Birds. Ostensibly… but really I went to watch my friend Malcolm, who is the resident bird-tour guy and is everything you could wish from a leftist British hippie who has traveled his whole life and plans to move further and further up a mountain in Honduras as time goes on to find more birds and fewer people.
Malcolm floats up to four people a day several times a week out onto the Lago Yojoa, early enough to catch the bustle of birds before the heat comes up, and he has a way of making every group that he takes out feel as though they’ve had the luckiest bird watching day of them all. That made it no less exciting when he came striding into the restaurant last night announcing that actually, he had forgotten to count one little bird after getting home and that one little bird made our morning his absolute record for bird species in one day. Possibly, that meant his absolute record for a mostly cloudy day at the end of April.
I do not have that talent, whatever it is, for remembering bird facts or baseball stats. I did have a wonderful time learning about marsh birds who can walk on the thin web of reeds covering the water’s surface, catching flashes of yellow bellies and white backs (colors that apparently glow like neon to bird eyes), watching Mexican porcupines sleep wedged into a deep limestone crevice, and squinting through binoculars to make out the red tip on a toucan’s massive lime green beak.
Malcolm’s first real sentence in Spanish, he says, was to correct an unsuspecting someone : ”That’s not a duck, that’s a grebe.”