Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

In the right foreground an ibis is feeding its young, which are, however, protectively colored

and almost invisible in the photograph (see text below)

111ore

quitoes furnished as many elements of The young ibis were almost ready to discomfort as one often encounters at one Hy and in their vood-brown plumage time, and all were intensified within the were as invisible as their parents were blind; nevertheless I can recall only one conspicuous. In photographs containing other experience in bird study which has dozens of them only one or two can be afforded me keener pleasure or clearly distinguished, and even in the lasting satisfaction.

motion pictures obtained they can be disTo go into detail is not possible at this covered with difficulty. time, and it may simply be stated that a

TTER TIL IGUINI series of plates and motion films were made illustrating the home life of the I had exposed my last plate on them roseate spoonbill, valuable not only be one day when I observed a heavy-bodied cause they had not been made before, but iguana, about 4 feet in length, with his even more valuable because, owing to the armor of plates and spikes fully develdiminishing numbers of this rare bird, oped, slowly climbing about among the they may possibly never be made again. nests, pausing here and there to eat leaves.

The white ibises were nesting in low The birils paid no attention to him and bushes under conditions which made pho he was at least not an unwelcome guest. tography as easy with them as it was Being unable to photograph this venerdifficult with the spoonbills. One had able-appearing reptile, I determined to only to erect one's blind in the oper catch him, and before he realized my spaces their nests faced and enter it,

presence I was almost within grasping when forthwith the routine of ibis life distance (see also page 558). was resumed.

It that moment he took in the situa

[graphic]

Photo by Frank M. Chapman I PLOCK OF TRISTS: LULLAHUI LIGOON, MEXICO (SEE PAGE 545)

[ocr errors]

tion, bali jell, hali jumped to the ground, pouch until in form, color, and appearand at top speed galloped over the mud ance it exactly resembles a red toy balto the lagoon, 50 vards away, and plunged hoon. This striking appendage is exinto the later not 2 feet ahead of me. hibited not only when the bird is at rest, I have not yet made up my mind what I but also when it is in the air, and we should have done with the formidable secured photographs of a flying bird with looking reptile it his speed had not out this great scarlet bladder hanging beneath run my discretion. Iguanas iere, in trutlı, its billa unique combination of dirigible surprisingly common on the little island. and aëroplane in bird life (see page 551). The track of their dragging trail was Without further describing our search everywhere visible along the beach, and for land and water birds at sea-level in

were frequently stariled by having castern Mexico, or summarizing what I them drop from the limbs overhead and have briefly written about them, at least Scurt into the water.

enough has been said to show that in its

general aspects the avifauna is here highly DIRIGIDIT UND JEROPIUNT:

tropical. Iccepting this fact as estabOn some neighboring islets brown peli- lished, we may now return to Vera Cruz cans and man-of-har-birds vere nesting and begin our journey toward snow-line. in the black mangroves. The latter were Remarkable as is the railway journey So wholly devoid of icar that in order to from Vera Cruz to the table-land, must secure motion pictures of them in lliglit be remembered that the region has been it was necessary to shake the limbs on settle for centuries and that the original which they were sitting The mating forest has long since disappeared. To season 113s past and the birds were incul find primeral conditions one must therebating their single white egy, and but one fore go some distance from the long-esbird in the colony of several hundred was tablished railways. In my opinion the seen to intate its throat pouch.

whole region may best be seen from CorThis form of sexual display is prac doba as a base. The city itself is unusuticed only by the male, who expands his ally interesting, the accommodations good,

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

the climate agreeable, the surroundings will enrich the remaining years of one's picturesque, the vegetation luxuriant, the life with a precious memory. To be long inhabitants thoroughly Mexican, and the enough with Orizaba to experience the views of Mt. Orizaba of surpassing ever-changing but never failing demands beauty. I railroad leads not only toward it makes on one's love of the beautiful both coast and table-land, but another and sublime, and to realize its power to line goes south, and still another goes stimulate one's spiritual nature, is an north. Cordoba, with an elevation of abiding inspiration. 2,700 feet, is near the upper edge of the Further studies of the life of the Trophumid Tropical Zone, and in an hour or ical Zone were made at Motzorongo, 30 two one may go by train to the heart of miles to the soutlı, on the lately opened the tropics below or to the Temperate railway to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Zone above.

Here we found as highly developed trop

ical forest as I have ever encountered, BEAUTIFUL, ORIZABA

and, in addition to many forms of tropBut Cordoba deserves chiefly to be ical birds, tapirs and monkeys are said to known as the place from which it. Ori inhabit it. Finally, our work in the Tropzaba may best be seen. From no other ical Zone completed, we turned our faces spot known to me is one more impressed toward the snows of Orizaba or, to be by the dominating majesty of this great more exact, toward the clouds of Orimountain. Towering more than 15.000 zaba, for in consequence of a norther feet above one, its superb, sweeping, sym which had prevailed for a week we had metrical outlines can be seen from flank been surrounded by fog and drizzling to flank, from foothill to summit. A rain, and the mountain had been invisible. single view of this great volcanic cone The summit of Orizaba can be reached

[graphic]

Photo by Frank 1. Chapman SPOONBILLS: VOTE TILE PECULLIR BILL, "111CIT GILES THE BIRD ITS SWE

without great difficulty from the edge of Coscomatepec is 2,200 feet above Corthe table-land through San Indres and doba, at the terminus of a railway 20 Chalchicomula One may travel to an miles in length. The journey is made in altitude of 15.000 feet by mule, and the three hours, the train leaving Cordoba at remaining 3.000 odd feet are traversed on 7 a. 111. and Coscomatepec at 12.30 on the foot. No plusical obstacles are encoun return trip. tered, and the walk to the top is merely a matter of legs, lungs, and heart. To ac

"DOCE;" AND "DOS" complish our purpose of determining the Mistaking “doce y media" (12.30) for approximate limits of the life zones dos y media (2.30), our prospecting through which one passes in traveling party missed the train for Cordoba by from sea-levd to S11011-line, a less fre nearly two hours and we were forced to quented and more direct route was desir- spend the night at Coscomatepec. With an able, and ive determined, therefore, to be outfit of lenses, guns, etc., worth several gin our ascent at Coscomatepec, a quaint hundred dollars, our cash assets barely and but little-known town at the bottom sufficed to buy us the humblest board and of the foothills lying at the eastern base lodging and second-class passage to Corof the mountain.

doba in a freight car overciowded with

[graphic]

FEEDING UNDER DIFFICULTIES

Photo by Frank 11. Chapman “We could see dozens of delicately colored pink forms, while in nearly every tree was one or more nests holding young nearly as large and as pink as the parents which had just left them. We had at last reached the home of the spoonbill” (see text, page 544).

SO

natives. This last circumstance gion favorable alike for man and maize, shocked an English salesman that with and hence so populated and cultivated difficulty we prevented him from buying that the original growth has long disapus first-class tickets.

peared. Several days later Fuertes and I, with The last mango trees and coffee plantaW. F. Patterson, a fellow-member of the tions were left at 4,700 to 4,900 feet, and Explorers' Club, who, finding us at Cor at 5.000 feet the trail was bordered by doba vainly searching for a cook, had great sycamores. Within the succeeding volunteered to fill the position (which, I 500 feet we saw lawthorn blooming, may interpolate, is now permanently open wild ("rum") cherry trees with green to him!), left Coscomatepec with three fruit, poplars, and oaks; and these trees, saddle and two pack animals. Mist and with willows, peaches, pears, apples, clouds obscured all but the near-by land elderberries, huckleberries, and lupines, scape. The trail was good, but as slip were characteristic of the zone through pery as though soaped, and the an als vhich we were traveling. fell with discouraging frequency. We Few birds were or could be seen, but were now in the Temperate Zone, a re the presence of robins and flickers (both

« PreviousContinue »