I head off to find the Biosfera El Cielo, https://biosferaelcielo.com which is somewhere in North East Mexico. It is reputed to be a good place for birdies.
I drive for 2 days from Fresnillo over flat desert plains. It is a dull trip made worse by a ghastly 2 hours trying to find my way out of St Luis Potosi. However even the grimmest road journey in Mexico is made bright by the rows of stalls that line the road on the way into and out of anywhere. Tacos, birria, burritos, carnitas, fruit of every sort, cold fruit juice, coconuts, roasted maize, steak and kidney pie, etc, etc.
I finally get to the tiny town of Gomez Farias, outside of which there is a Centro Interpretivo. I mime that I would like to find a birdwatching guide. 10 minutes later Mario shows. He is fantastic and seemingly very excited that I am there. He is determined to show me the Altamira Yellowthroat, which is only found within a few miles radius of Gomez Farias. When I say found, it is a simplification. We spend hours snuffling around drainage ditches and after much diligence Mario finds a couple. They move very fast in amongst the reeds. This is birdwatching at its most obsessive!
I am exhausted but Mario has the bit between his teeth and off we go into the now night to search for owls.
Next day at 07:00, we are off again now accompanied by Esteban who is to be my guide over the next couple of days.
The first target is the amazing Great Currasow that wander out of the forest to feed early in the morning.
Esteban and I head into the mountains up a very, very rough road. We spend 3 days hammering up and down tiny mountain roads, all in terrible condition.
We make our way up to the tiny village of Alta Cima, Esteban’s home town.
A bird you have never seen before is called a ‘Lifer’ in birdwatching vernacular. I do not think there is a term for birds that you have not even heard of. During the 3 day trip I only see 2 species that I have previously met, the other 50 or so I have not only not met but indeed never heard of. It is truly amazing birding!
Anyway, I could go on like this for a very long time but you get the picture. Esteban and I spend 3 exhilarating and exhausting days in the mountains. He is a genius. I camp in his garden and his very funny wife cooks me breakfast; beans, eggs and tortillas, every morning. It is a very simple mud house.
Thank you Esteban. Thank you Mario. Thank you truck. What an adventure!