“Segua Marsh is an important wetland system in Manabí Province, located just a few minutes southwest of the city of Chone. While the area is intensively farmed for rice and fished for shrimp, there is a remarkable variety of ducks, grebes, shorebirds, and herons to be found here, making it a worthwhile visit for any birder looking to boost his country list.” from Birding Ecuador Blogspot/2009
La Segua/Chone/Ecuador – When friends Luis and Peter invited me to join them for a second Global Big Day at La Segua near Chone, I was a bit torn; “If I spend the day with the two of you in the Segua, then the birds of Poza Honda will miss their chance for the country list.” Reaching an easy compromise, we spent the morning at La Segua, then traveled two hours east to observe the Poza Honda birds!
At dawn as we loaded the truck, a Tropical Kingbird provided a cheerful ‘Buenos Dias’ greeting, a good omen that almost-clear skies would replace the pre-dawn rains!
We stopped half a dozen times to confirm various species before we reached the Segua headquarters. Tricolored Heron, Peruvian Meadowlark, Snail Kites, White-cheeked Pintails, Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, wow – a Limpkin!
Peter and Luis confirmed as I photographed and then scribbled the various species names in a notebook!
“Water which is too pure has no fish.” Ts’ai Ken T’an
“Lisa, you are going to cry,” Luis warned me before parking at La Segua, a large alluvial flood plain or Rios Chone and Tosagua.
“Thanks for the warning,” I replied, “… but I’ve seen the excavators working in the past… more shrimp ponds?”
New shrimp ponds claim those water-lily areas, although the tree-lined route to the pier remains bird friendly. The birds adapt, and some of the wetland areas are healthy ecosystems.
Although more-sterile shrimp ponds replaced the water-lily setting, there were many lovely vistas, still-intact wetlands and a great diversity of birds.
By late morning our list reached 69 birds; we agreed that it would be nice to finish with 70.
I asked Luis, “What bird would you like to see to reach that magic 70?”
A few minutes later, Peter exclaimed, “Osprey!” and pointed overhead:
Before returning to town, we walked a short section of the highway and finished the morning with a few more birds for the list, including hundreds of whistling ducks!
The finale, before heading to Poza Honda, was a delicious (and greatly-anticipated) lunch wrapped in a banana leaf!
More information via Wilkipedia: La Segua Wetlands
(Next stop – Poza Honda!)