Well-known Flamingos – 10,000 Birds

Again in 2016 one very surprising chook appeared within the Mexican highlands: an American Flamingo. It took up residence for a part of annually within the Parque Metropolitano of town of León, Guanajuato, to the northeast of Guadalajara and nicely northwest of Mexico Metropolis. That is an city web site with a very good variety of birders, so it is rather seemingly that every time it was not reported there for a couple of months, it was as a result of they it had moved elsewhere.

In 2019, this lone American Flamingo discovered a good friend: a Chilean Flamingo. Ever since then, the 2 birds would present up through the winter months within the Metropolitan Park, all the time collectively. However they haven’t been seen there since Might of 2023. And the place they go in the summertime months, no one is aware of.

American Flamingos do happen naturally in Mexico, however solely on the Yucatán peninsula within the nation’s excessive southwest. And Chilean Flamingos must be discovered, nicely, in Chile, in addition to a lot of southwestern South America. So each birds are assumed by many to be escapees from a zoo or a non-public assortment someplace. And but, they appear to have executed fairly nicely of their unnatural residence. (The identical may be stated for an American Flamingo and (Eurasian) Nice Flamingo pair which have lived for a few years within the remnant Texcoco marshes close to Mexico Metropolis’s airport.)

(I must also point out that the male American Flamingo and feminine Chilean Flamingo have been briefly joined by an equally inconceivable male Chilean Flamingo within the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021, however the male has not appeared since then. Life is unusual.)

I’ve been listening to about Leon’s well-known flamingos for years, now. However I had by no means seen them, as I’ve not had the chance to journey to that metropolis in recent times. (Even with just lately improved freeways, it’s nonetheless a two and a half hour journey from my residence in Morelia.)

However this previous Monday, March twenty fifth, I took my three biologist birding buddies as much as what at present stays of Lake Cuitzeo, to indicate them a spot the place our micro-endemic Black-polled Yellowthroat has discovered refuge as a lot of the lake and its reedbeds have dried up in our present drought. The Yellowthroats are astonishingly plentiful there nonetheless; at one level, my good friend Nacho held out a finger jokingly to recommend that one notably daring particular person would possibly wish to perch there.

And right here he’s.

Jonathan was very interested by seeing extra shorebirds, and I knew simply the close by spot. We headed there after getting our fill of Yellowthroats, each Frequent and Black-polled. I’ve seen that my biologist pals are rather more conscientious about counting birds current, but additionally give you a lot bigger numbers than I do. This time, they counted 3,000 Northern Shovelers, 1,000 Inexperienced-winged Teals, 2,800 American Avocets, 2,150 Stilt Sandpipers, 820 Lengthy-billed Dowitchers, 1,000 Least Sandpipers, 500 Western Sandpipers, and 150 American White Pelicans, together with lesser numbers for 30 different species. (After birding and passing by way of numerous habitats, our whole for the day was 109 species.)

So there we have been, taking on this spectacle, when all of the sudden birding buddy #3 known as out “Flamingos! Flamingos!” Since Jorge is from Cuba, the place these birds are comparatively widespread, all of us believed him. (The truth that he’s an ornithologist gave him further road cred.) All of us turned to the west, and there they have been, maybe a half kilometer (1/3 mile) away. As they flew, a big group of Avocets took flight round them.


The closeup above is simply adequate to indicate the invoice sample of a Chilean Flamingo on the decrease chook, and the invoice sample with much less black, of an American Flamingo. These two birds are virtually actually the identical Flamingos as have been seen for years in León. Our contacts in that metropolis confirmed thie principle, and have been very glad certainly to listen to that their birds are alive and nicely.

In fact, when a bunch sees 109 species, there are a lot of highlights for the day. This time, there was the White-throated Flycatcher, the rarest of our resident Empidonax Flycatchers. (In case you don’t find out about this devilish group, think about your self lucky.)

Additionally Verdins, which eBird nonetheless doesn’t settle for as a resident throughout the borders of Michoacán. Now I’ve two extra witnesses backing me up.

Marsh Wrens inevitably accompany Frequent and Black-polled Yellowthroats.

And right here’s a kind of Frequent Yellowthroats, which inevitable accompany these Marsh Wrens. Just like the Black-polled Yellowthroats, these two species have been diminished to such a small a part of the lake which you can virtually attain out and contact them.

The cherry on my private birding cake, together with these Flamingos, was a Virginia Rail, which was a brand new Michoacán species for me. I did see it, I actually did, however solely Ignacio Torres achieved photographs. So this stunning shot is his:

Lastly, on this outing I noticed my first European Starlings for central Mexico. They might be stunning birds, however that is one “Michoa-lifer” about which I’ve decidedly blended emotions.

Word: the photograph on the prime of this submit can be not mine; it’s by Mauricio Mena and was taken at a a lot nearer distance, of the identical two birds, within the metropolis of León.

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