Friday, August 28, 2009

Limpkin along

The current was moving strongly through the National Park canals this week. Tuesday’s bird survey team were making slow progress against a headstrong flow; but the birds, perched out of the way didn’t seem to mind at all. Around the first corner, almost at a standstill and just as it was becoming clear that their passage was blocked, Allison spotted a silhouette high up in a nearby tree. Binoculars at the ready and trying to maintain position against the swirling flow; the team not only identified and documented, but even photographed, the sighting of a magnificent Limpkin (Aramus guarauna). Often mistaken for juvenile night herons due to their colouration, or ibis due to their shape, Limpkins are infrequently spotted in the area along the canals. For preference they inhabit marshes and pond areas, only more occasionally being sighted around wooded swamps, generally wading in search of snails. Perhaps the recent rains and high water levels (unfortunately the team couldn’t continue soon after this sighting) enticed the normally solitary bird to our study site. This was our first record since 2006 and only the second ever for all three of our local canals – well done to the team for their persistence in the face of adversity!