My first birdwalk of the year was at Luis Latorre Park, in Itatiba (SP). It was a great surprise to discover such a large and well maintained urban park, so near home. And with so many birds! It is possible to find a great variety of species living in the park ponds, swamps and also in the woods. Another good news is that the park opens at 6AM, perfect time for birdwatching.
After entering the park and rounding the ponds (especially the second pond, which has more vegetation around) you can not fail to notice the huge amount of black and orange birds that sing beautifully and make a big mess. They are Chestnut-capped Blackbird males (the species at the cover of this post). The females are also there, but they are more discreet, in their brown plumage.
The ponds are also inhabited by many other birds. Some are there because of the fish, such as the Great Egret, the Striated Heron and the Amazon Kingfisher.
Other birds are more interested in the aquatic vegetation and the small invertebrates that live hiden there. It is easy to spot Common Gallinules and Brazilian Teals swimming. Male and female of Common Gallinules are identical, but the Brazilian Teals show sexual dimorphism. The male has a red beak, while the female has a dark gray beak and two white spots on the head. It is very common to see the couple swimming together.
Now in January we found many young birds, which were born just a short time ago. I was able to see Wattled Jacanas of all ages, with different plumages! What does not change is the size of the feet, which (with regard to proportion) are already huge even in the chicks.
Birds are not the only ones who enjoy the quiet life there in the ponds. The Coypu is easy to observe. I do not remember seeing this rodent so closely before (maybe at the zoo). Usually they are timid and run away as you approach. In the photo above you are not able to see, but the Coypu has membranes between the toes, which facilitates the locomotion in the water.
In the woods we spotted Orange-headed Tanager, Masked Yellowthroat, Variegated Flycatcher, Chestnut-vented Conebill, among many others… I believe that with some extra time it would be possible to find several species of birds there, but I ended up spending most of the time with the birds in the ponds, which are larger and easier to photograph.
At 10 o’clock in the morning it was already scorching. We were thinking about returning home. On the way back we spotted this female White-headed Marsh Tyran. From far away it resembles a Masked Water-Tyrant (a very common species in the park) but when you get closer you realize that the female White-headed Marsh Tyranis is big-headed and has a yellow jaw. The male is unmistakable, black with a white head. It is a very nice species to spot, because it is docile and allows you to approach. We made a true photographic essay!
On the way back we had a quick bite at Café com Historia, a very nice place that is near the entrance to the park. Built with orange painted containers, it is easy to find. Delicious meals and great service.