Sunday, March 20, 2011

More migrants and skulkers in Metro Park

The Ovenbird was not the only bird we found and photographed during our last visit to the Metropolitan Natural Park in Panama City yesterday. In fact, despite we did not walk a lot, we found many species taking advantage of the fruiting trees in the first part of the Mono Titi trail. In a single tree, hordes of migrant tanagers, warblers and vireos were taking the fruits desperately, in preparation for the upcoming flight to their breeding grounds in the north. A cooperative Yellow-throated Vireo stayed enough for photos. It was singing, something rarely heard for this species in Panama. Others migrants at the same tree were the vocal Summer Tanagers, Yellow, Bay-breasted and Chestnut-sided Warblers. Also, some residents were in the same tree, with Yellow-green Vireos, Scrub Greenlets, Northern Scrub-Flycatchers and White-shouldered Tanagers being the most numerous. We walked a little uphill along the Mono Titi trail, hearing the distrinctive scolding calls of the Red-throated Ant-Tanagers, the only birds that really pay attention to my insistent "pishing". You can see in the photo the contrasting red throat of the male of this species. However, the Red-crowned Ant-Tanager is also found in the park (probably the most reliable site for this species in central Panama), and coincidentally, we managed to find a group of three of these birds. My photo shows a young adult, still with some yellowish feathers, but already showing the more uniform red color to the body, without a contrasting throat (the males of both species have red crowns). These furtive tanagers have little, if any, to do with ants. More often are found in small groups or with mixed flocks, but rarely following army ants or alikes. Also confusingly, these birds are not exactly tanagers, they are more related to the grosbeaks, buntings and allies than to the tanagers, and some authorities consider them part of that family (Cardinalidae). Not too far, a mixed flock with more warblers included a rare, but regular, Blackpoll Warbler, a Canada Warbler and a Worm-eating Warbler only heard. Despite my photo of the Canada Warbler is out of focus, it is evident the diagnostic collar and the spectacles of this attractive warbler. Back to the entrance, we took El Roble trail, heading directly to the Ovenbird's spot, finding not only the Ovenbird, but also a male Kentucky Warbler exactly in the same place, very active and constantly chipping. My poor photo in the dark interior of the forest shows the facial pattern with the distinctive black mask (and I'm posting the photo here to continue the bad-photos-of-good-warblers festival). After a while, after loosing the warblers in the dense undergrowth, we detected more movement in the fallen leaves of the forest floor: a mixed flock of skulkers was passing by, including Rufous-and-white and Rufous-breasted Wrens, Dot-winged Antwren, Dusky Antbirds and a male White-bellied Antbird that was inspecting the area looking for something to eat. This antbird is handsome, with its black throat and chest contrasting with the white belly and the chestnut-rufous back. At least that individual allowed good pictures, a great end to a day full of skulkers and never-resting birds in the city!


  1. @Jennifer: thank you. Today, the activity was great too, specially the migrants again!