Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weekend at the highlands. Part II

Just a quick note about our second day at the Chiriqui highlands (western Panama). You can read my account about the previous day here. In advance, I'm sorry for the lack of photos... we were more interested in actually SEEING the birds because several were lifers for Gloriela and year-birds for me (including a loooooong-desired Panama´s life bird for me) and, again, the light was awful for photographing. The photos I got were not good enough (even for my standards!), but at least the birds are more or less recognizable. We left the car at the Volcan airstrip to walk the entrance road to the Volcan Lakes, a RAMSAR site well-known by birders. Few birds in that open area, but we saw (and heard) both Slaty and Pale-breasted Spinetails, lots of Tennessee Warblers and Rufous-collared Sparrows and even an impressive Lineated Woodpecker. The road was flooded in some parts, so I had to load Gloriela on my back several times because I was the only one wearing rubber boots (the things we do for the birds... but I did not worry at all because she is a light weight birder). At the forest surrounding the lakes, the activity was furious. A huge mixed flock, including residents and migrants, took the place. Just to list a few, we found a trio of Smoky-brown Woodpeckers, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, Tennessee, Golden-winged, Black-and-white, Wilson's, Three-striped, Rufous-capped and Golden-crowned Warblers, Philadelphia and Yellow-breasted Vireos, Cherrie's, Summer and Flame-colored Tanagers. The trail to the lakes was completely flooded, so we were unable to check it for ducks or coots (but we heard a pair of Gray-necked Wood-Rails very close to us). But the bird of the day was found in the way out. With a group of Slate-throated Whitestars and Red-faced Spinetails was a beautiful male Red-headed Barbet, my looong-desired Panama's life bird (after seeing it in Costa Rica, Peru and Colombia) and a spectacular lifer for Gloriela! Great way to call it a day at the highlands!

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