After a five hour bus ride from Villahermosa to Ocosingo, we took a small van and then road in the back of a truck for three more hours up to a Chol Mayan town of Tila in the Chiapas Highlands. Chol is a sister language to Chontal and Ch'orti', which we have worked with before, so we wanted to get bird names and traditional bird stories from this area as well.
We didn't have any contacts in the area, so we started by approaching people in the street and playing bird songs on my iPod and showing them pictures from field guides. At one point we had over 30 Chol speakers gathered around giving us names and info. Luis, a local forest biologist, saw the commotion and came over. Once he figured out what we were up to he was excited and invited us up to that afternoon to the small communities where he works.
We ended up hiking and birding near a little place called Kokija'. Birding highlights included Slate-colored Solitaire, Crimson-collared Tanager, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Striped Cuckoo, Yellow-bellied Eleania, and Red-lored Parrot. We spent two days in the area and got dozens of great stories and Chol bird names.