Sunday, February 27, 2011

Visiting the Metro Park

I don't know why I don't visit more often the Metropolitan Natural Park. It is right here in Panama City and holds a huge list of both resident and migrant species. Trying to change that, I went this morning to the Mono Titi trail, where I joined Osvaldo Quintero. The park is quite popular, and we crossed several groups of joggers, birders, trekkers, or people simply having a walk through nature. At first, we saw mostly big-sized birds, like the always-present Blue-crowned Motmot, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, White-tipped Doves, at least three Scaled Pigeons high on a tree, some Slaty-tailed Trogons heard and a female Black-throated Trogon that welcomed us with her calls. Is when you see the female of this species that you understand why its scientific name is Trogon rufus. Then, we started to see the smaller species of tanagers, greenlets, flycatchers and warblers that are very common in these forests. Of course, we were paying more attention to the warblers and other migrants. In the lookout, the fruiting trees were full of migrants, including several Bay-breasted Warblers, some of them acquiring parts of their breeding plumage. Other migrants present were tons of Great Crested Flycatchers, Yellow-throated Vireos vocalizing and Chestnut-sided and Yellow Warblers. Soon the lookout got crowded with a group of little children, and the place became quite noisy... time to move on. In the way out, we find others common residents of the park, like the Red-throated Ant-Tanagers, both Scarlet and Yellow rumped Caciques, and a immature male Lance-tailed Manakin calling and displaying, allowing some great pictures. As you can see in the photo, this male still have some olive in its plumage. At the entrance, by "The Fortress", a mixed flock stopped us for a while. We saw one active Black-tailed Flycatcher, fanning its tail and exposing its yellow rump, several Southern Bentbills, Yellow-margined Flycatchers and Greenish Elaenia. We also got more Chestnut-sided and Bay-breasted Warblers plus another Yellow-throated Vireo and resident Plain-colored Tanagers. A calling bird out in the open turned out to be a Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, who stayed for photos. We waited in front of a fruiting tree waiting for the mixed flocks to pass, but we only got some Red-legged Honeycreepers and more Plain-colored Tanagers. In the other side of the field, a group of birders, guided by our friend José Carlos, were focused on a patch of tangles where they heard, and then saw, a rare White-eyed Vireo (!!!), and a coperative Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant that showed well when we finally arrived to the place (but the vireo left). The pale eye of the pygmy tyrant is not very conspicuous in the field, but you can see in my photo its pale legs and mandible, plus its compact size. By the end, at a mango tree right in the entrance, a pair of Green Honeycreepers were inspecting the dead leaves... both of them stopped their duties to have a look at me. For a short walk, we saw tons of birds... definitively I will try to visit more often this place!

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