Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Courtship of the Flamingos in Celestun, Yucatan

We had read about the fishing village of Celestun, known for its good seafood restaurants, but also for the flamingo colonies. November to January is the main courtship time for the flamingos and we were about a month outside of that, but decided it would be a nice drive and fun day trip.

We headed out with Barb and Ed. These signs mystify me. Thumbs up to...? We're never quite sure if we're missing something important when we don't understand the signs, but so far it hasn't been a problem.

Hey look...a yellow church! After our misstep on the way to the Cuzama cenotes, we've come to realize that just about every town has a yellow church.

Small town Mexico...

I don't know why I'm still surprised to see all the thatched roofs...

The road to Celestun is lined with trees and bushes. There are little paths off to the side that are marked with tires, shirts hanging on branches, water jugs...anything that indicates it's time to slow down and turn here.

And, of course, the ever present speed bumps. The crocodile on the sign seems to running away from the tourists!

Manglares, which we now know is mangrove in English...we had read that the flamingo tour also includes a mangrove tour.

We apparently look very much like tourists as the man on the bike stopped us and asked if we were doing the flamingo tour..."follow me!"

After a chance to use the washrooms, we were ready to go. Except, we weren't at the right spot. Back in the car and over to the pier...

OK...now we're ready...

It was a hot walk to the boat. At some points the beach was full of shells and at other times it was lovely soft sand.

Life jackets for everyone. It's the law. The boat takes 8 people and unless we wanted to pay for the privilege of having the boat to ourselves, we waited for additional passengers. All set to go...

Someone looks very peaceful...

Our view at the front...it was quite choppy and bumpy as we headed out. Let that be my excuse for some of the out-of-focus photos that follow...

Pelican buddies...

I think these are cormorants...one per pole, please!

Flamingos! Apparently, our captain had bigger groups to find as he didn't even slow down...

After a bumpy 20 minutes or so, we arrived at the bridge that we had taken into town. We could have taken the tour from there, but hey...we would have missed all the fun of slogging across the beach and crashing through the surf.

Under the bridge...

Our driver saw a crocodile near the water's edge so we reversed to get a look. Never did see it, so we carried on...

The water was lovely and calm at this point...

This guy was great. The driver was explaining things to us in Spanish, and he was doing his best to translate for us.

Flamingos in flight...not that I had spent much time thinking about it, but I didn't realize flamingos fly.

Tandem...

Now we could see some of the larger groups...

These are the American flamingos, the only ones found in North America. They have a life expectancy of 40 years!

Flamingos are wading birds and need to feed about 12 hours a day. For this reason we were not allowed to get closer to the flock as we could disrupt it.

They actually looked to be walking. I don't think the water is very deep here. At this point, I was wishing I had brought my better camera to Mexico.

They honk like geese...

video

And move as a flock...

And fly away as a flock...


The American flamingos are characterized by their black wing tips and the black on their beaks.

They are loud!

video


This guy got left behind. And with that last look, we turned to leave. We didn't see as many flamingos as we've heard there are during the main courtship months, but it was still pretty cool.

We headed into the mangroves...

After our last tour, we knew that there are several kinds of mangroves, each with a different colour for a name.


A termite mound...

Clear water with lots of fish...

I think half the boat had been lulled to sleep...

And after that short tour, the end was in sight.


We had one more stop to make...

Out of the boat and onto a nice boardwalk to walk around and see the crystal clear water...

There is a bubbling spring...

A lovely walk...

Jim stayed behind and took some photos of us returning...

Being led by the driver...he was very nice. I think he understood more English than he let on.

And then it was back in the boat...

LOL...gotta love it! My usual blog photo of Ed somehow ending up holding Barb's purse.

You can see how shallow the water is...this guy was holding up something proudly. A clam maybe?

Beautiful scenery as we headed back to the pier...

An osprey...

Going around the point where we knew it would now be very choppy water. Jim said he wished he was sitting on his life jacket for some cushioning.

Around the point...

Two guys fishing and gabbing...it's a quiet and pleasant lifestyle.

Lots of palapas (thatched shelters) on the shore...

And we all got a little wet getting out of the boat...no other way to do it. We dried quickly in the hot sun.

Mmmm...it was time for lunch.

A waiter was trying to wave us over for lunch. We had asked to use their washrooms in the morning but he directed us to a "chicken coop" instead, which was locked. We got a sorry, but no banos. Well, no banos, no lunch.

We went to Los Pampanos instead, who had let us use their washrooms. We all had the house quesadilla which was filled with cream, shrimp and mushrooms. Not exactly what we were expecting, but it was good.

And it was time to head for home...another abandoned hacienda.

A great day trip...no plans for anything else yet  except chilling and enjoying the weather.

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