Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Back to the ponds!

I returned this afternoon to the Summit Ponds (central Panama), after visiting the place last monday, this time accompanying Rosabel Miró who wanted to see the White-eyed Vireo reported there. The place was crowded with two groups of birders, one of them guided by Carlos Bethancourt himself (who reported the rare migrant in the first place, he is at the far left). They were more interested in the residents Lance-tailed Manakins, so we focused on finding the rare vireo (for Panama). Not even 10 minutes after our arrival, we found the White-eyed Vireo exactly in the same tangles where I left it last monday! In the meanwhile, both groups departed to the ponds. Since a year ago, the Autoridad del Canal de Panama (ACP) prohibited the entry to the ponds and we lost a nice birding area, but Carlos got a permission so he was able to visit the ponds and the old Gamboa road that passes through them... so I infiltrate the group! Before reaching the ponds, a male Gartered Trogon welcomed us by perching over the road and vocalizing for the delight of all the birders... specially those with photographic equipment. The yellow underparts and eye ring are enough to recognize this species in Panama. My photo is a little overexposed, but still you can have an idea of the beautiful color pattern that this creature have. At the ponds, everyone was busy watching the birds that live there. This is one of the most reliable sites to find Boat-billed Herons, and of course we found two of them quietly resting on a branch over the water... I barely saw one individual last year because I was unable to visit these ponds. Others birds, regular in the area, were Lesser Kiskadee, Amazon and Green Kingfishers and Prothonotary Warbler. Then, Carlos spotted a heron perched quietly close to the road. The excitement was evident when he revealed that he got an immature Agami Heron. Despite its youth, it exhibited the long and thin bill plus the very long neck characteristic of the species. The heron also exhibited some blue feathers, specially in the wings, and a contrasting light blue crown... simply amazing! You know is still a young bird because of its mostly brown plumage, with white throat and underparts. This is just my third Agami Heron, and my first in the Summit Ponds where it have been reported before. Carlos called Rosabel, who was still at the vireo spot showing it to her husband Karl who arrived later, and then he continue his way deep inside the road. We stayed admiring the heron, watching it fishing and moving along the fallen trunk. What a great experience. After a while, Rosabel received another phone call from Carlos. He and his group saw an adult Rufous Nightjar on a nest. He gave us the directions, and we eventually reached the place... Carlos was kind enough to come back in order to show us the bird, which was magnificently camouflaged with its surrounding, as you can see in the photo. What a great manner to end the day. Carlos, thank you again for all the pretty birds!


  1. Rafa and I went yesterday and got 2 vireos! Thanks Jan for the directions!

  2. @enicio: two vireos! WOW, that's nice, congratulations!