nests underneath. Clearly, we have Cliff swallows nesting here.
Made my way back to the roadway, where I was harassed by a 20-something girl. Mind you, I am not fluent in Spanish, but do okay in most circumstances even though it sometimes takes me a bit to understand what is being said/asked of me. This time the message was clear: Dame dinero para refrescos. Give me money for soft drinks. She was aggressive, even after I showed her I had no money in my pockets. Although I tried to continue to bird the bridge, I was a bit unnerved by her continued presence, continued requests for money, and the 20-something fellow who joined her. That's when I packed up my scope and left. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I'd left my big Sibley's on the side of the bridge until I made it all the way that to Patzcuaro. By the time, my husband and I returned, the villagers and my book were gone.
The silver lining will be that this girl or one of her young relatives will study my book and become an ornithologist. We can all hope so.