Thursday, 18 April 2013

Skimming the Lagoon!

APRIL 17th

Sean and I headed out early to put the gil nets in the centre of the lagoon which is around seven and a half metres deep. The skies were clear and the sun was beginning to warm the place up. The nets had been set when two large birds with floppy tern like flight were spied on the far bank of the lagoon. “What are those? “ Sean said. I paused and the front bird turned and dropped low skimming the water with its lower mandible near the reads. With binoculars raised I exclaimed “Skimmers!” I knew this was a Paraguay tick for me and although Black Skimmer have been recorded at Laguna Blanca before I did not expect to see them.

The first bird flew near the reed-bed and then flew off over the Atlantic forest. The second bird disappeared from view. My next thought was how to let Sjouke know. We were still near the middle of the lake! We started rowing back towards the beach and the second bird re appeared a few minutes later and flew close to the boat and then towards the E end of the lagoon.

The rowing hit top speed and we made it to shore a couple of minutes later. The boat was pulled up onto the beach and then it was a dash to the base to find Sjouke who was sat on the veranda drinking coffee!! I said “Skimmers grab the scope!”

Sjouke grabbed the telescope as Sean and I got cameras. The cameras were at the ready but a search of the lake could not re locate the second bird. I did however find a Yellow billed Tern on the far side of the lagoon who was fishing along the reeds. This was small consolation for Sjouke who stated Black Skimmer was one of his target birds for his trip! These birds don’t tend to stick around for too long on the lagoon.

Lagoon watch this evening produced a similar turn out of birds to the previous night. Three White backed Stilt and a flock of Great White Egret had a quick fly over but decided against stopping to roost!

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