The 2010 International Bird Watching Encounter in Guatemala is just drawing to an end. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the Encounters in 2008 and 2009, both of which stand out among my most cherished travel experiences. Alas, I couldn’t make it this year so instead, I’m sitting on the sidelines waiting to hear whether Nate survived his San Pedro Death March (good luck, buddy!)
Thanks to my deep love of the country and its people, cuisine, and natural splendors, I heartily recommend Guatemala to travelers. My friend Renato Fernández Ravelo reminded me why with an e-mail yesterday. Renato, who lives in Guatemala with his wife Bitty (herself a fantastic field guide) and their family, was discussing with some visitors why more people don’t visit Guatemala. Apparently, the three main reasons were:
- People don’t know where Guatemala is
- People don’t know what Guatemala has to offer
- People are frightened off by the Dept. of State Travel Advisory
To this, Renato responds with four reasons of his own, quite compelling ones indeed…
Stalking the pulchritudinous Pink-headed Warbler stands out as one of my favorite birdquests, bar none. Too bad none of my photos came out as well as Renato’s did.
Also inspiring is Renato’s image of an Azure-crowned Hummingbird, a common Feeder Hummingbird of the Guatemalan Central Highlands. Lovely bird, no?
I had no idea that Guatemala had its own race of Yellow-rumped Warbler, called Goldman’s Warbler. Wikipedia notes that Goldman’s resembles Audubon’s but adds a white lower border to the yellow throat and otherwise darker plumage. In addition, the slate blue coloration of Audubon’s males is replaced with black on Goldman’s. I need to go back to my trip lists…
Last but not least, how about a turkey more wild that the Wild Turkey? The Ocellated Turkey, an almost certain tick for visitors to Tikal, blows away the more mundane North American Meleagris species when it comes to resplendent plumage.
If you’d like to see many more of Renato’s phenomenal photographs of Guatemalan birds, you’ll love his book, Birds: Guatemala’s Feathers. If you’d like to see the birds themselves, get thee to Guatemala!
Oooh, Goldman’s Warbler! I’d love to see it someday, but have never been in the parts of the country it’s rumored to frequent.
And you didn’t even mention Horned Guan.
whoa!!! beautiful pictures, I love it.
keep it up!
That Pink-headed Warbler shot up my list of “must-see” birds last year when you posted about it, and Guatemala is definitely high on my list of places to go birding in the near future. (Now I just need the income to make some more trips like this happen!)
The reason I didn’t mention the Horned Guan is because I haven’t been able to get a good photograph. Next trip is the search for the Belted Flycatcher.
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Picture of the Pink-headed Warbler is my favorite. Renato you are an artist.
Excelentes fotos, Renato!!! Felicidades!!
Que fotazas Renato!! felicidades. Thanks Mike for your concept of Guatemala. To bad you couldn’t make it this year for the birdwatching encounter, may be next time.
Keep up the great work and pictures.
What great pictures. I hope to visit there someday.
Excelente Renato,siga adelante…me encantan sus fotos!
So pretty birds.
Most summers I visit Guatemala with groups in tow and arranging transportation with Adrenalina has been a huge stress reducer. Our drivers have been prompt, courteous, and safety conscious. The vehicles have been new or newish and comfortable, and the cost for private transportation rivals the cost for share shuttles where groups are concerned. Patrick and Victor have been accessible and easy to deal with. I also use http://www.adrenalinatours.com for share shuttles when I’m traveling alone or with my husband and have been pleased with that service, too.