Mustang Island, Texas

(Bert) Shari doesnít have time for caravan withdrawal this year. No sooner do we finish up the reports and paperwork for the Costa Rica trip than we head north to Corpus Christi to Gulf Waters Resort for a reunion with our 2006 Alaska caravaners. In between local birding, eating out, and socializing, I get a bit of time to calculate some statistics about our Central America trip.

In our RVís we drove 5247 miles. I bought 622 gallons of gasoline at an average price of $3.37, getting 8.4 mpg with lots of generator usage compared to the 9.5 mpg I normally get. Gasoline prices by country were: Mexico $2.470 - $2.488, av. $2.48 Guatemala $4.000 - $4.175, av. $4.09 Honduras $3.711 - $3.835, av. $3.77 Nicaragua $3.879 - $4.506, av. $4.19 Costa Rica $4.254 - $4.348, av. $4.30 El Salvador $3.830 - $3.830, av. $3.83 U.S. border $2.959 - $3.030, av. $2.99 (although much higher north of the border)

Diesel users fared much better since diesel is much more expensive in the U.S. than most other countries, especially Mexico.

I added to my trip list right up to a few hours before crossing the border, adding Chihuahuan Raven, Greater Roadrunner and Audubonís Oriole, bringing my personal count to 640 species. Joanie, Mark and John all surpassed me in trip birds with John leading at 659 species. The total trip bird species was 720. Not surprisingly, no one got that number since we usually split up into groups, often had different birding guides, and many bird species were only seen one time.

My last life bird - and only addition to my Mexico list - was Giant Wren, life bird number 151 on the trip. This is far more life birds than I have ever added in one year and entirely owing to this being my first birding trip to Costa Rica, other than a short non-birding scouting trip in 2006. By far the two with the most additions to their life lists were Clay and Joyce, each with 394 added species, since this is their first trip south of the U.S. border. Kay had a remarkable 300 life birds and even Dorothy with 62 and Lee with 70 made impressive gains, given how many times they have visited Mexico and Central America. Birdwise, there is little doubt this was a successful trip.

We also saw a great many mammals, including 26 species. Probably the monkeys are the most memorable, especially the capuchins at Santa Rosa National Park. My list of 18 reptiles and amphibians is incomplete, as John kept finding and identifying them beyond my recording his sightings. Likewise, Charlu, Nelda and Gilford studied countless trees, flowers and other plant life and frequently heard the scientific names from our guides. I suspect Charlu has copious notes of these and Nelda has hours of tape recordings made whenever she found something interesting, which was almost constantly.

Now Shari and I need to focus on the final plans for Alaska 2008, which will include British Columbia, Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories and visits to far flung corners of Alaska. We will start on the Alaska Highway in just a few weeks.

  Appendix A  Table of Contents