This was not a nature trip, so I have few photos of wild critters to share. We did see a lot of fish (no underwater photos, though), and we did visit a lot of tourist shopping areas (nothing to photograph there either). However, it was delightful to be warm without wearing three layers of clothing and the humidity felt great — for once.
Cozumel Island off the east coast of Mexico is way too popular with the tourist crowd, but our bus tour to a small Maya village took us past the rugged but scenic eastern coastline. Hurricane Wilma did significant damage to the vegetation on the island in 2005, and there are few big trees on this mostly desert island.
The wildlife highlights of this island adventure were the Black Spiny-tailed Iguanas which seemed to be everywhere.
Spiny-tailed Iguanas (Ctenosaura similis) are native to Mexico and Central America and have been introduced to Florida. Their range overlaps with the Green Iguana, and they are about the same size, but are not that closely related (different genus). Both species are popular in the pet trade and as potential menu items (…tastes just like chicken).
The other commonly seen critter at the Maya Village was the Tropical Mockingbird (Mimus gilvus), a paler and quieter version of its northern mockingbird cousin (Mimus polyglottus).