Saturday, March 19, 2011

A faithful Ovenbird

Last weekend, the participants of the Panama Audubon Society (PAS) beginners' walk in the Metropolitan Natural Park (Panama City) were lucky enough to find an Ovenbird, a scarce migrant to central Panama (specially in the Pacific side). The information appeared in the PAS' facebook page with detailed instructions to find it along El Roble trail. So, I got my binoculars and my camera and went to the park, after work hours, last tuesday... but the day was clouded, dark and it was raining. Anyway, I entered the trail and in the way back I found the Ovenbird right where I was expecting it! Too dark for photos, so I delighted myself watching the little creature walking deliberately in the forest floor without making any noise. The park was about to close so I left the trail after 10 minutes watching the bird.
Two days ago, the afternoon was sunny and warm, perfect for another visit to the park in order to relocate the Ovenbird and, who knows, maybe get some pictures. For my surprise (I have to admit it), the bird was EXACTLY where I left it two days before! The site was dark anyway, despite the bright sun, so my efforts to photograph it resulted in poor pictures that, at least, show the essential field marks to recognize the bird (first photo).
Then, I went this morning for another try. This time, Osvaldo Quintero was waiting for me at the Ovenbird's spot. When I reached him, the bird was standing in the ground right in front of him... and he still had not noticed it! I pointed the bird to him and, eventually, we both got better pictures.
The bird simply continued doing its things practically ignoring us, faithful to its patch of forest floor but never totally exposed or in the open. Sometimes it was frustating trying to get a picture of the bird because it seldom stopped and was always behind a tangle, a leaf or a stick; but at least we managed to capture decent pics. Another warbler for this season's collection!
This post was submitted to Bird Photography Weekly # 134. Make sure to visit all the links!


  1. I think those are exceptional shots of the Ovenbird for those conditions Jan! The last three photos are really good. Isn't it strange that sometimes birds stay in one place for long periods of time and sometimes they are passing through so quickly we are lucky to see them at all?

  2. I too think you have some great photos of the Ovenbird, even with dark conditions. This bird summers up here and I can't wait until they return.

  3. @Larry: this season has been exceptionally good for migrants staying in the same place for long periods of time, some of them VERY RARE for Panama, like Cape May Warbler and American White Pelican!
    @MaineBirder: it isn't great to enjoy the same birds in places separated by thousands of miles?