Birding Report: May 24

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck with Wings Up Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Our little group keeps chugging along even though many have already returned north. We have been having about 5-10 each week which is a wonderful size for birding. This week we visited the El Palmar and the Country Club Settlement Ponds and had 36 species. Our Least Grebe family is thriving and the two babies are more independent every day. Last Sunday when I visited, the mother laid a brand new egg and by Thursday, there were two eggs. It has been very interesting observing the Grebes adding twigs to the nest even though the eggs have already been laid. We are seeing lots of Northern Cardinals and Hooded Orioles. This week I am also seeing Northern Rough-winged swallows pairing up and sitting together in the bushes. Love is in the air.

At the Country Club, we saw ten Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks. These are my Bird of the Week. This bird is not just a duck. The name is actually Whistling-Duck and besides Mexico, they are not commonly seen in the US except for Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and a small area in Arizona. Although they are not considered a migratory duck, they do move about some and ours are mainly here in the summer.

We first saw them this week. IBird Pro says the Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is quite unique among ducks because they are strongly monogamous. Pairs often stay together for many years and both parents share all tasks involved with the raising of the young including sitting on the eggs in the nest. We noticed the pairings when observing them at the Country Club Pond. They are very beautiful as you can see from the images. To reach the pond, go through the gate to the Country Club (the roads are public, you will have no trouble entering). Go past 3 topes and park where you can and walk in (south towards Beltrones).

This coming Thursday will be our last outing. Al and I are migrating back to Seattle for the summer season but will be back, God willing and the creek don’t rise, mid-October. We will meet at the Esterito Cafe Thursday at 7:30am. I am not sure where we will go but two of our group spotted the Varied Bunting last week and since then I am seeing it consistently at El Palmar and even at Rancho Ojo so we will probably want to drop by and try and seek out this beautiful red and blue bird.

Don´t forget sun and bug protection and folding chairs. We will seek out shade where we can. As always, if you have questions, you may e-mail me at [email protected]

by Mary Tannehill

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