Audubon Birdwalk at Peña Blanca

Sunday, March 17, 7:45 am-Noon
Meets in front of Instituto Allende, Ancha de San Antonio 20
Members free, non-members 200 pesos or US $10
Signe Hammer, 044-415-111-7638

Audubon Birdwalk at Peña Blanca

By Signe Hammer

On the March Audubon birdwalk we'll head to Peña Blanca, a few miles past the Presa Allende, with Luke Rich, Bob Graham, Norman Besman and Signe Hammer. Open farmland and a tree-lined stream provide habitat for a rich variety of birds. Spring migration has started, with many species on the move. Last year we welcomed our returning Barn and Northern Rough-winged Swallows as they swooped over field and stream. We found Indigo and Lazuli Buntings stopping on their way north, and were also treated to a year-around but uncommon Varied Bunting.

We're likely to find lingering winter visitors large and small, too. Wintering raptors we saw last year included a Red-shouldered Hawk and American Kestrel. Among the smaller snowbirds we found were Brewer's, Clay-colored, Lark and Lincoln's Sparrows and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. Along the stream we saw a lingering Belted Kingfisher as well as our local Green Kingfisher.

In the stream, we could find such wintering ducks as Northern Shoveler and Blue-winged or Green-winged Teal. Along it we're sure to see a resident Black Phoebe, and might also find one of our long-legged resident waders, a Snowy or Great Egret.

We'll also look for such colorful resident songbirds as Blue Grosbeak, Bullock's Oriole and Northern Cardinal. Last year, we saw a couple of prized flycatchers—a tiny Gray Flycatcher and a Say's Phoebe—as well as our more common but brilliantly colored Great Kiskadee and Vermilion Flycatcher. Year-around raptors we found last year included a Crested Caracara and Turkey Vulture. A Common Raven flew over, too.

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.

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