Birding by Cab

Magpie Jay, Mexico

Black-throated magpie-jay, Mexico

Of the 20+ years since I have been actively birding, there was only one time when I birded by cab.  For three days in a row we were chauffeured across the Mexican countryside in a little yellow cab.


It was one of those situations that all travelers encounter:  it isn’t at all what you were imagining, but you can either go with it or abort.  We went with it.  It turned out that our guide, Armando, didn’t drive.  So his friend did the driving instead.


Lupe's taxicab

Lupe’s taxicab

In the dark of each morning, Lupe and Armando picked my partner and me up at our hotel in the small town of San Blas in Nayarit, Mexico.  It was an intimate experience, for the car was small and the four us and our equipment were tightly packed in.


Armando and his scope on our boat ride

Armando and his scope on our boat ride

Sometimes, as planned, Lupe would take us to other destinations.  Twice it was to the river, where we had boat rides, left the cab behind.  One day Lupe dropped the three of us off in a banana plantation on the outskirts of a village.  Always at the appointed time, Lupe would promptly arrive to pick us up, with the cab cleaned and ready to go.  We’d clamber back into “our” little yellow cab.



L to R: Lupe, Athena, Armando. Spotting a Limpkin.

Armando would point out plants, flowers, trees, and nuts, tell us stories about what he did with these treasures as a kid.  We huddled under branches waiting for a special bird, craning our necks, straining our ears, admiring the many species that we found throughout each day.


Armando had a fondness for fried pork rinds.  Every day we stopped in a different village and picked up a greasy little bag, which he shared with all of us.  Once we had lunch at a countryside family restaurant, where they made fresh tortillas to order.  A very pregnant woman expertly worked the dough into perfect circles, the freshest tortillas ever.  The place was busy and lively; we were the only two gringos there, and the food was fabulous.


Mexico,-taxi-insideLupe was the slowest cab driver I had ever seen…but we were in no hurry.  Crosses, pagan amulets, and trinkets with shimmering gold streamers hung from the rearview mirror.  Occasionally when the car came to speed, the decorations would dance wildly in the wind.


We saw over one hundred different bird species in those three days; traversed many Mexican miles, up and down dirt roads, driving through orchards, even passed through a village funeral procession.  And that little cab never let us down.

Parrolets, Mexico

Parrolets, Mexico


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander




56 thoughts on “Birding by Cab

    • It’s the only way to travel. Usually bird guides drive up in their SUV, which is necessary on many of the back roads. So we couldn’t imagine how we were going to fare (ha) on the back roads, but it worked out fine. Always a treat to hear from you, Janet. 🙂

  1. By my own experience it’s the best way to do tourism. Whenever you need information about anything just go to the public market and ask around, you’ll be surprise how fast you can gather tips. Nice post Jet! I liked those parrolets picture.

    • And we had to tromp around a fair amount of trash with traffic whizzing by to get that magpie-jay…but yes, isn’t it stunning? Definitely had a delightfully local time. Thanks so much, Andrea, for your interest and comment. 😀

  2. Ah,my lovely Jet,there is always a first time and that makes the situation more exciting.
    Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading your fabulous post, for many different reasons! Captivating account of the three-day experiences,you were really lucky to see so many birds!I got my laugh while reading about the tintinnabulation of the mirror hanging treaures … It was also nice to see the photographer being photographed while she was shooting too ; did you take the photo ? Tell Athena that her photos were gorgeous,loved the Black-throated magpie-jay and the lined-up bright green parrolets on the thin branches ! All was so fascinating my dearest friend 🙂
    PS : How come your partner has two very Greek names,Athena Alexander;is it a pseudonym ?

    • Hello dear Doda, your questions and comments are so astute. So glad you enjoyed the fun birding days by cab. Yes, I did take the one photo with Athena in it. It’s difficult to see, but she was actually looking through her binoculars at a very special bird called a limpkin. But I have taken hundreds of photos of her photographing, I could make an album of it alone. Yes, her name is a pseudonym; she works in a judicial court system and wanted anonymity. She is a scholar (amateur) of the Greek and Roman classics. Doda, the sun is just coming up and I am happy to have found you for a friend; thanks so much for your comments, warmth, and interest. 😀 😀

  3. Thank you so much for being so appreciative and for answering my questions.I am very happy too that I have such a very special WP friend like you my dear Jet ! I love your exquisite writing style and the accurate,advanced words you use to describe things.Words are not just simple letters,they have so much power … Thanks for telling me about Athena ; it was obvious that there was something behind her name that had to do with Greece or the Greek onomatology.
    It’s high time I read ( or rather I studied … ) your new posts,see you there 🙂

  4. Such a fab site. Lovely photos and the information is wonderful too. I love birds. Thanks for visiting my author blog and enjoying my article on Creative Frontiers about my music business experiences, much appreciated. Do come again. I shall be watching your birds with interest too. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s