Epilogue.  Mustang Island, Texas

(Bert) I started the winter journals with New Yearís Day at Mustang Island and now have come full circle. Color-banded Piping Plover P545 is still exactly halfway between post 54 and post 55, the same place as January 1 and the same place since 12 November 2004 when we first met. P545 is feeding on the sandy beach and while I watch it retreats toward the dunes. When I complete my 2-mi. roundtrip walk P545 is resting on the sand where I left it earlier.

Iíve had time to gather statistics on our 65-day trip. We traveled 3957 miles by RV and I drove my car another 1735 miles. Compared to our last trip to Alaska, gasoline was cheap, even in Belize which usually is the highest in Central America. In Mexico, the average price for regular gas was $2.161 and in Belize it was $2.915, compared to the U.S. price of $1.799 at the Texas-Mexico border.

Mexico: 44 days, 14 states
Belize: 20 days, 5 districts
Mexico: 458 bird species identified, 17 mammals, 6 reptiles & amphibians
Belize: 327 bird species identified, 16 mammals, 4 reptiles & amphibians
Total: 558 bird species identified, 26 mammals, 8 reptiles & amphibians

When we ran a similar itinerary through Mexico and Belize in 2005, we ended with totals that are amazingly similar: 557 birds, 23 mammals, 8 reptiles & amphibians.

Of the 558 bird species this trip, I identified 529 and, except for Tom, I probably spent more hours in the field than anyone else. I added 8 bird species to my life list, 21 to my Mexico list (now at 694) and 8 to my Belize list (now at 424). Gordon - and probably the same for Maxine - got 39 lifers (his goal was 40), but he doesnít count heard-only birds except rails, and he never did get to see the Tody Motmot we sometimes heard, nor the Black-and-white Owls. Ken, relatively new to birding and starting with a short life list, added an amazing 304 species to his list. Ken was careful to identify the bird before he added it to his list, passing up those that others identified but he did not see well.

In my bird database, I recorded 3893 bird sightings/hearings by date, location and quantity. The last entry was the Rock Pigeons at the bridge between Reynosa and Hidalgo. In recent years Iíve been especially interested in photographing birds. Even at times when my photos are dimly lit or out of focus, the digital image is quite useful in bird identification and Iíve been able to identify birds I could not see well enough through binoculars alone. After I culled the useless photos, I saved 1339 bird photos on my hard disk. These included 216 bird species during the trip, some of which appear on this website.

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