Birds of the La Paz Malecon
Every year, there is a phenomenon that occurs here in La Paz, as well as many major cities across the planet. Carnival just before Lent. Now, I am not going to go into the religious complications of this “event” but to say it can certainly turn a peaceful city into 7-10 days of 24/7 noise, music and craziness. While La Paz, is not really what I would call a tourist destination, but being a waterfront city in Mexico does allow for a certain amount of touristic activities. So, when Carnival season gets here, the entire waterfront becomes a glut of food booths, silly carnival games, nightly Mardi Gras style parades, and nearly two miles of vendors hawking a large variety of wares for sale. Now, at this point you are probably asking your self, what does this have to do with birds. All along this this same waterfront is a variety of terrain that attracts and supports a substantial number of birds. Given the proximity to the Malecon, or large sidewalk, that follows the water, these birds tend to be quite a bit more accustomed to the walkers, joggers, and bike riders than your average urban birds. This familiarity was really going to be put to a test with the huge increase in activity for these notorious ten days. This human spectacle came to an end on Sunday, when it is declared Dias De Los Ninos ( The day of the children), and would not be complete with out their own parade! I made the conscious choice to join my wife, as she was doing a feature story on the children’s parade. I really had little or no expectations of what I might find in the way of birds. To say the least, I was quite surprised. If anything, there were actually more birds than I had seen in my last couple of visits.
Many of the birds now have mostly completed moving into their breeding plumage, the Laughing Gulls, Herrmann’s Gulls, and both Elegant and Royal Terns were all looking exceptionally nice. We also had Ring-billed Gulls, California Gulls, Western Gulls, and our most common, the Yellow-footed Gull.
The Snowy Egrets put on quite a show, as they shuffled their feet along the bottom, looking to disturb the little crabs and shrimp that were on the breakfast menu.
Yes, there is a little crab in there somewhere
There it is!
What I refer to as our “Big Three” in the shorebird category, the Willet, The Whimbrel and the Marbled Godwit all made an appearance.
A waterfront staple year round, our Spotted Sandpipers have not gotten their spots quite yet.
A first time visitor to the city front area is the Black-necked Stilt. These beautiful little waders are somewhat common north of town in the tidal flats and waste treatment ponds, but this is a first time in the six years I have been here that one came downtown!
The Reddish Egret is what I would consider a lock to see, as they are pretty much here everyday.
This pair of Tri-colored Herons actually ended up so close I had to change lens to get the entire bird in the frame.
Another pretty common resident is the White Ibis. I still love watching them root around for a meal.
It has become pretty obvious, that no matter what is going on, the Birds Of The Malecon rarely ever disappoint.