Places to see birds.

I am developing this sub-module which will talk about good places to see particular birds. Bird Identification and Birding Places in Forum do not readily allow insertion of images. This sub-module has a Files facility (see bottom of this page) which overcomes this problem.

Wetlands.

Defined as areas where the ground which is saturated with water (fresh, brackish or salt) either permanently or seasonally. I include:-

• Wet meadows - standing water - too deep to walk through - not deep enough to swim.
• Areas adjoining water bodies - marshland (swamps, bogs, fens), estuarine mudflats, land close to streams and rivers, coastal salt-marshes, sand / shingle beaches.
• Inland water bodies - reservoirs, lagoons, lakes, ponds, saltpans etc, rivers / streams.

Notable Wetlands Worldwide.

Wetlands are found on every continent except Antarctica. Wetland species are widely distributed with 90% being represented in all the main regions (Na, Sa, Eu, Af, As, Au) of the world:-

• South America 35% ) New World.
• North America 24% )

• Europe 15% ) Old World.
• Africa 14% )
• Australasia 12% )

The following summary refers to some of the notable areas of the world where wetland birds are likely to be seen:-

New World Region – almost 60% of the species are likely to be seen:-

• South America - 215 species including Rails (35), Herons (19), Ducks (17), Plovers (12), Sandpipers (12), Ibis (11) and Geese (7). Notable absences are Moorhens and Loons. Important places are Amazon River Basin in the northern part of South America and the Pantanal, which extends over Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.

• North America – 149 species including Ducks (20), Sandpipers (17), Plovers (11), Geese (7), Grebes (7), Heron (6).

• Arizona – Sweetwater Wetlands in South-East Arizona, an artificial wetland area situated at latitude 32.3 degrees north. Some notable species:-

Mexican Mallard, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Ruddy Duck, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, Gadwall.
Black-necked Grebe. Common Moorhen, American Coot. American Avocet. Black-necked Stilt, Black-winged Stilt. Great Egret, Cattle Egret. Blue, Great-blue and Green-backed Heron. Killdeer. Long-billed Dowitcher. Spotted Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper. Wilson’s Snipe, Sora Crake.

• Texas - Open water areas such as the Rio Grande, tributaries and ponds. South Padre Island. Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge. Notable species:-

Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Blue-winged Teal. Least Grebe. American Coot. American Avocet. Black-necked Stilt. Great-blue Heron. American White Ibis. Roseate Spoonbill. Lesser Yellowlegs. Long-billed Curlew. Short-billed Dowitcher. Least Sandpiper. Stilt Sandpiper. Whimbrel. Willet.
Sora and Clapper Rail.

• Trinidad / Tobago and Costa Rica. Notable sightings were the Scarlet Ibis in Trinidad and Jabiru, Wood Stork, Limpkin and various Heron species including Tiger Herons in Costa Rica.

Old World Region – about 40% of the species are likely to be seen:-

• Europe - West Siberian Lowland is east of Ural Mountains mostly in the territory of Russia. It covers an area of more than 975,000 sq.miles. This area has some of the world's largest swamps and floodplains. More than 50 percent is less than 100 m above sea level. The region is rich in lakes, rivers, swamps so Swans, Geese, Ducks, Grebes, Sandpipers, Snipes, Bittern, Heron and the Arctic Loon can be found.

• Vaccares, Camargue, France. - Rhone delta – 930 sq km. – It is situated at latitude 43.5 degrees north and consists of freshwater lakes, shallow brackish lagoons, saline lagoons, salt pans and reed marshes. Much of it is submerged in winter but it re-emerges in spring.

Mallard, Pochard. Little Grebe, Red-crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe. Grey and Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron. Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret. Great Cormorant, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill. Greater Flamingo.
Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot. Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet. Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Eurasian Dotterel. Ringed, Little-ringed and Kentish Plover. Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Common Snipe.
Common and Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank. Common, Green and Wood Sand pipers. Curlew Sandpiper. Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Temminck’s Stint, Dunlin. Common Kingfisher, White-throated Dipper.

Geese were absent; they prefer more northern latitudes. Swans, other Ducks and Teal absent.

• Hortobagy, Hungary – “Wet puszta” – resembles Asian rather than European wetlands. It consists of sedges, reeds and open water and is situated at latitude 53 degrees north.

Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Barnacle Goose, Mallard, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, Garganey, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Northern Shoveler, Common Shelduck, Northern Pintail. Little Grebe, Great-crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe. Grey, Purple, Squacco and Black-crowned Night Heron. Little and Great Bittern. Great and Little Egret. Great Cormorant, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill. Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt. Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing. Ringed, Little-ringed and Kentish Plover. Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Common Snipe, Jack Snipe. Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot. Common and Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank. Common and Green Sandpipers, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit.

• Africa - Rift Valley Lakes in Kenya.

Lake Naivasha is a fresh water lake about 50 miles north-west of Nairobi. It lies at an altitude of 1890 metres. Lake Nakuru is an alkaline lake about 90 miles north-west of Nairobi at an altitude of 1759 metres. Excellent for Flamingos! A tremendous spectacle.

Both these lakes are just below the equator – to the north of the equator we have Lake Baringo which is a vast (80 square miles) fresh water lake at an altitude of about 1000 metres. It lies about 175 miles north-north west of Nairobi. The lake attracts many water-birds including:-

African Darter, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Goliath, Purple, Green-backed and Black-crowned Herons, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, African Spoonbill, White-faced and Fulvus Whistling Ducks, Glossy Ibis and Garganey. The mud flats have Three-banded, Spur-winged and Kittlitz’s Plovers, Common Green and Wood Sandpipers. Greater Painted Snipe can be found in the reed-beds.

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