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.
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.
- These rare Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were thought to originate in Texas, U.S.A. These ducks breed in Louisiana and southern Texas.
- They are thought to be the same ducks reported days earlier in New York.
- 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.
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.