Sunday, November 8, 2009

Inspecting the finca, and its birds

Despite we still have a lot of work in hand, taking care of some details at our new house in Penonome, we decided to rest a little and to visit the environs, passing by the finca. Gloriela's relatives were already there, having a picnic day. We joined her father, sister and nephews in a tour through the property, inspecting the conditions of the plants sowed during the past dry season and the advances in the construction of the cabin under a refreshing drizzle. I grabbed my camera and bins, noticing activity around the shrubbes and the wild flowers. Eventually, I left the group while following the calls and whistles of the birds in the surroundings. By the way, I added some new species to the growing bird list for the finca. The migrants were represented by Yellow Warblers and Northern Waterthushes, while the residents honeycreepers and euphonias (Bim-bim) were all around the place. A covey of Crested Bobwhites scared me when suddenly took off few feet from me; then, an angry individual was yelling Bob-Bobwhite from its perch on a tree, but still invisible to my eyes. In the wettest and most entangled area of the land, close to the creek, several males Lance-tailed Manakins were lekking incessantly, but I only got glimpses of them. An emerald-green flash over some flowers plus a quick shot with my camera produced the blurry (but nicely irridiscent) male Garden Emerald that I pictured here, looking like a flying jewel; while some Snowy-bellied Hummingbirds chased each other all over the place. The list is not complete without the flycatchers, with Lesser and Yellow-bellied Elaenias, Social and Streaked Flycatcher and Tropical Kingbirds being the commonest; but also recording Sepia-capped Flycatcher, Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet and, for the first time there, Mouse-colored Tyrannulet (small size, dull brown upperparts with buffy wingbars, eyering + eyebrow instead of only eyering as in Lesser Elaenia, etc...).
Also, we wanted to know the surrounding, including other fincas and communities. A short drive took us to three different rural communities in less than 60 minutes: Santa María, Cañaveral and Cerro Gordo. The last one was specially charming, a little town with traditional clay houses. There is located the beautifully arranged Finca La Peregüeta, owned by a former Panama Audubon Society president and an old friend: Norita. She transformed her land in a private natural reserve that holds a good number of birds (check out the section Birds to see at La Peregüeta on her webpage). By the way, peregüeta is a common tree in the area that produces little black fruits. Is good to know that some people care about preserving the environment for the next generations. With that in mind, we are back in the big city, hoping to return next weekend to that piece of land in Penonome.

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