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How many birds?!

“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!

Peruvian Meadowlark

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!

A bad image is better than no image of the Limpkin!

White-cheeked Pintail

Peter and Luis confirmed as I photographed and then scribbled the various species names in a notebook!

Common Gallinule?

Tri-colored Heron

La Segua Welcome Center

“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?”

Last year water lilies dotted this pond and provided cover and habitat for many species.

6 a.m 2017 -La Segua Parking area

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.

2017

2018

2018

Last year I photographed waterlilies and a White-throated Crake in this spot.

Wattled Jacana seems happy here!

Snail Kite

Although more-sterile shrimp ponds replaced the water-lily setting, there were many lovely vistas, still-intact wetlands and a great diversity of birds.

Purple Gallinule

Masked Water Tyrant on nest

Snowy-throated Kingbird

What does she see?….

“Lisa! Come here, quick….shhhhh!” ((The staff is on site seven days a week, and they are happy to assist in spotting the birds!)

There’s a White-throated Crake!

Pacific Parrotlets

Golden-olive Woodpecker

Up close from the tower!

From the tower

Fulvous Whistling Ducks

Perhaps the Cocoi has a nest there?

Does that gull have a crayfish?

A slightly-better view of a Limpkin!

Shrimp-farm workers taking a breakfast break!

Cocoi Heron

Look up!

Amazilia Hummingbird

Common Tody Flycatcher

Rufous-browed Peppershrike

Black-necked Stilts

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?”
“An Osprey…”
A few minutes later, Peter exclaimed, “Osprey!” and pointed overhead:

What’s one more bird on your wish list? Osprey!

Luis uploads data to ebird!

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!

Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks

Peruvian Meadowlark

Long-tailed Mockingbird

Pearl Kite

The finale, before heading to Poza Honda, was a delicious (and greatly-anticipated) lunch wrapped in a banana leaf!

Tonga Lunch – What’s inside? ‘Seco de Pollo’ – braised chicken, rice and gravy…

More information via Wilkipedia: La Segua Wetlands

Anhinga drying its feathers/ la Segua

(Next stop – Poza Honda!)

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