Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shorebird close to home

I almost forgot how much I like to watch shorebirds at the Panama Viejo / Costa del Este mudflats. The upper Bay of Panama is an hemispherical important site of the route of migrating shorebirds from the Artic to South America (and beyond!). Each year, hundreds of thousands peeps and other shorebirds make an stop to refuel, or to stay all the winter. But the more important fact is that it is right by the city. I went to Panama Viejo this morning, taking advantage of the early high tide, and found tons of cooperative shorebirds. If they were cooperative? Well, just check out these photos (they were all taken today):The Semipalmated Sandpipers were the most common peeps, outnumbering the Western Sandpipers.This absolutely gorgeous juvenile Least Sandpiper allowed some photos. There were many adults as well. The Spotted Sandpiper is the most widely distributed shorebird in Panama, found almost everywhere if there is water around. I still need a photo of one really "spotted".If you see a dowitcher in Panama, it certainly is a Short-billed Dowitcher. Several flocks, including birds wearing breeding and non-breeding plumages, were present. The pale, bigger bird accompanying them in the second photo is a Willet
The strong, colourful and contrasting pattern of the Ruddy Turnstone is amazing. This bird rules!
These flying birds are Surfbirds. I counted at least 40 birds in that single flock!
The Whimbrel is found year-round in Panama, but definitively is more common during the winter. At least 15 birds were scattered at the mudflats.Contrary to the Whimbrels, there is usually only one Long-billed Curlew in these mudflats. Patiently, surely you'll find it, usually feeding independently of other big shorebirds.The plovers were well represented. From top to bottom, these are: a pair of Semipalmated Plover (migrant, but the most common plover in Panama), Wilson's Plover (resident, this seems to be a juvenile) and Collared Plover (resident -and cute-, this also seems to be a young bird). I also saw many Black-bellied Plovers and three Southern Lapwings in the area (but they were not close enough). Add to this list the American Golden-Plover recently reported at Costa del Este by Carlos Bethancourt and you will get the picture of how special is this place!

I tried to find the American Golden-Plover at Costa del Este, but when I got there, all the birds were too far away in the mudflats, so I didn't find it. Anyway, a Franklin's Gull wearing most of its breeding plumage was a great consolation prize.


  1. Muy bueno, la proxima me invitas

  2. @ Tania: cuando quieras. Voy a estar iendo regularmente ya que esta tan cerca. Por ahi te llamo a ver si tienes tiempo.