Thursday, October 3, 2013

Clapper Rail at Salinas Grandes

On September 21, 2013, Manfred Bienert paid a visit to Salinas Grandes (León), which he visits on a monthly basis. Winter visitors from North America had already begun to arrive, most notably shorebirds such as Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri), Semipalmated Sandpiper (C. pusilla) and Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola). Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) was also conspicuous with more than 300 individuals present. Other migrants included a small group of Bank Swallows (R. riparia) and the winter's first Blue-winged Teals (Anas discors). In all, Manfred recorded 61 species on this visit.

Perhaps the most surprising find was a Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris), seen searching for small crustaceans in the mangroves adjacent to the salt evaporation ponds. This is one of the very few records of this species in Nicaragua, and with the inclusion of this unexpected bird, Manfred's site list for Salinas Grandes now stands at 136 species!