Friday, October 23, 1998

Fulvous Whistling-Duck at Rodman Ponds

Danny George discovered a Fulvous Whistling-Duck roosting with a small flock of the common Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at Rodman Spoil Ponds at dusk (around 5 p.m.), October 22, 1998.
After learning about this, Rosabel & Karl Kaufmann and Darién & Camilo Montañez planned a quick visit to the ponds the next morning. We got there at approximately 6:15 a.m, and very soon found the bird, roosting in the small pond by the locked gate to the larger set of ponds. It was standing in the water rather away from the other ducks, preening with its back to our group. As there were many Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks of all ages present, it was easy to notice the rather evident differences between the two species. Most noticeable of all was the rich rusty cinnamon color of the bird, and the buffy-white streaks on the flanks. As it stood with its tail in our direction, it was easy to notice that the uppertail coverts were white, and the tail itself was black.The bill and legs were dark gray, and the darker crown and nape contrasted with the cinnamon-brown face and throat. In the front of the neck was a patch of paler streaks that did not extend down into the chest. The back and wings were darker brown with cinnamon scaling, especially on the back.
After preening for a while, the bird turned and stood facing us, which only allowed for better views of the neck and chest. Then, suddenly at 6:40 a.m, it took flight and flew away from us, eventually turning and flying over our heads headed towards the canal. The wings were completely black, with no traces of white, and the white band across the base of the tail was especially evident.

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