It was an interesting day, first passing through a couple of small towns where we saw traditional houses still used as homes, a ruined hacienda, and learned something of the way of life in the rural Mayan towns from our guide who grew up in one.
Then eventually we reached Celestun and transferred to a small boat with an outboard engine
. The birds we were going to see are in the estuary a little way from the fishing village, so the boat driver called in to the nearby jetty for petrol and then we were off at high speed, planing across the water in a rickety wooden boat clearly not originally designed for high speed travel. One woman complained and asked him to slow down but of course that would have meant less efficient fuel consumption and a much longer journey. After 40 minutes we caught sight of orange bands along the shoreline, which soon grew into recognisable birds. There were thousands of flamingos around the edge of the estuary. The water here is reddy-orange because of the trees in the mangrove swamps. According to the guide, tannin from the wood seeps into the water and this colours everything eventually making its way through the food chain into the flamingos and making them bright orange. A small crocodile was basking beside the flamingos.
The flamingos were not the only birds on view. We also saw various Herons, Ibises, Frigates and even Osprey. When we returned to the beach the others went for lunch and we walked along a jetty to have a snack and watch the Terns (Sandwich and Royal), Skimmers, Pelicans and a beautiful Black Necked Stilt. It was a great birding day!
The Hostal reception arranged this trip for us and it was another example of their efficiency. Lunch was not included but when we met the others in the group they all had their lunch pre-booked (but obviously they paid more). We took a snack with us. However, the Hostal must have learned from other clients that the food was not good and the time it took in the restaurant meant that the others did not have chance to see the birds along the beach which we really enjoyed.