Nicaragua Day 4-Lake Nicaragua’s Asese Bay and Isletas

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.

Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-28
One of the small isletas that make up the asese archipelago

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.

Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-25
A mother rowing her children to school

The birding was incredible and we saw some incredible things.

Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4
A Great Egret suns itself on the shores of Lake Nicaragua
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-29
Another Great Egret fishes from an isleta against a backdrop of thick vegetation
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-22
There were many Great Egrets fishing around the many isletas we visited. A common but stately bird

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.

Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-13
A Turkey Vulture Sitting on the shore of Lake Nicaragua.
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-11
A Black Vulture on the shore of Lake Nicaragua

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.

Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-32
Juvenile Northern Jacana-Not the incredibly long toes that allow it to move with relative ease among the lily pads by distributing its weight over a wider area
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-34
Another look at the juvenile Northern Jacana
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-51
Adult Norther Jacana
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-54
Adult Northern Jacana-note the feet and long toes again
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-55
A great view of the huge foot again
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-52
Last view of the adult Jacana. In this view, the bright yellow  shield is clearly visible

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.

Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-33
Purple Gallinule
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-39
Purple Gallinule
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-63
Purple Gallinule
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-40
Altamira Oriole
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-21
A huge number of swallows flying around and landing on telephone wires

 

Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-75
Montezuma Oropendola
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-76
Montezuma Oropendola  performing a mating ritual
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-4
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-56
Limpkin
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-3
Limpkin
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-36
Green Heron
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-5
Osprey
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-31
Ringed Kingfisher
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-16
White-throated Magpie-Jay
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-14
White-throated Magpie-Jay
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-15
White-throated Magpie Jay
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-68
Tropical Kingbird
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-44
Least Grebe

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

Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-43
Snail Kite watching the water below for Apple Snails. Notice how long and sharply curved the beak is so it can reach deep inside the snails to extract the meat
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-41
Another look at the Snail Kite

 

Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-47
Snail Kites have striking red eyes
Snail Kite
Snail Kite making the plunge for dinner!

Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-61

Snail Kite leaves the water with an Apple Snail

 

Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-62
A successful hunt!

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.

Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-73
Bare-throated Tiger Heron
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-72
This bird looks like a  bittern on mega-steroids
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-74
Another Tiger Heron!
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-49
And another…
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-69
A Tiger Heron takes flight
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-20
And one more Tiger Heron Picture…can’t get enough of this bird!
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-78
Howler Monkey
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-77
Young Howler Monkey
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-30
A view of an isleta marsh
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-10
A beautiful flower
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-65
Volcan Mambacho, the volcano that is responsible for the isletas in the southeastern part of Lake Nicaragua.
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-9
Isleta inhabitants
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-7
Another isleta house. Hanging laundry was pretty much universal in most places we visited. You can see the boat used for transportation
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-8
Isleta inhabitants  on the go
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-27
This house was definitely nicer than many we saw. Some of the isletas are privately owned and have vacation retreats for wealthier Nicaraguans, much like this one.
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-79
Another compound
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-67
A small isleta
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-66
Another small isleta
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-28
A small inhabited isleta
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-80
Fisherman setting a net
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-48
Even livestock on many of the isletas
Lake Nicaragua's Asese Bay and Isletas day 4-23
Someone was selling their crafts right on the shore of their isleta

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

One thought on “Nicaragua Day 4-Lake Nicaragua’s Asese Bay and Isletas

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