Just down the road from Falcon State Park, on Hwy 83, there is a sign for Salineno, and another announcing “World Birding Sight”. The road passes by a few houses, pastures, and then comes to an old town center, which in interesting in itself. Continuing on, the road squeezes between two buildings and turns into dirt. A little ways on the left, is the Salineno birding center, with a small parking area and a sign inviting entry.
Three other birders were making their away along the tree-lined driveway, and we could hear the distinct cry of the Chachalaca up ahead. Birds flitted from tree to tree and we stopped in our tracks to spot who was about. A woman, with camera and binoculars hanging from her neck, told us to go around the trailer on site. What awaited us there was an absolute paradise.
Patio chairs lined up beside the trailer formed the viewing gallery. A lush garden with a variety of trees and shrubbery extended wide and deep into the property, feeding stations set up ready to receive the birds. At the very back, on a cylindrical feeder was an Altamira Oriole.
“Oh, how beautiful!” I exclaimed catching the bird in my binocular lens.
“It’s quiet at the moment,” the host offered, ” because it’s nearing closing time. The birds just seem to know when the show is over.”
“Did you get a pic,” I asked Ric, somewhat disappointed that this might be our only sighting.
The other birders left on cue, but we lingered a bit, and the gentleman on site offered to say for a bit longer if we liked.
Within moments the trees were ablaze with orange, red, green and yellow as more Orioles were joined by Cardinals, Green Jays, and Kiskadees. A Ladderback Woodpecker dropped by as well as an Orange-Crowned Warbler, a Black-Crested Titmouse and after about twenty minutes the Chachalacas.
“They know when they’re welcome,” the guide explained. “We keep them away during the day.”
Every so often, the birds would dispel en masse – safety drills, our host explained. And then full panic set in as a Sharp-Shinned Hawk swooped into our midst, and all went eerily quiet.
We too, took our departure, so pleased that we’d made the effort to see this treasure trove of birds.
(Notes about pics: The first is an adult oriole, the second a first year. Apparently, the full colour only comes with maturity. The Ladderback and the Chacha is also pictured. Note the White-Winged Dove in the background. I didn’t know, but was informed that these are pests in this area. Very pretty though, especially in flight.)