Birding Villahermosa’s City Parks – 10,000 Birds

Final week I commented that I spent that week educating on the Presbyterian Southeastern Theological Seminary within the Mexican metropolis of Villahermosa. One of many college students there, Eduardo, turned out to be a comparatively new, however avid, birder. On Friday we completed early, and I wasn’t touring residence till Saturday. So Eduardo put aside the afternoon to indicate me a few of the metropolis, and take me birding in two metropolis parks.

A gatekeeper regarded us over as we left the Seminary.

It was a really humid 99ºF (37ºC) within the early afternoon, so we went to town’s glorious (and air-conditioned) archeology museum first. Then, round 4:00 p.m., the temperature was simply barely beginning to drop, so we walked throughout the road to town’s “Gunpowder Park” (Parque La Pólvora).

Being a westerner — raised in California, and now dwelling in western Mexico — I used to be maybe most excited concerning the migratory birds that breed in japanese North America. I do know of just one place to see a wintering American Redstart in Morelia, the place I dwell. However it’s a personal property, to which I don’t have entry. I photographed the primary of solely two Northern Parulas ever reported in my state, method again in 2013. However clearly, I haven’t seen one since then. And the Baltimore Oriole is an iconic japanese chicken, which winters alongside Mexico’s east coast, however by no means within the west. This was solely my fourth encounter with the species (all on the east facet).

Eduardo, nonetheless, was extra enthusiastic about a few western birds that turned up: a male Summer season Tanager, caught between his winter yellow and summer season pink plumage, and an aptly-named feminine Western Tanager. He ought to have visited my residence final month, when each species had been visiting my birdbath virtually each day. (Though, fact be instructed, this species does appear to be a rarity in Tabasco.)

We had been each excited a couple of Lesser Nighthawk Eduardo noticed sleeping immobile on a tree department. It was by far my finest (and longest) view of this species.

Two different birds, each residents, shocked us. As we gazed upwards at these backlit migratory warblers, I observed a Naked-throated Tiger-Heron… nesting! This species is comparatively widespread in tropical Mexico, however I definitely by no means anticipated to see it nesting in an city park. And but, there it was.

After which there was a Inexperienced Heron, not solely exhibiting us its nest, but additionally an egg. It felt unethical to {photograph} a nest from so shut. However what may I do? The heron had determined to position its nest just one meter (a yard) from the walkway of a downtown park! I observed it, froze, took my picture, after which shortly moved away.

After ending our circuit of Parque la Pólvora, we obtained into Eduardo’s automobile and drove a brief distance to the Parque Tomás Garrido. This park is on a a lot bigger physique of water, and the species confirmed it. Just like the earlier park, there have been no geese, coots, or grebes to be seen. However there have been nice numbers of six sorts of herons, with a supporting solid of Neotropical Cormorants and a single Anhinga. I desperately tried to get usable photographs of the terns flying by, suspecting that no less than one was not of the Caspian Tern selection I can simply see close to Morelia. Positive sufficient, a number of photographs revealed the lengthy yellow invoice and darkish uppersides on the first feathers of a Royal Tern. Caspian Terns have a thick pink invoice, with a grayish brow within the winter.

All week lengthy, I had admired the Amazon Kingfisher that may go to the Presbyterian Seminary. However I by no means noticed the Ringed Kingfisher that Eduardo instructed me about. I by no means noticed it, that’s, till Parque Tomás Garrido. There it was, big invoice and stable pink underparts for all of the world to see. It’s, apparently, the biggest New World kingfisher.

A number of featherless creatures helped to make our park visits particular. Parque la Pólvora was crawling, actually, with small and huge, quite prehistoric-looking, iguanas. I preferred their angle.

The reptiles in Parque Tomás Garrido had been of the crocodilian selection. Some had been fairly massive. I’m pleased to say that those proper on the opposite facet of a low wall weren’t so massive.

However this park’s flagship non-birds could possibly be none aside from the Coati, a tropical raccoon relative. These have change into so habituated that we noticed about twenty of them crowding a pair that foolishly fed them a number of Cheetos.

Having mentioned all this, I ought to end by noting that Villahermosa just isn’t a very particular metropolis, in relation to pure habitats. It was particular to me, as a result of I come from a special facet of Mexico. Nonetheless, this form of wildlife expertise is out there in just about any Mexican metropolis. Which is quite liberating, don’t you suppose?

A Golden-fronted Woodpecker, or Velazquez’s Woodpecker, relying in your most well-liked taxonomy.

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