Monterrey Conferences – 10,000 Birds

Work brings me repeatedly to Monterrey in Nuevo Leon, northern Mexico. Monterrey is an enormous industrial metropolis, with industrious individuals. It’s a particular metropolis as a result of the encircling Parque Nacional Cumbres de Monterrey redeems the town’s many environmental sins. Town correct is butt ugly, however if you’re like me or MC Hammer, that doesn’t matter. And in the event you like birding, it’s an excellent place to spend time earlier than or after conferences and discover. I all the time pack binoculars.

Late autumn 2022, I made a decision flying in a day early to do some weekend birding. I used to be joined by my colleague Mauricio, his spouse Melba, and my pal David. It was David’s first time birding. Mauricio and Melba picked me up and if it weren’t for the Coyote we noticed on the way in which it could have taken us 5 minutes to achieve Chipinque Parque Ecologico. Now it took 6. It’s actually wonderful how shortly you permit the town behind and attain the oak-pine forests on the hills/mountains of the Cumbres NP. We have been contained in the park earlier than daybreak. A Mexican Whip-poor-will welcomed us on our hike up.

The run rose in a wonderful spectacle of colors due to Monterrey’s air air pollution. Now it was a bit lighter, diurnal birds grew to become vocal. I phished a troupe of Inexperienced Jays and amazingly they began giving me lip, calling me all kinds in jayeese. Impolite! The following dialog bought me nicknamed “Snow White” by my younger associates. I’d most well-liked Dr Dolittle, however millenials don’t know that film. We additionally noticed Brown Jay and Mexican Jay they usually have been extra well mannered. Acorn Woodpecker and Black-crested Titmouse have been plentiful and confiding. David discovered three issues that day. By no means use one other man’s binoculars, very doubtless they have been wrapped in underwear. That lesson got here too late. Additionally, shouting out “look on that department” isn’t useful in a forest and he did quite a lot of that. However most significantly, Chipinque is a pure treasure value exhibiting to your children.

For my subsequent go to within the following summer season, we determined to prepare an organization birding journey to La Estanzuela – one other treasure spot within the Cumbres. Amazingly, everybody confirmed up at daybreak aside from one particular person, who’d had a near-death expertise with me on Colombia’s Sumapaz paramo, a suitable excuse for a no-show. Kingfisher Birdwatching Nuevo León would supply our guides (and the hen images for this put up – gracias!).  We met Marilyn and Leonardo at a non-descript fast-food joint’s parking zone and inside 10 minutes we have been in Parque Nacional La Estanzuela. La Estanzuela apparently is finest prevented within the weekends as a result of the place was teeming with Spandex-clad individuals pouting their lips, taking selfies and speaking loudly. Happily, Leonardo has wonderful listening to. Legend has it he can hear birds as far-off as Guatemala. That day, he restricted himself to exhibiting us Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Golden-olive Woodpecker, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Rose-throated Becard, Gray-collared Becard, Spot-breasted Wren, Olive Sparrow, Hepatic Tanager, Blue Bunting and Stripe-crowned Warbler. We heard Elegant Trogon and Thicket Tinamou, however for these birds the mix of gaudy clothes, duckfaces and noise was simply an excessive amount of to beat. A weekday could be higher for timid birds.

Whereas my colleagues made quite a lot of enjoyable of my garments (I used to be cruelly in comparison with the boy scout from the film Up!) the tick repellent in them labored. Then again, colleague Kathia developed an intimate relationship with a tick (feeding on her “beautiful blood” – her phrases) and a health care provider’s go to was required. And all she did was sit down on a bench to textual content a pal how nice birding is… So beware. 

Going birding with newbies is enjoyable and it is very important unfold the conservation message, however there’s solely a lot a hardcore birder can stand. So, I employed Kingfisher Birdwatching Nuevo León for a visit by myself after I’d come again from my travels to Colorado. Marilyn and Leonardo picked me up at 4:30 hrs and we drove to our first cease: Pastizales de Santiago. Arriving whereas it was nonetheless darkish allowed us to catch an endemic Tawny-collared Nightjar in motion. Gentle broke and after Sofa’s Kingbird I noticed my 2000th lifer: Crimson-collared Grosbeak. An excellent celebratory hen. The male is gorgeous (duh) however the feminine could be very hanging too, yellow as an alternative of pink. We additionally scored with Blue Grosbeak, Yellow-faced Grassquit, Golden-fronted Woodpecker and Ladder-backed Woodpecker. The day was solely minutes outdated and we already had 32 species on the day listing. This was going to be epic.

On the way in which up into Cumbres we stopped at a flowering agave close to Laguna de Sánchez. Agaves bloom as soon as of their life after which die. The plant builds up a sugar reserve to supply the large flower. This sugar is what Mexicans craftily flip into tequila. Mexicans drink tequila from glasses however I’ve been advised you may drink from somebody’s navel too. Allegedly. And in addition to, we have been youthful then. Our agave flower stalk had three species of hummingbird consuming nectar, dive-bombing and stabbing one another: Blue-throated Mountain-gem, Lucifer Hummingbird and Broad-tailed Hummingbird. It was wonderful. That plant wouldn’t die in useless.

We lastly reached Mesa de Oso, the desk (mountain) of the bear. Our fundamental aim right here was the Maroon-fronted Parrot. These parrots breed inside cavities in cliffs and they’re very specific concerning the cliff. It should face the solar on the proper time of day, the fabric must be good for excavating however not too delicate to keep away from collapsing tunnels, it must be steep, and the listing goes on and on. Location, location, location. We now know what actual property brokers reincarnate into of their subsequent life… however in contrast to realtors, these parrots are uncommon, Nuevo Leon endemics and in want of conservation help. Marilyn is all the time enthusiastic about any hen she sees (a really charming attribute), however with the parrots she went in overdrive. I can’t fault her for that – simply have a look at them!

There have been quite a lot of different birds within the pine-oak forest. A number of of my purchasers sponsor a venture proper close to the parrot cliff. The venture’s targets are water-related however White-eyed Vireo, Lengthy-billed Thrasher, Brown-backed Solitaire, Crescent-chested Warbler, Rufous-capped Brushfinch, Audubon’s Oriole, Painted Redstart, Flame-colored Tanager and White-breasted Nuthatch don’t care and profit from the conservation effort.

On the way in which right down to the town, the various stops and activates the curvy highway bought the higher of me and we needed to cease on the picnic spot Plaza Las Hadas in Santiago. A judgmental Nice Kiskadee watched a veteran of Southern Ocean pelagics emptying his abdomen in a wastebin… As soon as recovered we did a walk-around and met Plain Chachalaca with younger. I felt higher after that.

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