Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A short walk in Metro Park

The Metropolitan Natural Park, at the heart of Panama City, is a very accesible site that can be visited in a couple of hours. After a long day of duties in several sites in the city, Gloriela and I decided to have short walk in the main trails at the park during the afternoon. It was hot and very quiet, and the activity was low. Many of the trees have lost its leaves and the ground is covered in dry leaves, so you can heard the animals (including skulking birds) while they move from one side to another. That was how we found a pair of Dusky Antbirds (female pictured here), only following the noise they made while inspecting some dead leaves very low in a bush. We also detected a beautiful male Rosy Thrush-Tanager and a female White-bellied Antbird by the noise they produced while skulking in the dry leaves at the ground level. Both were life birds for Gloriela. It is hard to describe the experience: a fantastic black bird with deep pink underparts and eyebrow. This tanager is a speciality of this park, where you usually heard it year-long. Because of its habits, voice and shape, this tanager recalls a thrasher more than any other tanager... I suppose that the last word about the relations of this bird is not yet mentioned. Because of the season, there are many flowering trees in the area, covered by orioles, dacnises, honeycreepers and hummingbirds. Almost at the top of the Mono Titi trail, we found a mixed flock with Red-legged Honeycreepers, Blue Dacnis, White-shouldered Tanagers, Tropical Gnatcatcher and Scarlet-rumped Caciques. We stayed 15 minutes, while others birds were showing up: Black-bellied, Rufous-breasted and Rufous-and-White Wrens, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Chestnut-sided and Bay-breasted Warblers, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulets, etc... We returned through La Cieneguita trail, finding a group of Geoffroy's Tamarins and a scared White-nosed Coati, the only mammals we found (apart of some hikers of course). Very close to the end of the trail, a pair of Slaty-tailed Trogons gave us a colourful show, perching and vocalizing very close to us. I think they were inspecting us... maybe they were nesting nearby but we didn't see any nest hole. After two hours we were again at the entrance, after enjoying a nice afternoon among nature marvels here in the big city.

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