PR Diaries: Birding with Estuario, Laguna Secreta in Cataño, 12/21/19

Hi there! Today I will be talking about the CBC (Christmas Bird Count) in Laguna Secreta (Secret Lagoon). This was our second trip with Estuario; the first one was at Paseo Las Curías. So on to the walk:

We woke up at 6 am because we needed to reach there by 7 am. This was the large group so when we reached there, we were split into 3 groups: One going to the bay, another going to a forest, and another going to the lagoon. We decided to go to the lagoon because we wanted to see some shorebirds as well.

We started at around 7:30 in the morning. Our leader was José Enrique, someone who has been birding there for the past 30 years and explores Secret Lagoon at least once a month. Jose has been birding so much that he can tell just by mere sight what bird it is. We were also joined by Carlos Ortiz another birding partner and great photographer. It was a few minutes drive to the birding spot. When José stopped at the construction / manufacturing facility, we were surprised as where we were going. We did some birding near the area while José got his spotting scope set and we got all our gears ready. In the manufacturing area we saw 7 Grackles and 12 Pigeons before moving forward.

The Grackles are gloss allover, except the yellow iris. They are very common and hence ignored in PR. I think they deserved to be clicked, so in one of my future posts, I would get a nice click of Grackle and post. And the pigeons, I don’t think I need to introduce you to it. They’re your common Rock Pigeons or Rock Doves or whatever you call it, but they all mean the same. If you don’t know what a pigeon is, then I don’t know how you read this far without having to look the bird up.

As we moved forward on the gravel road, we spotted our regular Gray Kingbirds. We were expecting to continue to the same gravel path, till Jose asked us to cross a small fence and move towards a tall grassy and woody field. Everyone was surprised as where we were heading, it looked like a heavily overgrown jungle.

Jose mentioned that this walkway is usually kept clean by the wild horses grazing the greens, but seems they had not been here in quite sometime. The reason to take this path was to observe some migratory warblers, but the best we got was the Bananaquit. If you have seen a little, yellow-breasted bird with a white stripes on head, that is Bananaquit, a VERY common bird in PR. Then, at the end, we realized that we could’ve went an easier way! But still, we would have missed all the fun and adventure of going through the tall grasses, getting stung by some grass seeds sticking to our clothes and miss a few Bananaquits. This was experience by itself. 

After crossing the area, we got down on the shortcut that would have taken us there without any hustle with the tall metal gate again. But this time, there was enough opening in the gate that we were able to squeeze through that. A little further into the Jungle and we had a face-off with wild horses. To give them time to choose their way we decided to stay put and do some birding there, we saw few Bananaquits and a Red Legged Thrush.

Seems these were kind of domesticated wild horses (if there is a type), they are not afraid of humans and also do not bother them if we pass from nearby. So we decided to move forward. After a gravel walk there was a deck with tall grass around the lagoon. We have to save ourselves from grass scratches while walking and to reach on the rocking deck.

Lagoon was a beautiful sight, we forget everything as soon we saw it. Jose did set-up his spotting scope and we started scouting for waterbirds.

I immediately spotted an Osprey sitting on the small island of sticks. Ospreys are birds of prey that have a striped head of gray and brown, a brown back, and a gray breast. There also was a Brown Pelican. Brown Pelican was sitting in front of a Great Blue Heron. And the Great Blue Heron was on the diagonal side of the flock of ducks. It took time for us to spot these 3 but once we saw, this was the sequence. In the duck flock, most of them were Ruddy Ducks, but two were rares: A male and female Lesser Scaup. We could easily tell them apart because they were both so distinct.Thanks to Jose’s spotting scope that helped us to see and identify these birds bit clearly. We also saw a Green Heron and Great Egret. I saw a Sora at the very end, but it was moving fast.

Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, Blue Heron

After soaking in the beauty of Lagoon we decided to go back and this time decided to take a short cut instead of going through the jungle.

At last, We met up at the parking lot we parked on in the morning and talked about our best finds.

Thank you for reading and see you in the next adventure post with Estuario !!!

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