A Chilean RAMSAR site

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3 years 10 months ago #86464 by nkgray
nkgray created the topic: A Chilean RAMSAR site
The Laguna Conchali is sandwiched between the Pan-American Highway and the sea at Los Vilos, some 2h30 drive north of Santiago. I have passed this RAMSAR site heading north and south at least 20 times in the past almost 2 years, each time making a mental note to do some birding there. So this past Wednesday I called in for just one hour on my way north. I chalked up 30 species, which for Central Chile with a potential list of only around 150 is quite something. Had I realised that this wetland and adjoining beach could be so productive I would definitely have been there before now.

In all my years of birding I have seen maybe 50 Sanderling, in small groups of no more than 6 or 7 at a time, in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, SA and England. I could not believe what I was seeing on the beach at Conchali. I was first alerted when a large German Shepherd belted past me and headed very deliberately towards the water's edge about 200m away. He scattered a large flock of at least 1000 birds which were to say the least an amazing spectacle. The German Shepherd even managed to make them wheel in my direction and I didn't even have to move to get shots of them settled again before the dog scattered them once more allowing me to get some flight shots.

I always have a good chuckle watching Sanderling foraging in the breaker zone, dancing seawards as the waves recede and wheeling in unison and scurrying purposefully up the beach as the next wave comes in, like small children not wanting to get their feet wet.



This is but a small section of the big flock ...



...and an even smaller sample of the huge wheeling mass



Whimbrel were also present in large numbers





Two of the common gulls on this part of the Chilean coast are..

Grey Gull





and Brown-hooded Gull - note the characteristic pink suffusion on the underparts of the breeding adult in flight, something which can help separate it from the very similar Franklin's Gull





Both oystercatchers were present too, American Oystercatcher



and Blackish Oystercatcher, a pair seen here with one of the day's highlights Black Skimmer



The northern hemisphere migrant waders were represented by, in addition to the Sanderling, both Yellowlegs species -

Greater Yellowlegs



and Lesser Yellowlegs



Resident ducks included Red Shoveler and this Yellow-billed Pintail family



as well as a male Lake Duck (cousin to the Maccoa Duck)



Two species of coot were seen, White-winged and this Red-gartered Coot



Another "two" - Collared Plover



and Snowy Plover




Neil

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3 years 10 months ago #86466 by gordon
gordon replied the topic: Re: A Chilean RAMSAR site
Hi Neil,

Again, excellent photo's!!

I am always reminded when looking at Yellowlegs photo's that we in SA need to take the time to look very carefully at the waders here to make certain what we are looking at is not actually a Lesser Yellowlegs!!

Cheers,
Gordon

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