Life in La Cruz – Remembering Allan Wood

Local birdwatchers and our community paid their respects to Allan Wood.
Allan loved his wife, Jo, his family, friends, flying, bird watching and being part of a community. He gave his time and energy to others. Allan was taken from the world too soon. We are mourning him. In an effort to pay my respect, I’m writing about one of his loves, birding.

Founding member Kathleen Dobek told me how the club was formed; “Kathy Hodges and I started birding together regularly. She and I met in 2013 when I was walking in town and I encountered her watching some Yellow-winged Caciques through her binoculars. At that time I didn’t know anyone else who birded; I was a lone birder watching Motmots, Gray Silky-Flycatchers and Golden-cheeked Woodpeckers and I was delighted to find another birder to go walking around town with.

She and I sometimes drove out to the crocodile road to watch birds. Later, Maryjane joined us, then Annie Timmins. We met Julieta Grosh when we were birding near her house at the upper part of Monte Calvario, she grabbed her binoculars and became part of our informal group.

One day, at the top of Monte Calvario birding, Hans Peterman stopped inquiring what we were doing and was immediately interested telling us he used to bird. From then on, he went with us. Hans encouraged me to start a Facebook group for La Cruz birders, which I did in 2014 handing over administration to Hans in 2015 which now has 182 members, most from afar, who like to see the birds we see. Eight to ten local members go out weekly.

Many of us began attending the annual Puerto Vallarta Bird Festival, an excellent event with world-class guides and speakers.  Our group brought us together sharing a common interest with the added benefit of new friendships with others, discovering new places as we ventured further afield.”

Maryjane added “Some of the most striking birds we see in our area are the bright and noisy Great Kiskadees (bright yellow breast, black & white striped heads, brown back; very visible, perched at the top of trees). Flocks of Yellow Winged Caciques are often commented on.

Two other local birds that are common and very noticeable are the very loud and vocal Chachalacas – turkey-sized, russet-colored birds that perch in local trees and the Golden Cheeked Woodpeckers – black and white with a golden yellow and red head; beautiful but noisy and seem to be in every tree. So many more… so many incredible birds to list; learn more at our Facebook page”. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1415443162044547

Kathleen Dobek told me “Allan was a wonderful addition to our La Cruz birding community, when out with our group, he was seriously all about birds. We will all miss him.”

Hans Peterman misses his friend: “Full of fun and laughter Allan was a treasure to be around. His never-ending grin and smile always brightened everyone’s day. His presence on our bird walks will be missed but always remembered. A talented sailplane pilot and instructor, I know he’s now soaring the heavens.”

Maryjane Makepeace shared “Allan was one of the first to join the group via the Facebook page. It was always a joy to bird watch with him as he was soft-spoken, thoughtful and knowledgeable; all good qualities in a birder as the quieter you are the more birds you see. He often drove on our outings, allowing us to go further afield, rather than just walking around town.

Allan always had good insights to offer when there was a discussion on club policies, which occasionally arose as the group grew quickly due to the FB page. With sadness, the birding group is purchasing a Macaw nesting box as a memorial to Allan. It’s not confirmed if it will be placed at the Vallarta Botanical gardens or at the Macaw reserve. Anyone interested in contributing to the fund please contact Maryjane at mjcopperrock[at]aol.com.

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Cindy Bouchard
Cindy Bouchard, an expat Canadian runs a Boutique Hotel, Villa Amor del Mar, in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. She and her husband Chris are living and lovin’ in Vallarta–Nayarit. If you want more info on La Cruz or desire… A very special vacation contact Cindy via cindy@VillaAmordelMar.com