Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the September 7, 2007 Newsletter issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, QUERÉTARO, MÉXICO

Until a couple of weeks ago our rainy season had been a piddling one. Hurricane Dean changed that, ushering in day after day of drizzle and showers. Last Friday while walking along the reservoir in the rain I saw an Osprey sailing in and out of white showers drawing across the lake. You can see several pictures of Ospreys flying at http://www.wnywildlife.com/alabama/osprey/osprey.php.

Ospreys occur here only while migrating and in the winter, so this bird reminded me that somehow already the summer rainy season is mostly over, and that now days are shortening as the winter dry season approaches.

When I was a kid in Kentucky Ospreys appeared only as they migrated between their wintering grounds much farther to the south and their nesting grounds much farther to the north so, to me, Ospreys are "change birds." Last Friday when I saw that Osprey I was like Pavlov's dog reacting to a ringing bell: The Osprey automatically induced in me a sense of change. Also, I wondered where he'd just come from, what swamps, and towns and busy interstate highways he'd just sailed over.

In Mexico Ospreys live year-round along the northwestern coast and the Yucatan's eastern coast. Northern birds winter all along the coasts of both sides of the country, and here and there in the uplands, including at Jalpan's reservoir.

Last Friday, as the Osprey reconnoitered the reservoir's misty shoreline, a Wilson's Warbler -- also a winter visitor here -- flitted and chipped in the Sweet Acacia behind me, shaking silvery water droplets from deep-green acacia leaflets. When I walked away several Spotted Sandpipers flushed from a nearby bank and of course they also were winter visitors.