By Claudia Guzmán and Mirna Borrego
On November 8 and 9, 2019, we once again welcomed more than 25,000 traveling birds that annually visit San Quintin Bay on their journey along the Pacific Flyway.
San Quintin’s natural features provide shelter and food to thousands of birds, it is a unique place in Baja California with wetlands, sandy beaches, marshes and extinct volcanoes.
On this edition of the festival, we carried out four low environmental impact recreational activities:
- Together with Los Volcanes Tourist Services, it was possible for more than 40 people to enjoy a free birdwatching boat tour around the bay where they observed aquatic, migratory and resident bird species. Participants were accompanied by a group of seven volunteer guides who helped to identify birds.
- The botanical exploration hike was an activity guided by Sula Vanderplank, PhD. Surrounded by a unique ecosystem, attendees were able to appreciate and learn about the transition between marshes, dunes and volcanic soil.
- At the same time, the birdwatching tour brought together a very interesting group, as visitors from Alaska who followed the migration arrived in the bay in search of resident species that they had never seen.
- The last group of attendees embarked on an introspection session in nature by Paula Pijoan. Through all five senses, visitors took the time to see the natural elements and disconnect from urban life to enjoy a state of absolute connection.
We inaugurated the collective exhibition “Journey: a look at the natural world of San Quintin” with more than 70 artworks that captured the essence of the bay’s surroundings. For that purpose, this year we called on artists and art enthusiasts; however, our challenge was to find them, because we know that it is inevitable to create art before the inspiration of the majestic landscapes of the bay. We knew there were painters, photographers, hidden artists and works worth admiring.
Casa de la Cultura of San Quintin responded to the invitation, presenting 13 oil paintings of landscapes inspired by deserts, dunes, scrub, wetlands, volcanoes, road landscapes and sunsets that fall over the bay. In addition, and to our surprise, new friends joined, Espacio de Arte Celeste surprised us with a sample of more than 35 bird paintings, made by local artists. All of these artworks reached the hearts of the audience.
Photography was present as a powerful tool for conservation, through an exhibition of the Huellas Volcanicas Photography Club, a documentary video about their training, and photographs of Mark Lee, a local photographer of San Quintin.
Embroidery and weaving were the protagonists in the exhibition of the project Birds by Hand, for which Dotty Widmann, creator of the project, and Laura Slayton traveled from For four hours, attendees were able to learn about the characteristics of the habitat and how to protect it through the different educational modules on the environmental value of the San Quintin Bay, 7 Principles of Leave No Trace and birdwatching. Also, Los Volcanes Tourist Services participated with a module to talk about the hunting services they provide for the sustainable use of the black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans). And the module of Contacto Salvaje could not be left out, they surprised us with the release of a red-tailed hawk that had been rescued and rehabilitated.
As the festival program progressed, six teams that were particiAlaska with 350 handwoven birds. They worked for days to share with the community a token of love and talent for bird migration; in addition, thanks to the support of Nu Haus, pieces made by women from Baja California were included in this project.
La Chorera was decorated with white tents; children and young people were dressed like birds and animals to start the great celebration that reminds us that we are part of the Pacific migratory route.
pating in the birdwatching marathon in the beginners category could be seen on the beach. This year we had local and foreign participants. The winning team observed 26 bird species and broke the record of 19 species from previous years.
The cultural program of the day included dance presentations from the students of Casa de la Cultura led by the teacher Marisela López. Thus, we were also fortunate to have the heart touching performance of singer Raúl Zerega who enlivened the festival with the famous song “Canto a San Quintín”.
During the festival we took a moment to recognize and thank Don Álvaro, a community member, for his support throughout the years. Since the first edition of the festival in 2015, he has provided the venue to host the San Quintin Bird Festival. We also recognized the community committee, which was responsible for giving flavor to the festival with a gastronomic offer.
At sunset, and with the Punta Mazo Nature Reserve as a backdrop, the children from the community sang “I have a dream, I hope it will come true”. With this message we said goodbye to the festival activities.
A renovating break
We know that making the festival possible requires a great effort, that is why we have decided that it will be held every two years, this will allow us to have more time to guarantee a high quality event.
We continue with the solid commitment to work for the conservation of natural areas and to promote their sustainable use together with our allies and local communities.See you in 2021!