Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Holidays in Darien. Part II

After a great Good Friday birding at the Pirre ranger station in the Darien National Park, the morning of march 3rd was filled with a festive air. The plans for that day included a visit to a nearby forest, known as Uroseca in the morning, and to visit the town of Pinogana and environs during the evening. Again, the bushes in front of Doña Lola's produced a Pale-bellied Hermit in town, while the Black-throated Mangos worked the Inga flowers. We waited for the car to pick up us and eventually we where on route to Uroseca. We dropped from the car close to a water reservoir and started to walk through pastures, finding many open land birds including a noisy flock of Dickcissels, two Gray Hawks, Blue-and-black Grassquits, Red-breasted Blackbirds and flocks of Eastern Kingbirds all over the place. Once in the forest, the things changed: the birding became slower, with scattered birds around. A single Gray-headed Kite soared over our heads while a Rufous-breasted Hermit and a Blue-chested Hummingbird feed in a bunch of Heliconias. A pair of Mealy Amazon were taking advantage of some palm fruits and hundreds of Turkey Vultures plus Broad-winged and Swainson's Hawks were heading north in their migration. We were not seeing any eastern Panama specialty until we reached a clearing in the forest, surrounded by fruiting Cecropias and Melastomas. There, our luck changed. We saw both Masked and Black-crowned Tityras, Long-tailed Tyrants and a Sirystes singing (all of them really nice black and white birds). Then, a big mixed flock appeared with Plain-colored, Golden-hooded, Scarlet, Yellow-backed and Scarlet-browed Tanagers, the last one being a life bird for me. The beautiful black males with those fancy eyebrows and the contrasting yellow rump were simply amazing! We saw also Thick-billed and Yellow-crowned Euphonias, a group of at least 15 Blue Ground-Doves, Streak-crowned Woodcreeper and Black-chested Jays among others. It was hard to leave the place, but we already arranged with the driver to pick up us around noon to have lunch. Back in El Real, almost we all had a well-deserved deserved nap until the time scheduled for our visit to the town of Pinogana (20 minutes away). The town of Pinogana, at the shores of the Tuira river, looked very like El Real, with its narrow street and happy people. We walked a trail beyond the town, to a forest border, finding common birds plus a Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, first noted by its call and then, checking its field marks confirmed the id. Again, the Eastern Kingbirds were everywhere, feeding in some red berries along with Scarlet Tanagers and other migrants. Once in the border, we found a pair of Black-chested Jays attending a nest, an Orange-crowned Oriole and a Red-rumped Woodpecker, which was new for the trip. It was getting late and we started to walk back, along the road to El Real, finding a Laughing Falcon and hearing a Black Antshrike, both new for the trip list. Great birding day, including two life birds for me! I was just wondering what was waiting for us next day.

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