African locals

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A multi-species bird gathering: to the left an immature Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber), next a Cattle Egret in breeding plumage, then one in non-breeding plumage. The fourth is a Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata).

For this post I dug up some video fragments from one of my older archives. To get these shots I had to wade ankle deep through muddy mangrove muck to a spot nearby this colony of Cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis). Surrounded by squabbling adults (they were fighting each other, not me. In fact, they barely took notice of me) I encountered several nests. The young start clambering around at a very early age, and they’ll cuddle together while waiting for the adults to return with fresh catch from the sea.

Cattle egrets are a relatively recent addition to the local fauna. The first record for Curacao is from May 1967. This species came all the way from Africa. It is amazing to realize, that these egrets were able to cross the Atlantic to ‘conquer’ northern South America and our Islands.

I left the original sound track in place, so you can hear the constant human-induced noise the animals have to live with. They clearly did not care, nor are they afraid to hunt for insects and small lizards on busy road intersections.

One of my goals for the coming months is to record these birds and their nesting behavior once again, but this time in High Definition. Doing that at the same location is something I can forget about, unfortunately. The mangroves these egrets called home are gone. All in the name of economic development. We can be ‘proud’ of ourselves again.

Leon Pors

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