Audubon Hosts Birdwalk at Peña Blanca
By Signe Hammer
This Sunday’s Audubon birdwalk 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.
From Canada to South America, thousands of birders team up between mid-December and early January each year to count all the birds they can find on a single day within a local 15-mile-diameter circle. This massive citizen-science project is helping scientists protect birds and the environment we share with them. On Sunday’s birdwalk, we’ll keep track, not just of what birds we find but of how many of each species we can see.
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 snowbird.
Last year at this site we saw red-shouldered and Cooper’s hawks, a northern harrier, the kite, an American kestrel, five turkey vultures, and a crested caracara.
In addition to the warbler, small snowbirds we saw last year included lark, clay-colored and Lincoln’s sparrows, Ruby-crowned kinglets, and blue-gray gnatcatchers.
Among resident songbirds, we’re almost sure to find some black phoebes foraging for insects along the stream and some colorful blue grosbeaks foraging for seeds in the dry, tall grass. We’re very likely to hear before we see some striking golden-fronted woodpeckers drilling tree trunks or fussing as they hustle 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’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 7:45am, as we will be forming teams to go to all three Christmas Bird Count sites (the other two are our beautiful botanical garden, El Charco del Ingenio, and a richly varied site along the Rio Laja, near the bridge at Cieneguita). We’ll leave as soon after 8am as possible. You’ll 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.
Sun, Dec 16, 7:45am–12:30pm
Meets in front of Instituto Allende
Ancha de San Antonio 20
Signe Hammer, 415 111 7638
Free as part of Christmas Bird Count