Day four began with a wonderful boat ride from Lake Nicaragua’s Asese Bay out and around several of the isleta’s . The islets de Granada are a group of 365 small islands scattered about the Asese peninsula. and are located just southeast of the city of Granada.
The isletas are of volcanic origin and were formed when the Mombacho volcano blew much of its cone into the lake thousands of years ago. Most of the islets are covered with vegetation and are rich with bird life, which made for a fantastic 4 hour boat tour.
Additionally, many of the isletas are inhabited and we saw a lot of people rowing boats between the isletas and headed to the mainland for school.
The birding was incredible and we saw some incredible things.
I have never seen as many vultures, Turkey and Black, so close to water as I did at various places on Lake Nicaragua. Many times they were on teh beach right at the waters edge. As depicted in the pictures below, they would also sit on rocks right at the waters edge.
When I made my trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas last December, the first bird I went after was a juvenile Northern Jacana that was at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge because it was a rarity that far north. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many on the shores of many isletas in Lake Nicaragua.
Another bird I spent time in America chasing was the Purple Gallinule. I first saw two of them in a swamp in Florida. Like the Northern Jacana, the Purple Gallinule has disproportionately large feet to allow it to distribute its weight in such a manner as to keep Lilly pads afloat so they can move freely through the marsh.
Another bird that I spent a day chasing in Florida and got but a quick glimpse of was the Snail Kite which is an endangered bird there. I was very pleasantly surprised to get some great looks at several kites sitting in trees right over the water and then one that plunged into the water right next to our boat. I love it when that happens!
Hunting Snail Kite
Snail Kite leaves the water with an Apple Snail
When we began the boat tour of the isletas, i made it known that I wanted to see a Bare-throated Tiger Heron more than any other bird species and was told that it was always a hit-or-miss thing as they are not very common. We ended up seeing 13 of them! An amazing bird and my favorite of the whole trip. When I look at this bird I see dinosaur and have no problem seeing the common ancestry between birds and dinosaurs. The Bare-throated Tiger Heron is an awesome example of perfection to me. With its incredibly thick neck and throat and bulky build it has to be a nightmare for large fish.
We also went to San Juan de Oriente which is a pottery making village to meet and look at many of the world-class pottery makers there.My camera battery was low so I was not able to record the visit but suffice it to say, it was amazing and the pottery was exquisite. I bought several pieces for more than reasonable prices. We then returned to Granada for the evening