My first month in Mexico

My first month in Mexico has been a whirlwind. After the long journey south, I arrive in the town of Hermosillo, surprised by how much it resembles an LA or Texas suburb (except everything was in Spanish). I had some delicious Huitlacoche empanadas and spent a fortune on groceries at Costco.

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My first meal in Mexico: Empanadas of Huitlacoche, a kind of special mushroom that grows on corn.

I spent the day sleeping mostly and getting introduced to my beautiful beachfront property. Though I sleep in a tent, there is WiFi and showers and an equipped kitchen, where fellow center workers make delicious meals!

I went on an excursion with the bird team to what seemed like an oasis in the desert, filled with saguaro and organ pipe cactii. It turns out it was an estuary right by the ocean, filled with hundreds of waterfowl.

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An organ pipe cactus and the desert oasis, an estuary by the sea.

I went with the team again on a boat to an island in the gulf of California called Alcatraz. Here, pelicans, cormorants, and blue footed boobies make their nests. While the birders whipped out their scopes, I went on an adventure up the rocky volcanic slopes, slipped a few times, and eventually had to turn around to avoid disturbing the cormorant rookery. I saw a cute little cactus wren, too!

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A cactus wren on Alcatraz island

Though there’s been a fair share of work too. I had some amazing tacos in town to reward myself for finishing an inventory of the library—amazing fresh tortillas and carne asada!

I got the chance to explore the landscape a bit with the geomorphology class. We went on a hike up to the peak of a volcanic rock, with some interesting features along the way. Hiking through the brush and spiny plants, we made our way to a cave which had Comca’ac drawings from the indigenous people who live in this region. The cave even had bats flying around which was pretty cool.

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Any guesses what this cave drawing means?

I made my way up to the peak looking out at the cactti-dotted landscape. I slipped going back down and had to jump a few feet, scraping against the rock face. It was a gorgeous hike in a unique desert mountain landscape.

The surrounding islands are equally desert like. On a boat tour with the marine mammal monitoring group, we went far out to the midriff islands, seeing fur seals and sea lions and tons of birds like blue footed bookies, red billed tropic birds, and cormorants. Some of the islands were small and others huge, many had interesting colors of the full rainbow spectrum. On the largest island, we ran into a pod of dolphins and a sea lion jumping out of the water and playing in the surf of the speed boat.

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Alcatraz island, one of the many midriff islands in the Gulf of Mexico

It has been so much fun tagging along with the geomorphology class to learn about coastal geology. I spent an afternoon on a beautiful isolated beach to learn how it had formed from granite and basalt rock.  I also saw a sea hare in the intertidal pools formed.  An interesting way that people have changed the landscape was that the aquaculture industry produced so much sediment that it formed a sandbar, causing the waves to break sooner before getting to the shore.

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The Gulf of California.

After the lessons, wee ended by running down a sand dune which was a lot of work to hike up but so much fun sliding down the steep surface. It was almost like running through the Sahara!

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Sand dunes–and these were the “small dunes.”

2 comments

  1. jazzytower · February 9

    Sounds like fun!

    Pat

    Like

  2. Gary Krauss · February 26

    Nice write up. Like the photo of the cactus wren

    Like

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