Great tailed Grackle

Waking up in Paradise – one month later

Authors experiences Mexico

Since our snowbird retirement one month ago, our new alarm clock has become the early morning sounds of the jungle waking up as the sun erases the darkness of the night. Although we are actually staying in the bustling city of Playa del Carmen, Mexico there are an amazing number of delightful bird sounds. A distinctive one that I love is loud and almost obnoxious. It starts as a low note and then slides up to higher notes, like the sound made with a children’s sliding whistle (Play the video sample below to hear two samples of its delightful song).

An elevated view of the Zazil-ha neighborhood shows how the people here combine respect for the trees and green spaces, including grass roofed architecture in the roof top cabana of this 3 level home – apartment, with the continued expansion into the many larger condominium type buildings.

It took me a while to identify the bird behind the song because its hard to pin point its location with so many around, but based on a recommendation from the local expat site I used the “Merlin Bird ID” app on my smartphone to narrow it down, by recording the song. Turns out it is an awkward looking “Great tailed Grackle” variation of the common “black bird” grackles that we have at home in Canada. In fact we frequently notice them taking a bath in the heat of the mid day sun in our roof top pool.

Great tailed Grackle,

bathing in rooftop pool

Aside from the birds waking up, the “street noise” also turns up the volume, with walking traffic from people going to work for 7am, and more vehicles starting to move around.

Bottle scavengers know that the early bird gets the worm, so they seem to arrive early to sift through garbage cans and bags for beer and pop cans, plus other assorted metals, that seem to have value here. I watched one lady with a shopping cart who was so happy to pickup an old rusty water heater tank and some left over metal rebar from a nearby construction project.

EDIT 2 months later: We now have a rooster crowing at about 6am, he seems to use a different alarm clock than the birds. Plus about every few weeks when the neighbors cats are in heat, there is lots of that non-stop continuous eeoowww, eeoowww ing.

One month into our retirement – Life is good !

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