03-Marzo-2020, Martes. Mérida, Río Lagartos y Los Colorados, Yucatán
All women like flamingo. Today we took a tour van to go see flamings. The van was one short of capacity with 11 women plus Dale, not counting the tour guide and driver. Since we were the last people to be picked up we were relegated to the back of the bus for the entire trip.
Although our tour guide was multilingual the greater portion of the tour was solo en español 🙁
The drive to Los Colorados was more interesting than the drive from Cozumel to Mérida. A little more agriculture, a small amount of irrigation for crops and cattle, a few ranches (small to large), miles and miles of rock fences and a lot of scrubby land. It’s 300 miles round trip.
Sometimes when you travel out west in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado you see beautiful ranches and think ‘Wow! That would be a cool place to live”. Not here……
The land is rugged, extremely rocky. Occasional there are dining room table size chunks of rock, no doubt courtesy of the Chicxulub meteor.
Potty break at the Oxxo in Sucila. Sucila is small town a couple kilometers west of Tizimín, where we turned north to Río Lagartos. I bought one of each of the limón (translates to lemon but it really lime) flavored cookies.
The longer we were in the back seat of the van the better our seats looked. The bus driver played heavy metal music on the radio. The music was more than loud enough for us. Interesting music choice for a bus load of old women and Dale.
Estamos aqui al la Parque Natural Ría Lagartos. (We are here at the Ría Lagartos Natural Park.)
The ISYSA salt company has mined the salt at Los Colorados since the 1940’s. Los Colorados is an ancient saline estuary where the Maya harvested for more than 2,000 years. The salt gave life to the towns and businesses of Central America including Chichén Itzá, Cobá, Uxmal, Edzná and Tikal, as well as more distant places like Copán, Izabal and other Caribbean islands.
The ISYSA facilities harvested more than 200,000 tons of salt last year.
Short stop at a beach in Parque Natural Ría Lagartos near Los Colorados
Río Lagartos (Alligator River) boat ride from Los Colorados to the city of Río Lagartos. Río Lagartos is a mangrove-lined, salt water river. But in reality Río Lagartos is not really a river. It’s an estuary. The lagartos are not alligators, they are crocodiles.
The entire of Parque Natural Ría Lagartos has been recognized since 2004 as UNESCO a Biosphere Reserve because of its incredible flora and fauna.
It’s not much of a picture below but interesting never the less. The bubbling spot near the bow of the boat is where a cenote is emptying into the river.
We also saw lots of migrating white pelicans, egrets and herons from the USA and Canada, and Mexican eagles.
Ciudad de Río Lagartos (City of the Alligators)
We stopped for lunch then headed back to Mérida. In case you wondered, here’s what the back of the van looked like.
I was exhausted from sitting in the bus all day. We ate the rest of our cookies just to make sure any cockroaches around here didn’t get them. Per room instructions posted in yesterdays blog, I didn’t want to use my shoe:-) (We haven’t seen any cockroaches)
After a shower to wash the salt water spray and heat of the day off we were in bed by 8:30PM.
Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)
The word ‘flamingo’ comes from the Spanish word ‘flamenco’ meaning fire. The pinkest birds have the highest status in the colony as the bright color shows that a particular individual is strong and good at finding food resources.
Flamingos are social birds thrive on social interaction and do not thrive if they have to live alone. A flock of flamingos is called a stand, pat, colony, regiment, or flamboyance.
There are six species of flamingos. The American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) is the only flamingo species native to North America, but is rarely seen in the United States anymore.
Flamingos are monogamous by nature, and only lay around one egg per year. Flamingo chicks are born gray or white and up to three years to get their pink and red feathers.
Flamingos, both female and male, feed their young directly from a secretion produced in their crop (throat). This ‘crop milk’ is bright pink. So much carotenoid is taken up by their crop milk that by the end of a breeding season both parents have lost the pink coloring from their feathers and appear almost white.
BTW. Flamingos are pink on the inside, too. skin is pink and flamingo blood is pink.
You gotta watch this cartoon-like Andean Flamingos matting dance on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW8GX2n4qbY
Don Featherstone of Massachusetts invented the pink plastic lawn flamingo, which has been gracing lawns since 1957.