Audubon Birdwalk: River, Trees, Fields and Ruins

Sunday, October 21 7:45 am-Noon
Meets in front of Instituto Allende, Ancha de San Antonio 20
Members free, non-members 200 pesos or US $10
Michael Burns, 152-1141

Audubon Birdwalk: River, Trees, Fields and Ruins

By Signe Hammer

Come join Audubon's monthly birdwalk on Sunday the 21st, the day after tomorrow. With leaders Michael Burns and Norman Besman, we'll bird along the Rio Laja, near Cieniguita and the bridge to Guanajuato. In addition to the trail along the tree-lined river, the varied habitat includes open farmland with big trees, and lots of sky for raptors.

By October, our winter visitors have begun to arrive. Last year at this time, we found a Greater Yellowlegs—a medium-sized wader—and a smaller Spotted Sandpiper foraging along the river. Two tiny snowbirds, a black-capped Wilson's Warbler and a long-tailed Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, were darting about in the foliage. Lark and Clay-colored Sparrows had also arrived, while an American Kestrel, our smallest falcon, was patrolling for suitably-sized rodents.

In addition, last year we saw a number of large resident waders, including a Roseate Spoonbill, a rarity at this site; a White-faced Ibis; and both Great and Snowy Egrets. A stately Great Blue Heron favored us with a flyover, as did a Black-crowned Night Heron. This year, if the water continues high, we might also find waterfowl: resident Mexican Ducks—a variety of Mallard without the green head—or American Coots, or wintering Northern Shovelers.

Among resident songbirds, we're likely to see our strikingly colored Great Kiskadee, Blue Grosbeak, Vermilion Flycatcher, Bullock's Oriole or Loggerhead Shrike

We'll keep an eye on the sky, too. Last year we spied a soaring White-tailed Kite; this year we could also see a Common Raven or Crested Caracara or any of a variety of hawks: Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, Coopers or Sharp-shinned, as well as Osprey and Northern Harrier.

We usually walk to the ruins of a colonial-era bridge, once part of the Camino Real (Royal Road) over which silver was taken from mines to shipping points.

The walk is open to all birders, beginning and experienced alike. Wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes and bring water and a hat. We'll have our Audubon de México bird guide, Birds of San Miguel—with 81 species commonly found in the San Miguel area—for sale. Our guides carry telescopes so that everyone can see distant birds clearly, and we'll also have a few pairs of binoculars to lend.

Carpooling is essential, so if you have a car, please bring it. Plan to arrive at 7:45, as we leave promptly at 8. You'll be back about noon, with new entries for your life list and new birding friends. Steady rain cancels.

For more information, visit our website at: http://www.audubonmex.org.

xxx

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