As you can see, Bazzo, er Neill (gotta get him a proper nickname one of these days), Tropical and I have been mucho busy in recent weeks/months, genning up with characteristic professionalism on the birds of Mexico for a full assault on Yucatan and the Chiapas range next year.
Hundreds of new birdies to memorise, maps to pore over, chigger-proof underpants and mosquito bats to master, and Tarantula-whacking techniques to perfect, but it seems to be going surprisingly well so far.
Tropical has been attending Shamen nightschool, and his shape-shifting skills (see pic above) are coming along nicely - he should be able to blur into invisibility long before any Zetas, Zapatistas or anything else nasty beginning with Zed comes along.
Neill has even bought "adventure socks", and on Friday we invented a venomous snake deflector (although we did come up with the idea after a few rounds in the Legless Arms, so it might not work in real life).
Frankly I still think I'll be able to shatter the 100 metres sprint record despite advancing years, when I hear the three magic words "Fer De Lance", so we might not bother taking an inverted golf umbrella on a big stick after all.
However, if there are any grown-up birders out there who have ever done Mexico, and can give us a few tips, stake-outs, up-to-date gen etc, please don't hesitate to use the "comments" box at the end of the entry - all advice gratefully received.
We're using Van Perlo, Howell and Webb and everything else we can get our paws on at present (Corona, Dosequi, Mescal etc) as we try to get as ready as possible.
What could possibly go wrong?
Meanwhile back in Blighty, a quick look at the Marina at Crosby this morning before the dinghy flotilla set sail in the winter calm, yielded 13 Goldeneye, 4 Teal, 3 juvenile Shag (around the mussel booms in the south east corner), 27 Pochard, 1 Red Breasted Merg and 1 Great Crested Grebe, as well as the usual Tufties, Cormorants etc.
No Scaup today - they must be all hiding behind the fence in the Seaforth gulag.
Don't forget to enjoy the Geminid meteor shower tonight - beautiful, like watching your dreams crash and burn.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...