The benefit of not having a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, sexy, witty, loyal, modern and loving woman by your side (anymore) is that you can focus 100 % on birding. If that is your preference of course. And from the way I have spend my spare moments the last month, after moving to Ciudad Guzmán to live alone, I must conclude that birding is my preference.
Made for it, I don't know, but pursuing it with a constant feeling of joy, I need not seek further for meaningfulness in what I do in this life. I'm a birder. It's as simple as that.
Being out there, connecting with it all while spotting with my eyes and ears, it all makes perfect sense. Life is about feeling joy, and standing high up on the slope of Volcán de Fuego in the shadows of the ancient mature forest, breathing the chilly moist air, that is what I feel. Joy.
It's a gift to the fortunate who understands to appreciate it. And it is free. Well, as long as you feed your Blue Ford Escape and convince it to take you up there. Mine did, though it trembles now and then when we get into these off-the-beaten-track adventures. It's not really made for it, without a 4x4, and with nine years on the road. But I try to treat it kind and convince it that a younger model isn't always the answer...
So, things are moving in the right direction, slowly getting to know all the local spots to be able to provide a top-tuned guiding experience for all my clients who come this way.
And on my own account it has certainly already paid off too, adding three new species to my Jalisco list after moving here. And yes, you're right: This leaves me alone at the top of the ebird Jalisco list! Greg Homel recently added a Baltimore Oriole to his list, but with my Eared Poorwill, White-throated Flycatcher and Slaty Vireo, I'm now two ahead, ending 2017 with a total of 409 species. We are very amused!
Next year's challenge might be to try to re-claim the top position of the Colima list as well. Though it looks like a more serious matter since I'm number two as of now, but with more than 30 species up to number one Oveth Fuentes. But let's see. With only one hour to Ciudad de Colima and two to the coast it certainly is more realistic to pick up the challenge than when living in Guadalajara.
So with a feeling of content and appreciation I conclude this year by saying thank you to all of you who brought me here, clients, family, friends and fellow Mexicans!
May health, prosperity and joy be your main companions in 2018!