Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks (Bayshore Park, Hamilton)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016, was the hottest day this summer.  Accordingly, I avoided heading outside at lunch. Surfing the internet, I noted a report that Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were found on a beach at Bayfront Park.  I left in the evening taking a chance that they remained on the beach.

Having only visited Bayshore Park once previously, I promptly headed to the wrong gazebo.  I found myself at the grey, not the silver gazebo where the Cops N’ Rodders Car Show was underway.

Vehicle on display at Cops N Rodders Car Show. Note the grey gazebo in the background.

Vehicle on display at Cops N’ Rodders Car Show. Note the grey gazebo in the background.

At the car show two Halton Regional Police officers, on their break, extended a greeting to me.  We chatted for a while.  I inquired whether there was a second beach.  One of the officers advised the second beach was some 750 meters from where we were standing.  Off I went.  Soon the silver gazebo was in sight and as I rounded the bend, the sight of photographers and birders were a sure sign that I was in the right spot.

So, a few things.

  1.  These rare Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were thought to originate in Texas, U.S.A.  These ducks breed in Louisiana and southern Texas.
  2. They are thought to be the same ducks reported days earlier in New York.
  3. This species is a first for the Hamilton Study Area.

A mix of eight photographers and birders were on the beach.  Initially, the light was against us but that soon resolved. Our second issue were the gulls photobombing our efforts.

During their spell on the beach the ducks slept, preened, stretched, vocalized, squabbled a bit, and occasionally ate.

Five Black-belled Whistling Ducks

Five Black-belled Whistling-Ducks

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks heading to the beach

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks heading to the beach

Preening on the shore

Preening on the shore

One sunning, one resting

One sunning, one resting

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks asleep on the beach

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks asleep on the beach

Having a bit of a stretch

Having a bit of a stretch

Having a drink

Having a drink

But for the gulls...

But for the gulls…

Fluffed feathers

Fluffed feathers

Confounded gulls photobombed most photographs

Confounded gulls photobombed most photographs

Black-bellied Whistling Duck on the beach

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck on the beach

Gulls and a tern surround the ducks

Gulls and a tern surround the ducks

Returning to the water

Returning to the water

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks on the water

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks on the water

The above was my last look at these stunning ducks, just shy of 7:30 p.m.  They departed at approximately 8:30 p.m. and haven’t been seen since.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks (Bayshore Park, Hamilton)

  1. My husband and I have spent the last 20 Winters in southern Texas and are quite familiar with the Black Bellied Whistling Duck. The call or whistle can be heard when they fly in a group. Their shocking pink legs and more orange colored bills also distinctive and the whole look leaves an amazing impression. I believe they have webbed feet but also claws as they often roost in the branches of trees. It is amazing to me that they can be seen so far north..
    Our winter home in Texas was very close to the Rio Grande and I believed that the extreme southern part of Texas was the northern limit for this bird. The fact that it could be found here must be attributed to climate change.

    • Hello, Ann W. They are indeed stunning birds. Their beauty compels comment.

      I’ve read that this species last visited Ontario in 2010. I did overhear experienced birders chatting briefly about climate change. One suggested the birds followed the hot jet stream into Ontario. Whatever the reason, ’twas quite the treat.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s