Monday, 25 July 2011

On the trail of Aztecs ...

The pyramid of the sun at Teotihuacan - you can just about make out the 'ant people' marching to the top and back.
About 50 km north-east of the sprawling mass of Mexico City, two huge structures rise out of the landscape towards the sky. These are the pyramids of the sun and the moon, the most impressive remnants of the one-time Aztec metropolis at Teotihuacan. The site dates back the better part of two centuries, and the visitor cannot fail to be taken aback by the scale and geometry of the remaining structures. It's possible to walk to the top of the sun pyramid, but we decided to forego the round trip of almost 500 very steep steps for a more leisurely look around at ground level.

Up close, the structures are even more impressive - this is the moon pyramid.
Abandoned as long ago as the 7th century AD, the site has long since returned to scrub and grassland, and birds are among the most obvious residents now. Inca Doves and Canyon Towhees foraged everywhere while House Finches sang from crumbling monuments and Vermillion Flycatchers sallied from fence lines. I wandered off piste briefly and ran into a noisy party of Curve-billed Thrashers, with other species around the site including Bewick's Wren, Rufous-backed Thrush, Black-chinned and Song Sparrows, Bronzed Cowbird and Bullock's Oriole. It was a welcome first taste of birding in this part of Mexico, ahead of tomorrow's big day out.

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