Paval is a small coffee processing site in the low foothills (1300' elev.) on the Pacific slope of the Sierra de Chiapas. It is the lowland camp site for hiking trips to or from the cloud forest up at El Triunfo. It is perhaps 5-6 miles from the end of the road at Tres de Mayo (900' elev.) and set in arid deciduous woodlands (top photo). Most camping is on a cement platform (below center) otherwise used for drying coffee beans. The photo below is from 1986 (that's Victor Emanuel and Wendy Paulson standing just left of center) -- at that time no one was living at Paval. By 2002, however, a family was living in the hut with their dogs, pigs, chickens and ducks. In the 2002 photo (right) a pig wanders by my little blue tent just off the platform. Alas, the lowland woods are now much chopped up and degraded.
visits Paval either before or after working in the steaming tropical lowlands
on the Pacific side near Tapachula in extreme southwestern Chiapas, Mexico.
The Giant Wren (fuzzy photo, right) is entirely restricted to that
lowland habitat and is a Chiapas endemic. It does not range into the foothills
where Paval is located. But a wide number of tropical species are found
around Paval. The shots (below) illustrate an active termite nest
(left) that had attracted the attentions of a Bright-rumped Attila
(in silhouette, center). These foothill woods are full of North
American migrants fall through spring. Both species of wood-pewee may occur.
Western is presumably the usual wintering bird but Easterns migrate through
and one was singing in 1986. This wood-pewee (right) in March
2002 was giving prolonged "pweeee" calls but not singing; it remained perplexing,
although showing some characters of Eastern (note, for example, the clean
white undertail coverts).
As Paval is in the hot low foothills, hikers have to find a way to deal with the heat which is often 90 to 100 degrees or more. Among the participants on our 2002 trip were Paul & Ursula Koldovsky, scientists from Germany (but Czech in origin). Paul had recently undergone knee surgery and walked with two canes -- it was truly remarkable that he undertook a 30 mile hike in the mountains! But he did find a way to deal with the really hot final day -- riding one of the horses down to Tres de Mayo. We all thought he looked so natural on a horse, as if "riding the circuit" as a judge in the wild, wild West. I title this shot (below left) "the law west of the Novilleros." [inside joke]. My way with dealing with incipient heat stroke was more direct: simply collapse into the river (below right; shot by Greg Lasley).
More bird photos are on the El Triunfo introduction page and a complete annotated bird list is also on-line.
PHOTOS: The photos are © 2002 Don Roberson, all rights reserved.
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