In plain sight

There are two important pieces of advice in today’s post:

  1. Always take your camera with you.
  2. Save room for pie.

El Tuito, Mexico is a typical small Mexican town with a main square at the center and the Catholic church’s tower visible for everyone to see. The perimeter of that square is lined with shops and restaurants and there’s also a bank with a guard standing by the ATM. One shop is geared for tourists, selling Mexican souvenirs, but most of the others are simply just shops that have essentials for the locals–pink sweat pants for tween girls, a tricycle, plastic toy cars and cleaning supplies.


My main focus for going into town at El Tuito was always centered around food. Either to get provisions from the local mercado to get fresh fruit for the bird feeders outside our rented cottage at Rancho Primavera, or to have lunch at our favorite restaurant. We parked our car right next to the main square and as I was getting out I asked Steve, “Do you think I should take the camera in with me?” We both looked over at the officer standing next to the ATM and said in unison, “Yeah.” I figured if the ATM needed to be guarded it was probably a good idea not to leave valuables in the car.

El Tuito is very safe. Please don’t think it’s not just because there’s a guard standing at the ATM. In fact, I often think we need guards at ATMs here in the US. That kind of security is a comfort. But still, it’s not wise to leave a camera with a big lens in your vehicle as a temptation for anyone. The guard was simply a reminder of that.


So, I hauled the camera with its big lens into our favorite restaurant, El Patio de Mario.

And then we plopped ourselves down at a table and ordered the guacamole.

Guacamole El Tuito Mexico

Truly the best guacamole I’ve ever had.


El Patio de Mario

El Patio de Mario, our favorite restaurant in El Tuito, Mexico

We’re eating in the courtyard of the restaurant, and I’m enjoying the guacamole (shoving it in my mouth as fast as I can) and then I see a dove perched on top of the stone wall.

Trying to impress Steve with my I.D. skills I point and say, “Hey, look. An Inca Dove.”

Steve puts his binoculars up to his eyes.

“Um, no. That’s not an Inca Dove. It would have a scaly breast.”

Damn. Got it wrong.

I was clicking away, taking snaps of the dove while Steve put his binoculars down to squint at the dove through his eyeglasses then he lifted up his binoculars again to his eyes.

Snap, snap, snap, I continued.

“That’s a, why, it’s a Plain-breasted Ground Dove. I’m sure of it,” he said with surprise in his voice. “It’s not common here. He’s about 150 miles north from his normal range.”

Plain-breasted Ground Dove El Tuito Mexico

Plain-breasted Ground Dove

Plain-breasted Ground Dove

The plain breast of the Plain-breasted Ground Dove.

My initial I.D. fail notwithstanding, I was pretty thrilled about this find. The dove gave us plenty of views–the front, sides, back then he flew down and then the server brought out our main dishes, so we focused on our chicken and molé. (If you’ve never had molé I am truly sorry for that. The whole idea of mixing chocolate with spices into a sauce poured over chicken should qualify someone for sainthood.)

After successfully filling our stomachs with chicken and molé the dove reappeared on the wall repeating his poses. We’re not sure if he’s new to El Tuito or just if no one noticed him before. But I learned my lesson–always take the camera and binoculars wherever you go.

With more snaps of the dove I was convinced that I had enough for a post to put on eBird that evening. Certainly, people will want proof of this dove.

But first, there was coconut pie to take care of.

Coconut pie El Tuito Mexico

One of the densest coconut pies I’d ever had.