Friday, July 24, 2009

PAS Fieldtrip to Santa Fe

Last weekend I went with Gloriela to western Panama to attend the PAS fieldtrip to Santa Fe National Park, in the Veraguas' highlands. The trip started on friday when we decided to visit Las Macanas marsh in Herrera before heading north to Santa Fe. We not stayed long because of the rising heat, but still found some central lowlands specialties like Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Glossy Ibis, lots of herons, Mouse-colored Tyrannulet, and an Aplomado Falcon in the access road. The telephone poles along the Carretera Nacional held many raptors, including caracaras, Savanna Hawks and at least other three Aplomados! It was a nice beginning for the trip. After getting some supplies in Santiago, we drove the windy road to Santa Fe, arriving with the last light and meeting the others six PAS members that were attending the trip, including Karl and Rosabel Kaufmann, our guides. Soon we heard the characteristic call of a Feruginous Pygmy-Owl. Although I thought it was far away, Rosabel used her spotlight and almost immediately showed us the little bird perched on the tree right in the center of the garden! Wow, it was a very good first fieldtrip bird. The next day, early in the morning, we took the Altos de Piedra - Guabal road, but unfortunately, the first car got stuck in a mud pool beyond Altos de Piedra. Part of the group kept walking the road to a tributary of the Mulaba river, where is a sign indicating the boundaries for the national park.

Along the road we saw Black-faced Grosbeaks, Crimson-collared, Flame-rumped, Bay-headed and Plain-colored Tanagers, aracaris and toucans, and a flock of Sulphur-winged Parakeets. Soon the rest of the group reached us after some locals help them with the cars. Beyond that particular mud pool, the road is in good conditions all the way to Guabal, in the Caribbean slope. We stopped close to the site where the new facilities of the park are being constructed, around 600 to 800 meters above sea level, barely still on the Pacific slope. We noticed some flock activity, mainly Dusky-faced Tanagers, in some fruiting Melastomas. Then someone noticed a quite different bird accompanying the tanagers. Soon we recognized it as a Bush-Tanager (and the Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager had been reported from that site), with dull olive upperpart (including crown), gray face and throat (with no yellow or white), black iris, dull yellow breast band (contrasting) and whitish gray underparts, making it a Ashy-throated Bush-Tanager, a bird only known from Bocas del Toro's foothills (in Panama). Happy with the finding, we attempt to reach the Continental Divide, but a rainstorm hit us, making us return to our hotel. We spent the evening in Altos de Piedra, under a cloudy sky. Little bird activity, but a promising habitat for next day's mourning. After the dinner, we saw how the panamenian soccer team was defeated by the americans due to a penal kick in the second time. A bit sad, we fall asleep with the calls of our resident pygmy-owl. Sunday mourning was cloudy, but anyway we birded the Altos de Piedra trail, finding woodcreepers, antbirds, antshrikes and flatbills, all typical of more humid forests. After a long search, we managed to locate the Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush that was singing in the understore. The last bird seen was a Violet Sabrewing inside the forest, close to a bunch of Heliconias. After all, we enjoyed a nice mix of birds and great landscapes from windy roads with a group of old and new friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment