Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Flycatchers, wrens and warblers in Metro Park

I went this afternoon to the Metropolitan Natural Park (Panama City) trying to find the Worm-eating Warbler reported by Osvaldo Quintero some days ago. I reached the place by noon, and in spite of the time, the activity was great. I didn't find my target (this time), but I still had a great time. The first thing I noticed was the noise: almost all the resident species were vocalizing and calling, many of them were with nesting materials in their beaks. Surely this is a busy season for them. I had the opportunity to have side-by-side views of two flycatchers species that are hard to identify: a Yellow-olive Flycatcher and a Greenish Elaenia. Both are superficially similar and share similar habitats, but you can notice the broad bill of the flycatcher and its pale iris. Also, both were calling, making easier for me the ID. Notice that both are carrying nesting material too. It was impressive the number of flycatcher species present in the Mono Tití trail (were I took all the photos): Southern Bentbill, Brown-capped, Southern Beardless, Yellow-crowned and Paltry Tyrannulets, Black-tailed, Ochre-bellied and Ruddy-tailed Flycatchers, just to mention a few! The Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher deserves a special mention... it must be the most handsome and cute of all the flycatchers in the park... just look at its face! It stayed still, curiously looking at me while I was taking the photos. Of course, I saw more than flycatchers. The forest by this time of the year is very dry, and many trees have lost most the leaves, making easier to watch the birds, including the skulkiers. I saw easily three wren species, but of course they were not easy to photograph. The Rufous-breasted Wren was the most active, but the beautiful Rufous-and-white Wren was the most vocal... you have to heard its loud and musical song to believe it! The Black-bellied Wren almost passed unnoticed, it was very quiet. It certainly have a black belly, but its white throat is very conspicuous in the dark interior of the undergrowth. Others skulkiers like antwrens, antbirds and antshrikes were also easy to see. And about the warblers, well... the site was excellent. In a same tree were Tennessee, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Bay-breasted and Black-and-white Warblers... but then, a flash of colour caught my attention: a male Golden-winged Warbler joined the flock, showing its bright golden wing panel... sweet!
Not only that. After a while, I detected movement in some tangles away from the main flock. A quick look with my binoculars confirmed my initial ID, a Magnolia Warbler, my second individual for this season! My poor photos are at least better than nothing, and they show at least the gray breast band over the yellow underparts and the grayish face with a white eye-ring. I also noticed in the field the two white wing bars and prominent black streaks to the flanks.
Well, very good walk in the park... and I still have an excuse to keep visiting it (still need my Worm-eating Warbler for this season).

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