Friday, July 14, 2000

Fulvous Whistling-Ducks at Las Macanas

Karl & Rosabel Kaufmann, Chris Rhodes and Darién Montañez visited la ciénaga de Las Macanas to look for Aplomado Falcon. An immature Snail Kite was seen perched on a low fence post right by the main road out to Chitré, about 300 meters before the entrance to Rincón de Santa María. The first Aplomado was seen on a field that was being plowed in front of the entrance to the observation tower. The field was full of. It was standing on the ground, surrounded by Cattle Egrets and Caracaras, with a recently caught morsel in its talons. A second bird was seen diving at a male Snail Kite over the ciénaga. Then a third bird was seen perched on the wires next to the interamerican highway a few kilometers past Divisa.
At the marsh itself we found a flock of at least 33 Fulvous Whistling-Ducks seen together with a similar number of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. The ducks were standing on the shallow ponds near the edge of the ciénaga about 100 meters before the observation tower. They were buffy brown all over, lighter on the breast, and had dark gray bills. The black and white barring on the throat and sides of the neck was particularly evident on some of the birds, as were the creamy white stripes on the flanks. Some birds were preening, and many were seen in flight, so the all-dark wings and white uppertail coverts were also seen. We managed to make a video of the birds that were standing closer to us, and we will be showing it on the next PAS meeting. A few extra individuals were seen from the observation tower, raising the final tally to about 38.

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