On the edge of the city of San Miguel de Allende, a couple of hours from Guanajuato, is the fascinating botanical garden of Charco del Ingenio.
Presa las Colonias
Begun in 1989, the 100 acre garden has three zones- a spectacular canyon, chaparral of trees & cactus, and wetland around a reservoir ( presa ). The presa attracts numerous waterbirds.
At the edge of this artificial island were American Avocets among numerous other water birds, including Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Green-winged & Blue-winged Teal, Mallard, American Wigeon and American Coots.
Pintail, Ring-necked & Ruddy Ducks
Many of the ducks were familiar to us including Northern Pintail, Ring-necked Duck, and Ruddy Ducks.
Stilts & Shorebirds
In the mudflats toward the head of the reservoir, Black-necked Stilts probed the mud amid a flock of small shorebirds. Beyond were White-faced Ibis, Killdeer and more avocets.
A Stilt Sandpiper worked both sides of the water’a edge.
Charco del Ingenio
Below the dam that holds the reservoir, trails lead along a spectacular canyon.
The stone dam was built a hundred years ago, and a few years later an aqueduct along the canyon, to conduct water downstream.
Several Cactus Wrens chattered among the cacti in the canyon.
A ground squirrel scampered around the rocks.
Vermillion Flycatcher Male
In the chaparral along the higher trails, brilliant male Vermillion Flycatchers seemed to be everywhere.
Vermillion Flycatcher Female
I thought I had found a new flycatcher but after watching the behaviour I realized it was the female Vermillion.
Among the quick little birds, one that I managed to photograph was this Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, though I missed a Common Yellowthroat and numerous sparrows.
The birds were right at home among the thorny cacti.
This Curve-billed Thrasher sat comfortably atop a prickly pear cactus for quite a while.
I was excited to finally get great hummingbird photos when this Broad-billed Hummingbird perched on a thorny bush at the trailside.
The garden features many striking specimens of the Agavaceae family, with more than 60 species of Mexican agaves , known as maguey.
One area of the garden is dedicated to rescued plants including a type of barrel cactus almost extinct in the wild although common in horticulture.
Among all the cacti thorns & spikes even the lichens on the trees appeared prickly.