Thursday, 11 February 2010

"Ticking Away the Moments That Make Up a Dull Day, You Fritter and Waste the Hours in an Off-Hand Way"

Opting to miss the 08-00 breakfast in preference to an early departure, proved to be a lucky decision. Arriving at the Bus Station at 07-00 found there was a bus to Pinamara in 30 minutes time, the next being at 16-00. About 150Km I'd chosen the smaller, and nearer, of 2 coastal towns as looking at Google Maps appeared to be closer to the lakes. Again luckily I found my seat to be 'pole position', upstairs at the from with full panoramic windows. Soon clear of what must be described as 'the City' of Mar del Plata, we followed the coast road, rarely loosing sight of the Atlantic Seaboard, soon meeting the coastal plains. here the terrain is divided between grazing pasture and crop production, with Sunflowers being predominant. There were also lots of birds, including Gulls, but I could only make any of these Kelp, Franklin's and Grey-hooded. The only avian highlight came by way of a Southern Screamer, stood in a waterlogged field, and later a second flying fairly close to the coach. By size alone, small Turkey, this species is not difficult to recognise, the only confusion species being Red-legged Seriema, which is a lot leaner and taller.

We arrived at Pinamara at 09-30 and very quickly I was whisked off to the Hotel Berlin which stands just 450 meters from the beach. Unfortunately, I'm in the same situation here as I was back in mar del Plata, the first 2 photos giving some idea of the 'birding' prospects. However, it is a little unfair to include the words 'Dull Day' in the title, but I seem to be having a bit of a Pink Floyd moment today, I just don't want to miss any of it. I think it's a bit of the 'spoilt child' syndrome, too much, too often. Having watched 3 Terns, with yellow bills, fishing a good way off-shore I decided to turn inland and try my luck in the distant pine forest. At least that's what it looked like, but on closer inspection it was a complex of very expensive looking houses where they had cut out the heart of the forest.

All along the way the same Terns, that could also be seen to have yellow legs, occasionally flew overhead, seemingly backwards and forwards to an inland site. This according to the book, is typical of Yellow-billed Tern, so a further addition to the Trip List. Brown-chested Martin were also seen in good numbers, with some utilising the redundant nest of a Rufous Hornero. The only other species on offer were Monk Parakeet, aplenty, Chimango Caracara and Guira Cuckoo, one of which was seen to catch a small snake but quickly headed off to a thick bush, more out of the way of the Caracara than me. It seemed a movement of Monarch Butterflies was underway, plus a number of others, but none obliging enough to stop for a photo, unlike the very attractive Dragonfly. By noon I was ready to return, for what was close to another 2 hours walking, and stopping again at the beach (glutton for punishment) saw 2 Gull-billed Terns drop in to feed and a Peregrine heading fast and high to the north.

The first views of Pinamara Beach, north, then south.

"I remember thinking to myself this could be Heaven,

or this could be Hell!" Yes, that must be an Olrog's Gull in the sky above the blue umbrella!

Brown-chested Martin, at 17cm quite a big Hirundine, with an extremely sweet song.

In flight take on the appearance of a tailless Bee-eater.

Another one for you Sheila (and Bowie of course)

Unidentified Dragonfly

A bit better image of Southern Lapwing.

Perhaps another new species not yet described to science. If accepted intend calling this one Southern LapLEG. Becoming increasingly rare, it can be seen that nature has blessed this creature with a missing starboard leg. Only allowing for feeding in one direction and in ever decreasing circles, usually ending with the total disappearance of the bird!

video

I first saw this video with David Ascanio when in Venezuela, and meant to upload it at the time. By lucky coincidence my newly re-found childhood friend John Wood also came across it and sent it to me. I would certainly like to have been there at the time!

List Updates

SOUTHERN SCREAMER
YELLOW-BILLED TERN
GULL-BILLED TERN

Trip Species - 869
World Lifers - 563

Start with Floyd, end with Floyd.

Tired of lying in the sunshine, stay at home and watch the rain.
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you'll find, 10 years have got behind you.
No-one told you when to run, you missed the 'Starting Gun'.