Audubon Bird Walk at Peña Blanca

By Signe Hammer

Photos by Bob Graham

This Sunday’s Audubon bird walk is a special one. Peña Blanca, a few miles past the Presa Allende dam, is one of Audubon de México’s three Christmas Bird Count sites, and Sunday is our count day.

Walk
Audubon Bird Walk
Sun, Dec 17, 7:45am–12pm
Meets in front of Instituto Allende, Ancha de San Antonio 20
Free as part of Christmas Bird Count

From Canada to South America, every year thousands of birders team up to count all the birds they can find within a local 15-mile-diameter circle on a single day between mid-December and early January. This massive citizen-science project is helping scientists protect birds and the environment we share with them. So, on Sunday’s bird walk, we will keep track of how many, as well as what types, of birds we find.

At Peña Blanca, open farmland and a tree-lined stream provide habitat for a wide range of raptors and songbirds, from the soaring White-tailed Kite, one of our resident raptor species, to the tiny Yellow-rumped Warbler, one of our many species of snowbirds.

On past walks, we have seen a wide variety of other raptors at this site, including Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, Cooper’s, and Sharp-shinned Hawks, American Kestrels, Peregrine Falcons, Turkey and Black Vultures, and Crested Caracaras.

Other small snowbirds we might see include Lark and Clay-colored Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and, on the ground by the stream, an American Pipit.

Among resident songbirds, we are almost sure to find a Black Phoebe searching for insects along the stream, and a colorful Blue Grosbeak foraging for seeds in the dry, tall grass. We are very likely to hear, before we see, a striking Golden-fronted Woodpecker drilling a tree trunk or fussing as it hustles up a branch.

The walk is open to all birders, beginning and experienced alike. Wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes and bring water and a hat. We will have our revised 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 and we will 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 7:45am, as we leave promptly at 8:00am. You will be back by 12:30pm, with new entries for your life list and new birding friends. Steady rain cancels.

For more information, visit our website at audubonmex.org.

 

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