This week, I once again found myself car-challenged. So I went to another nearby site, Las Mesas, which did not offer any unusual narrative. Instead, in this post I will wax philosophical, while sharing a few nice photos from that outing.

Clay-colored Sparrows

In about a month, I will have my 66th birthday. In between now and then, I will spend a week and a half in California, in the land where birding may mean walking on paved paths, or even on a wooden boardwalk built through the middle of a salt marsh. But once I get back home to Mexico, I will be climbing hills on livestock trails once again. I will often walk on the sides of steep slopes, staring at the abyss below. Or I may slog on the crusty floorr of a dry lakebed.

An unusual number of Least Grebes

Fortunately, I have good genes and come from a long-lived line. In all the usual measurements, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, I still test very well. I do carry about ten extra pounds of excess weight. And I must be careful to protect my skin, having had a couple of basal cells removed. I can also pretty much count on one or more joints to be a bit cranky on any given day — especially after a long day of birding.

Black-chinned Sparrow, a flagship species for this site.

It happens that I hate doing traditional exercise. Going to the gym brings me no joy. But give me a garden on which to work, and I will keep going for hours. In fact, I do keep going for hours, one day each week, on our barely tamed church property. And another day each week I go birding. Usually, I stay out around seven hours, and walk 6-8 kilometers (4-5 miles). These pastimes most certainly do bring me joy. They reduce stress like no other activities I know. And, according to my test results, that works for me.

Lark Sparrow

In recent months, several American birders have reached out to have me take them birding in or around Morelia. For the most part, they have been even older than I. And I must say, based on this most unscientific sample group, the future for my own birder’s health could be quite rosy.

This extremely confiding Northern House Wren had taken up residence in a little wooden cabin.

Some might say that I may soon be unable to climb hills and do heavy gardening, so I should probably slow down now. I say that I may someday be unable to climb hills all do heavy gardening, so I am going to do as much of these things right now as I possibly can. And fervently hope that if I use it, I won’t soon lose it.

And finally, my first sighting of the majestic Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo for 2024.

Written by Paul Lewis
Paul Lewis moved from California to Mexico in 1983. He lived first in Mexicali, and now lives in the historic city of Morelia (about halfway between Guadalajara and Mexico City), where he and his wife pastor a small church. He is the author of an internationally distributed book in Spanish about family finances and has recorded four albums in Spanish of his own songs. But every Monday, he explores the wonderful habitats and birds found within an hour of his house, in sites which go from 3,000 to 10,000 feet of altitude. These habitats include freshwater wetlands, savannah grasslands, and pine, oak, pine/oak, pine/fir, cloud, and tropical scrub forests.