Monday, November 2, 2009

Visiting the Aguadulce Salinas

While having a good time in Penonome yesterday, I came with the idea to visit the Aguadulce salinas with the afternoon high tide. Gloriela agreed, and my sister-in-law and her son joined us since they didn't know the site. Despite the evaporation ponds (the "salinas") are reduced from their former extent, they still are a good place for vagrant migratory birds, specially shorebirds and other aquatic species. The rain fell down on us with all its force at Aguadulce town. Anyway, I kept driving the route towards El Salado port, watching the rain covering the ponds. At El Salado, the day began to clear, and we started to watch some birds. The sea was furious, flogging the fishermen's small boats in the port. Somehow, the pelicans, cormorants and frigatebirds managed to fly with that wind. A closer examination of a pair of terns flying inland proved that they were Caspians, while a lonely and unexpected Blue-footed Booby quickly flew through the oceanfront. With our increasing luck, we decided to check out again the ponds. This time, we saw many waders and shorebirds in its shores. We stoped aside in order to photograph a nice Great Egret when I noticed some pink flashes far away in the horizon that proved to be at least ten Roseate Spoonbills, accompanied by pelicans, egrets and even a Wood Stork. I know the above photo doesn't do justice to them... that is why I'm also including an old picture (in the former Tocumen marshes) to give you an idea of the spectacle. We realized that they were not getting closer, so we amused ourselves with the nearby shorebirds, including Least, Semipalmated, Western and Spotted Sandpipers, Greater Yelowlegs, Whimbrels, Willets and Black-necked Stints. It started to rain again, so we headed back to Penonome to have our dinner, and then back to Panama city... always under a constant rain. Nice way to spent the weekend!

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