Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Looking for a particular branch

I went yesterday to the Metropolitan Natural Park in Panama City to photograph a particular bird that has been reported for that place since a month ago, more or less. You might think that I was very optimistic considering that I was looking for a bird reported a month ago, but when the bird looks like and acts as the branch of a trunk, then it is possible. As you guessed, I wanted to find the Common Potoo that resides near the ranger station. Months ago, I photographed one of them in La Cieneguita trail behind the station (pic here) and I simply wanted to get another pic. Prepared with my bins and camera, I asked the ranger if he knews the bird that "looks like a branch" and he answered "you mean the potoo? I'll show you". I followed him to the park-like forested area between the station and the main street and there it was... ridiculously exposed and close to the station, a Common Potoo in full daylight, resting, trusting in its camouflaged plumage to go unnoticed. The red eye in the second photo is due to my flash, an adaptation for its nocturnal habits. It took me merely three minutes to find the bird (with the help of the ranger of course). And that's all folks. Just kidding. I decided to walk the Mono Titi trail despite the heat of the day (after all I was there... why not?). Of course I heard many birds... but to see one was other thing because the time of the day (almost noon). The calls of a Collared Forest-Falcon encouraged me to continue. It sounded like a distant weeping in an enchanted forest. I found a troop of monkeys of which the trail takes its name. They are not "tities", but tamarins.... Geoffrey's Tamarins to be exact. I think they were as curious as I was. A White-nosed Coati and a pair of Central American Agoutis completed my mammals list for the day. Some birds in my heard-only list were (apart of the forest-falcon) Rosy Thrush-Tanager, White-bellied and Dusky Antbirds, Rufous-breasted, Rufous-and-white and Black-vented Wrens, Orange-billed Sparrow and Green Shrike-Vireo; but in the other hand I got great views of a Blue-crowned (Whooping) Motmot, a female Slaty-tailed Trogon, a Cocoa Woodcreeper inspecting a hole in a trunk, at least three flocks of Red-throated Ant-Tanagers (only a female stayed for a poor photo) and a colourful mixed flock with Blue Dacnises, White-shouldered Tanagers and Yellow-backed Orioles. Nice walk after all and I saw my potoo!

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