Wednesday, February 19, 2020

This Park Is for the Birds

Last Saturday I was at Alejandro's house, and we walked over to the nearby Bosque de San Juan de Aragón, the major park on the north side of the city.

With its sports fields, swimming pool, playgrounds and carnival rides, as well as countless stands selling snacks, it was easy to understand why the park is a popular spot for a weekend outing for the residents of this congested and gritty working-class neighborhood.  But it certainly could not compare with Chapultepec Park or even Bicentennial Park which I had visited the day before.

However, when we reached the lake, my opinion of the park rose, and I found myself snapping lots of photos.  

It used to be that you could rent rowboats to go out on the lake, but no longer.  The reason for that is that the lake has been made into a preserve for waterfowl.  It is the only man made aquatic preserve in the city.  In an exploding urban environment in which natural spaces are disappearing, this lake has become a refuge for many species of birds.  Some of them are migratory birds that use this lake as a stopping-off place.

Of course there are a lot of ducks.

There are also a lot of herons.

I did not know what kind of bird this was.  Fortunately there was a sign with pictures identifying the different kinds of waterfowl in the lake.  In Spanish it is called a "monjita" (little nun).  I looked up the Latin name which was also listed on the sign, and in English it is called a black necked stilt.

What surprised me most was that there was a large colony of pelicans.  I always thought of the pelican as a bird that lives along the ocean coasts, but apparently it also lives in fresh water areas.  Apparently there is plenty of fish in the lake to support the colony.

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