Friday, June 22, 2012

Breaking News: Black-bellied Whistling-Duck!

I just received word late this afternoon, along with the photo above, of a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck that was found in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, which is in Knox County. The bird was found towards dusk on Wednesday evening, and hopefully is still in the area. Vagrant whistling-ducks do sometimes have a tendency to stick, and with luck so will this one.

Here are the directions, as provided to me: "The duck turned up in an apartment complex called The Arbors of Mount Vernon. They are on Yauger Rd., just off of 36 at the east end of town. I hope some folks can find it. As I said, we are close to the Kokosing River, and about 20 minutes south of Knox lake." A map is below:

Note the pond just south and west of the apartments, which are outlined in red. That might be a good starting point in a search for the whistling-duck.

Following is a note from the observer: "Last night [Wednesday, June 20] as I was sitting on my patio, a duck flew over the roof of the apartment, and then it landed on the roof. I had never seen a duck land on a roof. It stood very upright, had a black belly, a chestnut breast, and sent up a long sing-song cry. I immediately got my iPad to identify it. It turned out to be a black bellied whistling duck! The call on the website was identical. The duck flew away, but as I played the call, it returned and landed again on the roof, whistling a reply. I took a few pictures and a video, but it was so high that the quality is poor. I did get the call on the video though."

Here's a photo of a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck that I took in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas a few years back. This species is expanding its range, and extralimital northern records are becoming more commonplace. Ohio's first record dates to 2004. That bird, which was near Cincinnati, also turned up in an a suburban apartment complex. Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks can be quite "tame" and often frequent highly urbanized locales. Our second record was found by Larry Richardson in August 2010 at Pipe Creek Wildlife Area on Lake Erie.

I'm sure we'll be seeing yet more of these wonderful gooselike whistling-ducks, and good luck with the chase should you try and find this Knox County bird.


OPShots1 said...

How very cool...I would love to see one of these up here!

Nomadic Birder said...

Hopefully it sticks around until Saturday - then I can make a quick detour as I drive to Trumbull Co. from Darke Co. Thanks for getting the word out!