Monday, November 29, 2010

Watching birds in Penonome

Taking advantage of the long weekend, I went with Gloriela and some relatives to Penonome (Cocle province, central Panama) in order to relax and to rest a little. Of course, many people did the same, so eventually we all met at Gloriela's dad "finca" in the outskirts of the town where he is constructing a little cabin (OK, is not so little after all). Is not finished yet, but at least it gave some shelter to avoid the noon sun or the november (heavy) rains. He have done a good job with what used to be pastureland... now the place looks more like a woodland with creeks and tons of trees (both native and introduced). Not only humans were attracted, birds were too. I had a great time walking around, taking photos of common (but entertaining) birds. The property is bordered in one side by a shallow river covered under the canopy of a gallery forest, home of species like Lance-tailed Manakins and Rufous-capped Warblers, with one making a brief appearance in response to my "pishing". The bold eyestripes contrast with the rufous head in a very nice way. I walked along the river, enjoying the sound of the running water and the freshness of the air. Eventually, I decided to left the river to explore more hilly parts of the property, with scattered bushes and low trees typical of the coclesian savannah. I found some typical species of this open habitat, including some raptors (Roadside Hawk, Crested Caracara) and the very common Fork-tailed Flycatcher. Several pairs were vocalizing and I even saw a beautiful male doing an aerial exhibition (impressive). These birds are well-known by locals with the name "tijereta", allusive to the long, forked tail. This habitat is also typical of the Mouse-colored Tyrannulet. I heard its distinctive call in several places and saw few individuals briefly. They sound like a tiny evil laugh. The Lesser Elaenias were also common, just like their close relatives, the Yellow-bellied Elaenias. Both of them are known as "moñonas" despite the less obvious "moño" (crest) of the Lessers. The flycatchers are a very important group of birds in this habitat. Other flycatchers seen and/or heard were Social, Streaked, Acadian, Panama and Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern and Tropical Kingbirds, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Yellow-crowned and Southern Beardless Tyrannulets and a Great Kiskadee. Have you noticed how many medium to large-sized flycatchers exhibit the same facial and overall pattern of the kiskadee? It is suppose that all them evolved to look just like this agressive, adaptable and successful species. Interesting eh? The flycatchers are not the only ones found there. Closer to the cabin, in a quite humid spot with many fruiting trees, I found several tanagers (and former tanagers species) along with some other frugivorous birds and some bathing birds (that had nothing to do with the fruits).. One of those former tanagers was a male Summer Tanager (now merged with the cardinals), representing also the migrant species. More migrants (besides the migrant flycatchers listed before) were both Yellow and Tennessee Warblers (having a bath), many swallows and several Rose-breasted Grosbeaks in basic plumage. The place attracted many other species, like Black-striped Sparrows, tons of Clay-colored Thrushes, Streaked Saltator, Blue-gray and Palm Tanagers, Variable Seedeaters, Yellow-crowned Euphonias and a flock of Red-legged Honeycreepers (a female pictured here, but with the males looking similar except by their black wings). The last birds I photographed were the resident Lesser Goldfinches that were calling constantly. After a couple of hours of birding and trekking along the property, I finally relaxed while having a nice, unobstructed view of the majestic Guacamaya hill in the distance and enjoying the fresh breeze of the coclesian savannah accompanied by Gloriela and maaaany of our nephews!

1 comment:

  1. Your photography is great!
    Come check out World Bird Wednesday, a place for bird photographers to share their blogs. It going on at
    Your Invited!