Sunday, December 14, 1997

Northern Pintail at Rodman Ponds

    On sunday, december 14, the Kauftañez family along with the Murdochs and María Allen visited Rodman Ponds at noon in hopes of finding a Sora, but instead discovered a pair of Northern Pintails swimming among the Whistling-Ducks and Shovelers. Rosabel was the first to spot them, their long necks gave them a slim, pintail-like appearance. We approached to get a better look with Wally's scope and were able to observe the male preening.The head was dark brown, darker in the crown and nape, and the breast was white with a few vague buffy spots. We couldn´t see the white line on the sides of the neck, but María did. The flanks were patterned
    in black and white, and the undertail coverts were black. The tail was pointed, but wasn´t as long as that of an adult male.
    Then on tuesday, dec 16, Darién, Delicia and Camilo went with Danny George and Steve Droste to look for it and saw the female. It looked
    "just like the picture", with the same slim shape of the birds seen on sunday. It was mottled brown, distinctively paler around the throat and almost white in the belly. As it was preening, we could see the dark speculum on its wing with a white traling edge.
    And now, on to the Snowy Plover(s). Also on the 14th, the Montañez family went to Punta Chame with few intentions of watching birds, but
    their plans were ruined when Delicia spotted a small Charadriid in a nearby dune. Closer examination showed that it had an incomplete breast band. It seemed very pale above, with a white supercilliary and pale lores. Its bill looked very strange, long and thin, and didn't look like any plover-bill we had ever seen, and the legs were dark gray. Later, at least five more were found in a large flock of sanderling, peeps and plovers. One of them was even observed between a Wilson's and a Semipalmated Plover. It was the smallest of the three, and also the
    palest. the bill looked like a slim version of that of the Wilson's, but the dark legs and absent breast band distiguished them.
    Stay tuned for the results of the Christmas Bird Counts.

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