Sunset Party of the Oropendolas

The sun sets on Yaxhá Lagoon

The sun sets on Yaxhá Lagoon

During a three-week stay my routine was to spend my days walking around the Yaxhá Ruins site, along the road leading to the adjacent ruins of Nakum, or paddling my Sea Eagle kayak around the lagoon searching out wildlife for the purpose of getting some good photographs to be used in environmental education campaigns.

Within the large protected area there are four principal ruins: Yaxhá, Topoxte (situated on the island in the lagoon), Nakum and Naranjo. These cities played an important role in the central lowlands of Petén for more than 1,500 years. Although the pyramids are not as large as those in Tikal, the ambiance is that of undisturbed rainforest. The campground is equipped with four raised and thatch-roofed platforms where visitors can pitch their tents, all jungle-bungalows with a view of the lagoon.

Every evening as I returned to camp I was greeted by a most unusual show. The local community of oropendola birds, perhaps numbering over a hundred, descended from their mountaintop colonies and congregated in the trees closest to the lagoon where they all would raise a hell of a racket singing, screening and chasing each other through the foliage. There seemed to be no other purpose for the avian meeting except to have a big party and watch the sunset.

So I, too, took to joining them every evening with an ice-cold drink in hand, and as the horizon of the Earth eclipsed the sun I would drink a toast to the magical world of sublime beauty that is gifted to us every day by our glorious Mother Earth.

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