Audubon Bird Walk to Take Birders Across the Rio Laja
By Signe Hammer
San Miguel’s bird walk and conservation organization, Audubon de México, leads a bird walk on the third Sunday of every month at one of four different sites within an easy drive from Centro. On this coming week’s walk, leaders Luke Rich, Norman Besman, Michael Burns, and Signe Hammer will take participants over the bridge crossing the Rio Laja at Montecillo de Nieto, just past the back road into Atontonilco.
Birding will start at the bridge. Participants will then walk down along the riverbank. Last year at this site, birders were treated to some rare sightings, including an indigo bunting, a white-crowned sparrow, and a tricolored heron.
In addition to the heron, other birds that like a watery habitat included our resident green kingfisher, a neotropic cormorant, a white-faced ibis, and all three species of resident egret: the great, the snowy, and the cattle (the last found as often in the fields as it is found near water).
San Miguel hosts a large variety of visiting songbirds every winter. Last year, Audubon’s birders saw four other species of wintering sparrow, including the lark variety, the clay-colored, the chipping, and the Brewer. Other small snowbirds included a ruby-crowned kinglet, a blue-gray gnatcatcher, and both Wilson’s and yellow-rumped (western, Audubon’s) warblers.
Wintering raptors included a sharp-shinned hawk and an American kestrel, our smallest falcon. In addition, there were great views to be had of a resident crested caracara beating along the horizon and a turkey vulture tilting overhead. There were also many beautiful resident songbirds last year, including both blue and black-headed grosbeaks, a Mexican jay, and a lovely Say’s phoebe with its peachy belly. Among the area’s tiniest residents observed were a flock of bushtits and a yellow-faced verdin.
The walk is open to all birders, beginning and experienced alike. Audubon advises participants to wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes and to bring water and a hat. Leaders will have copies for sale of the Audubon de México bird guide, Birds of San Miguel, which contains information on 81 species commonly found in the San Miguel area. Audubon guides carry telescopes so that everyone can see distant birds clearly, and will have a few pairs of binoculars on hand to lend.
Carpooling is essential to a successful bird walk, so any participant with a car is asked to bring it. Plan to arrive at 7:45, as the group leaves promptly at 8am. Audubon promises you’ll be back by noon with new entries for your life list and new birding friends. For more information, visit Audubon de México’s website at audubonmex.org.
Audubon bird walk
Sun, Jan 20, 7:45am–noon
Meets in front of Instituto Allende
Ancha de San Antonio 20
Signe Hammer: 044 415 111 7638
Nonmembers 200 pesos or US$10