Nature Study in Mexico

Mexico has many beautiful places, birds, butterflies and fish along the Pacific Coast, where we were. There are also whales, manta rays and dolphins jumping regularly.  This is a long post about the nature study that we did while we were in Mexico for a week in January.

We saw many beautiful birds while we there. Zippy increased her list by 17 identified birds: West Mexican Chachalaca, Great Kiskadee, Orange Fronted Parakeet, Purplish-backed Jay, Yellow-winged Cacique, Magnificent Frigate Bird, Brown Pellican, Blue Footed Booby, Streaked-backed Oriole, Inca Dove, Squirrel Cuckoo, Common Black Hawk, Boat-tailed Grackle, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Millitary Macaw, Common Tern and White Ibis.

And then there were a few more that even with extensive internet searches, we have not been able to identify. Here is one of them:

Unidentified woodpecker

It’s obviously a woodpecker, but what kind?
 
One of the ones that we had many opportunities to observe was the  Orange Fronted Parakeet. These parakeets fly in flocks and we saw them every single day. They’re very noisey birds too, so you always heard them before you saw them. At first, we weren’t sure if we could identify which parakeet it was, because there are several green parakeets down there, but we’re pretty sure we got the right one.

Orange Fronted Parrot

Zippy chose to illustrate this bird in her nature journal.

Orange Fronted Parrot

We also got to watch the Pelicans fishing. That was quite fun. The house where we stayed, was close to the water, so we just watched them through our binoculars and got to see them catch their breakfasts.

We also saw some new insects and spiders. One morning we went on a little walk up the mountainside to see if we could see any new birds. We did get to see the Military Macaws, but that wasn’t our first sighting. What we did find was a huge spider. Their spiders are bigger than ours. We stood and watched it work on it’s web, but we didn’t identify it.

  spider

I know some people don’t even like pictures of spiders, but I’m very intrigued by spiders, as long as they’re not crawling on me. I love to watch them weave their webs. We saw some beautiful insects too–butterflies. They are very hard to get pictures of though, because when they’re the most beautiful is when they are fluttering by. We saw several very large butterflies and we saw some just brilliantly painted butterflies.

butterfly
So if you have arachnophobia, maybe that picture helped to relieve your anxiety, but the next one is what got to me. One of the strangest insects we found crawling on my sandals while we were eating. Fortunately, I wasn’t wearing them.

IMGA0228.JPG

It was a too-big beetle, at least for my liking, but this is one of the things that John Deere Boy was intrigued with so he drew a picture of it for his nature journal. This is another thing we haven’t identified.

Mexican Beetle

We also saw many, many gorgeous flowers. There were Bougainvillea everywhere we went in pinks mostly, but also oranges, whites and reds.

Bouganvilla

Zippy chose to illustrate a hibiscus with a butterfly on it.

Bougainvillea

We also saw hibiscus and we got to go to a little arboretum that had all kinds of plants that were willing to grow in that climate. I can’t read Spanish so I wasn’t sure which ones were native and which ones weren’t, but they were all flourishing. People just have these most beautiful flowers growing on the fences along the road and everywhere. It’s heavenly.

hibiscus

We also saw whales spouting and jumping. That was very special. We saw humpback whales and a gray whale. We missed seeing any manta rays. We were a bit disappointed about that. Maybe next time. We were able to watch a little eagle ray swimming around once.

Humpback Whale

(That picture was taken by my father-in-law. He took a few other of these pictures. –Thanks Papa!– I did not see that good of a sighting of them. But the kids and my husband did.)

We did some tide pooling a few times to see what creatures we could find in and around the rocks. We found some types of anemones and mostly the regular things that you can find in tide pools. The kids found several shells close by. My husband took this outstanding photo of hermit crabs. I just love this photo. What do you think?

hermit crab

And my brother in law found this vacated urchin. I think this one is especially neat too.

urchin

The most fun that we had watching creatures was while we snorkeled. Sad to say, even though I’ve purchased multiple field guides at this point for fish, I still haven’t found a good one for that part of Mexico, so we haven’t identified the fish that we saw. We saw several different angel fish type fish. Several were yellows. We saw three kinds of puffer fish. We saw some type of rock fish. I got to see a spotted sting ray. We saw a sea cucumber. And we saw lots of other little brightly colored fish that liked to eat around the rocks. We didn’t have any underwater cameras, so I can’t share pictures of any of the fish, but here is a picture of the snorkelers!

Snorkeling

Oh, I nearly forgot. There were iguanas and some other lizard type thing that sunned on the rocks close to the house. They are quite the animal. I’m just not really into reptiles, but they are kind of interesting. They sit there for hours soaking up the sun and then something gets their attention and they scurry away so fast, you can’t believe it. Zippy even got to hold one of the iguanas.

Iguana

Besides studying things in the field of Biology, we also enjoyed watching the sky. A neighbor to where we stayed shared his telescope with us one evening. So we could see the craters on the moon. We saw Venus and we saw the nebula of Orion. That was special too. We wished we lived in a place where we could see the stars better. Maybe someday.

No pictures of the stars though, but what we did get some nice pictures of was some beautiful sunsets. Sunsets can be so beautiful over the ocean.

pretty sky

John Deere Boy also chose to illustrate one of the sunsets that we saw. Here is his picture:

Sunset In Mexico

We also saw some really neat rock formations. Isn’t it amazing that something like rocks can be beautiful? We serve a God who not only makes the flowers and birds and fish beautiful, but He can make the rocks beautiful.

rocks

And here is just, what I thought was a beautiful landscape.

landscape

We, as you may have noticed from my last post, couldn’t stay very far away from water. I’ve heard it said that it is good for our nervous system to watch water. Well, I tried to do plenty of that. I don’t know if observing water counts as nature study, but it sure is beautiful. Here are two pictures.

water splash

Water Fall

That last picture is my husband’s favorite from the whole trip. He took it. Those are the same waterfalls that they jumped off of that were in my previous posts.

When we take time to observe nature, we can’t help but come to the conclusion that we truly serve an Awesome Creator. How could we help but worship Him, when we see all that He has provided for our happiness?

7 thoughts on “Nature Study in Mexico

  • February 11, 2009 at 9:46 pm
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    Beautiful photographs! What a memorable and exciting place for nature study.

  • February 11, 2009 at 10:03 pm
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    I keep thinking of rhinocerus beetle about the one with the snout, but I'm not sure. Actually, I think such a critter lives in the U.S, too–but maybe it was in the South that I saw one like it.

    I love all the photos and feel like I'm back in Mexico again. We had to race through it so fast I think we missed a alot!

    Wonderful opportunity and you folks used it all!

  • February 13, 2009 at 5:45 pm
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    Wow! I loved this whole post! What a great opportunity for your family to see all those wonderful pieces of creation….birds, insects, reptiles, mammals, invertebrates, fish, and everything else.

    Totally awesome nature study. Thank you so much for sharing.

    You need to email me and tell me where you were. I would love to visit this area of Mexico.

    harmonyfinearts@yahoo.com

    Also, I would love to share a photo from your post for the Outdoor Hour Photo of the Week…along with a link back to your blog of course. Let me know.

    Thanks again,

    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  • February 13, 2009 at 10:03 pm
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    Loved all your beautiful pictures! What a wonderful trip. I agree with you, the Lord provides us with even rocks that are pretty. Pretty amazing.!!

    you can visit me at http://www.tapthesmile.blogspot.com I'm one of your AHE sisters!

  • February 15, 2009 at 1:53 pm
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    I really enjoyed your photos.The artwork by the children is beautiful too! Where in Mexico did you go??

  • February 20, 2009 at 2:19 pm
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    Thanks for your sweet comments on my sons' AR lapbook. I love these photos – helps to ease some of our winter blues. I so much want to have my children do more nature studies – great stuff there!

    hurrayic.typepad.com

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