By Jonathan Vargas / Bird Conservation Projects Associate
This article was translated by Gaël Courtin
For the second edition, the Birdwatching Marathon of San Quintín was a real success, it was held during the 4th San Quintín Bay Bird Festival. Like the year before, the marathon was a great success, all the participants had a lot of fun watching and registering the highest number of birds species a limited period of time for the two categories: beginners and advanced.
Apart from registering the largest quantity of bird’s species possible, one other goal is to collect more information about the birds present in the area and to highlight the importance for birdwatching in the San Quintín Bay.
A few interesting species were registered, among them: California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica), California thrasher (Toxostoma redivivum), California towhee (Melozone crissalis), sage sparrow or Bell’s sparrow (Artemisiospiza belli), golden-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) and American robin (Turdus migratorius). All are common species in the north part of Baja California, but rare in the area of San Quintín.
We also enjoyed the observation of migratory shorebirds which visit us from Alaska like the western sandpiper (Calidris mauri) and least sandpiper (Calidris minutilla), we also had the great pleasure of watching nearly 15,000 black brants (Branta bernicla nigricans) that flew to the bay to spend the winter, a unique experience in Mexico.
This second edition of the marathon was international, we had the participation of the team “The Lost Alaskans”, who won the trophy in the advanced category and will bring it up to Cordova, Alaska, and they registered 70 bird species during the time of the festival. This winning team is composed of Erin Cooper, Sean Meade and Thea Thomas. The second and third place of the podium were hard-fought between two participants with only a short difference of 1 species, Álvaro San José won the second place with 48 species, and the third one goes to Julián García Walther with 47 species.
In the beginner’s category, participants do not wanted to stay behind, for the second consecutive year we had the participation of the team called “Los Padres”, winners of the previous edition, unfortunately this year they got only the second place, with just one specie less than the winning team “Los Chipes” composed of Karla González (leader), Deonette Barragan, Leslie Ponce and Ana Anzuela, all together they registered 19 species in only 2 hours.
A special thanks to all the guides, volunteers, participants and sponsors, without them nothing could have been possible: EFTA, Sonoran Joint Venture, Alan Harper, Parque Nacional Sierra de San Pedro Mártir, Oscar Jiménez, NABCI-CONABIO, and especially to the team of Terra Peninsular and the community of La Chorera.