February is the month to watch once again for rare and unexpected birds visiting the island of Curacao. After the Cocoi Heron on the 16th of February, the elusive Whistling Heron was seen once again on the island on February 17th followed by the new record of a Double-striped Thick-knee.
February 23rd was the day to finally spot the very elusive Double-Striped Thick-knee, a species we were on the lookout for, for years, and has finally appeared in a location with increased security measures which makes it difficult for birders to safely visit. The fact that it is also the number 1 hotspot for birds on the island makes it increasingly popular under birdwatchers, and also a pity that unregulated visits to this area are now making it almost off-limits to birders.
So this is a warning to all birders visiting the island as well as local birdwatchers: Blue Bay Golf and Beach resort is considering prohibiting the visit of birders because of life-threatening situations on the golf course. There have been too many situations of birders not taking the golfers into account and even presuming that golfers need to take a break to wait for the birders to finish. There have been some near-misses with golf balls almost hitting birders who were out on the courts without taking signs into account. Bird Watching Curacao is currently negotiating possibilities with the management and as such, we urge everyone not to visit the golf course to do birdwatching. The only areas accessible to birders is the Golf Club terrace from which you have some good views, or the beach. People who access the golf course will be taken off by the security employees with added possibilities of a full prohibition for birders on the premises. We urge you all to take the rules into account and prevent the area to be completely inaccessible in the future. (PLEASE READ THIS WARNING CAREFULLY)
Fellow birder Peter van de Broek suddenly spotted the Double-Striped Thick-knee from the terrace on February 23rd. The last record of this species dates from more than 30 years ago and as such this is a truly wonderful find.
Double-striped Thick-knees are large wading birds measuring up to 50 cm in length. It is a native bird to Central and South America but can also be found on the island of Hispaniola. Even though it belongs to the wader family it prefers a habitat of open grass or savanna-like features where it hunts for insects, small vertebrates, and other invertebrates, particularly at night.
ENGLISH: Double-striped Thick-knee
NEDERLANDS: Caribische griel
PAPIAMENTU: Snepi di mondi
SCIENTIFIC: (Burhinus bistriatus)