29 January 2013
Mark’s birthday is in late January so, for quite a few years, we tried to schedule a holiday in the sun around that time. It was a chance to escape the snow (we lived near Montreal then and there was always snow!) and do some interesting birding. Normally we would book a package holiday, but then escape the crowds when we arrived by hiring a car and exploring.
In 2013 we booked with Sell-Off vacations to go to Puerto Vallarta and ended up in the Hotel Grand Palladium all-inclusive on the Riviera Nayarit. After a short discussion with the desk clerk, when they tried to put us in a room overlooking the pool (probably prime real estate for all the other package holiday guests!), we ended up in a room about as far away as we could get, overlooking the sea and great for birdwatching and even whale-watching.
So far, so good, but it wouldn’t be one of our holidays if we just stayed where we were put. Several days in, we decamped from the hotel for several nights at a self-catering villa that Mark had found and booked on-line. Rancho Primavera is owned by an American lady who has a few houses in her grounds and also hosts birding tour groups in her main house. We had booked the Adobe House for a few days. All we had to do was find it!
It was a bit hairy at times, since we had fairly rudimentary instructions, but we did eventually end up at the village near to the Rancho, where we were to stop and pick up provisions since the cottage was self-catering. A rural grocery was interesting to negotiate; we certainly caused some excitement amongst the villagers as we blundered around, trying to find some basic foodstuffs. I had decided that omelettes should be fairly easy to do in a strange kitchen, so eggs were our first target. We couldn’t find them anywhere, no egg boxes, no egg trays. Then, suddenly, I noticed that there were clear plastic bags full of eggs on a low shelf-yes, they were just held in a thin plastic bag with a knot in the top. There were 18 eggs, which meant that we would be eating omelettes for the next three days! As a testament to the good nutrition of the hens, not one of those eggs cracked during the onwards journey to our temporary home-I can’t imagine that would be the case for our factory farm-raised eggs.
What to eat with the omelettes? Well, some nice fresh bread and butter seemed a good idea and we found just the thing, a floury, crusty loaf and a pat of butter-no margarine there. Laden with our supplies, we finished the journey to Rancho Primavera and settled into our temporary palace.
Rancho was a great place, and very birdy. I, however, was suffering from a head cold and was definitely not feeling my best. I was pretty content to sit on the back deck, overlooking this pool, and sniff, whilst Mark set out to explore.
Golden-cheeked Woodpecker, Little Blue Heron, Woodstorks and Cinnamon Hummingbird, all seen from the deck.
How did the omelettes turn out? Pretty well, actually, but the bread was a bit of a surprise…what we had taken to be flour turned out to be powdered sugar! Sweet bread with savoury omelette-it’s a new taste but not necessarily one I’d recommend. The bread did come in handy for breakfast though.
The next morning, 29 January, I was feeling much better and we were ready to really explore the site. One of our main target birds was the Military Macaw, but we were ready to see anything. There were feeders up by the main house, so we headed that way for an early morning stroll.
Tropical, Kingbird, Vermillion Flycatcher and Inca Doves on the trail at Rancho.
Around the feeders at the main house we were spoiled with lots of great birds. Mexican Yellow Grosbeaks were amazingly vibrant, against the colourful flowers, whilst Yellow-winged Caciques were equally vibrant in the tall, orange-flowered trees. Less colourful, but still good to see were Black-throated Magpie-jays (unfortunately a bit distant), Greyish Saltator and Stripe-headed Sparrow.
Finally the Military Macaw showed up. These birds can be very difficult to find, but the owner at Rancho had a quite tame bird that she was able to call in. He was rather cheeky and the owner’s car came in for some unwelcome attention.
A great bird to see.
We stayed at Rancho Primavera for three nights and, yes, we did eat omelette every night- I didn’t want to waste those eggs. I guess Mark was probably quite pleased to get back to the Grand Palladium hotel and hit that buffet, just to get some variety!
Camera: Canon SX40HS