Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco, Mexico, July 2013

Here we are almost at the end of July and not a single post for the month yet. That’s what happens when birthdays, The Ashes and a new series of Breaking Bad coincide to take me away from the blog. Just as I think I may have a spare morning, I have to nurse Mrs Gannet through a hangover in celebration of the new Royal baby (“it’s a boy”, she tells me through tears laced with Chablis). I have lagged three trips behind and must be brief to catch up before another prince is born.


A visit to Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco allows a chap to have a relative lie-in as it does not open until 09.00. This morning I arrived at 09.15 and found the gates still firmly shut. After calling to a guard, he let me in and a sleepy gate attendant appeared and slouched across the forecourt to relieve me of 25 Pesos (@20 Pesos = £1). The visitor centre staff was more alert and quickly presented me with my complimentary camera permit which needs to be displayed in the park and returned before leaving.


I began by exploring the lake behind the visitors centre; Lago Acitlalin. A Great Egret hunted around the edges, Mexican Mallard floated in the middle and a few Ruddy Duck made a small raft on the far side.


Bridges cross little bays, but are beginning to show signs of age. From the first bridge, I saw a Green Heron on the bent over reeds, carefully watching for small fish.


The second bridge provided a nice perch for a Great Egret with a Pied-billed Grebe close in.


Lesser Goldfinches were common and obvious throughout the reserve, matched in numbers only by the House Finch and the Great-tailed Grackles.


A few Bronzed Cowbirds were seen and this one was startling with his red eyes and his hackles raised to greet a female flying in.


I made a quick circuit of the lake and noted many of the common species such as the Vermillion Flycatcher, Canyon Towhee and Song Sparrow, then headed up the path that runs along the bank of the larger lake (Google Earth ref; 19 17 45.82N 99 5 40.79W).


A Broad-billed Hummingbird chased around the blossoms of the trail-side shrubs before settling and allowing me a shot.


The large lake is known as Lago Huetzalin and many herons and egrets are usually seen here. Today, some White-faced Ibis and a Tricolored Heron added to their numbers.


A Great Egret had caught and was struggling with a large fish as a Black-crowned Night Heron looked on. I got the feeling that the night heron was aggrieved by the egret and wondered if it had been dispossessed of the fish. Once the egret managed to get the fish down its throat, the night heron returned to the spot to see if anything was left, but was disappointed. The egret looked full and smug.


Common Yellowthroats were seen around the marshy areas, a pair of Blue Grosbeaks passed quickly through and Curve-billed Thrashers were seen patrolling the edges of open spaces. 


I returned to the visitor’s centre via Lake Acitlalin and noted a few flycatchers on the way. A Sociable Flycatcher may be slightly beyond its normal range and may provoke the local eBird arbiter to shoot off an email, but the Tropical Kingbird and the Cassin’s Kingbird shouldn’t trouble him. A small concession sells cool drinks and spicy snacks. I stopped for a moment on the veranda to take a drink just in time to see a Broad-billed Hummingbird alighting on the showy plants (irises?) there.

Birds seen; 40

Mexican Mallard 8, Ruddy Duck 8, Pied-billed Grebe 5, Neotropic Cormorant 1, American White Pelica
n 3, Great Blue Heron 1, Great Egret 30, Snowy Egret 8, Tricolored Heron 1, Green Heron 5, Black-crowned Night Heron 6, White-faced Ibis 6, Common Gallinule 12, American Coot 40, Black-necked Stilt 15, American Avocet 8, Mourning Dove 2, Inca Dove 2, Monk Parakeet 2, Broad-billed Hummingbird 4, Beryline Hummingbird 5, Vermillion Flycatcher 10, Social Flycatcher 1, Tropical Kingbird 2, Cassin’s Kingbird 2, Barn Swallow 30, Bush Tit 2, Bewick’s Wren 7, House Wren 1, Curve-billed Thrasher 4, Common Yellowthroat 3, Canyon Sparrow 8, Song Sparrow 20, Blue-grosbeak 2, Red-winged Blackbird 10, Great-tailed Grackle 60, Bronzed Cowbird 6, House Finch 50, Lesser Goldfinch 50, House Sparrow 15.

Visit the dedicated South and Central America Page for more posts from Mexico including; Desierto de Los Leones and El Jardim Botanico.