Birding Report: Feb 17

The Birding Group had 21 birders this past week and we visited two spots at Estero Soldado, went on to stop at the Miramar estuary, and then lunched at Mazateños restaurant in Guaymas.

Roseate Spoonbills are definitely popping up at the estuaries. I saw five at our northwest spot on Wednesday even though there was only one when the group went on Thursday. However, it was a very bright pink one and in-close for excellent viewing. We also saw, along with many Herons and Egrets, some Red-breasted Mergansers. We had a nice viewing of an Osprey catching and eating a very large fish, as well as two American Oystercatchers mating.

Lots of special birds to choose from but I am going with the Roseate Spoonbill for Bird of the Week. This lovely, large and very pink bird is always special  to see. In the United States it is found only along the Gulf of Mexico and in Southern Florida. In Mexico it is also along the Gulf of Mexico and on the Pacific side up into the Sea of Cortez to San Carlos. We are at the northernmost end of its range. The Spoonbill is an Ibis but the bill is quite different from the thinner curved bills we see on the White Ibis around here. Spoonbills prefer mangroves, saltwater lagoons and large, shallow lakes. We, of course, have two out of three of those. While books describe it as here year round, we usually start seeing it more regularly in February. Our photo of the Spoonbill also includes the American Avocet and they are a lovely contrast in bills. According to IBirdPro they like to eat minnows, small crustaceans, bits of plants and insects.  Although they are called Spoonbills, to me the bill more closely resembles a spatula and, in fact, the Spanish name is Roseate Spatula. Their foraging is always interesting and different from many other wading birds because they swish their bills from side to side often in a manner that seems quite frantic but is probably just normal swishing for them.

The Birding Group will meet, as always, this Thursday morning at the Esterito Cafe at the end of Bahia San Carlos at 8:00am. All are welcome. This week we will be visiting settlement ponds. I have been seeing the beautiful Green-winged Teal in breeding plumage at El Palmar. All are welcome.

If you have any questions or comments, you may e-mail me at maryltannehill@yahoo.com.

by Mary Tannehill


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