Sunday, March 13, 2011

Post-carnival trip to the highlands. Part III

After an excellent birding in La Amistad International Park the previous day, for our last day in the Chiriqui highlands (western Panama's Pacific slope), we planned a visit to the Volcan Lakes (Lagunas de Volcan, as in the colorful sign) in the morning before engaging in the 7-hours-drive back to Panama City. These lakes are at 1200 meters above the sea level and are surrounded by a nice forest. The entrance road was alive with tons of birds, most of them Rufous-collared Sparrows and Mountain Elaenias, but also the very vocal Pale-breasted Spinetail (and my photo shows it exactly how you usually find it in the field), at least one Slaty Spinetail, and a nice male Masked (Chiriqui) Yellowthroat for just two seconds. At the forest surrounding the lakes, a huge mixed flock contained Wilson's, Blackburnian, Tenessee, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, Rufous-capped and Golden-crowned Warblers plus two Slate-throated Whitestarts, which were not as photogenic as their relatives (the Collareds), always staying in the shade. Others species in the flock were Streak-headed Woodcreepers (a pair), Slaty Antwren, one Slaty-capped Flycatcher and a Plain Antvireo. However, this time the lakes were full of acquatic birds too.
As you can see in the pictures, we saw Northern Jacanas, hordes of American Coots, several Common (Moorhens) Gallinules and a group of very shy males and females Blue-winged Teals that dissappeared as soon as they detected our presence (I only managed very distant, poor photos for recording purposes only). Also in the lakes (but not in the photos) were several Purple Gallinules, a Great Blue Heron, Great Egrets, and both Least and Pied-billed Grebes. We recorded a good number of different species in just two hours. By the end, we stopped at a nearby coffee store where we enjoyed some hot beverages while admiring the magnificent view of the Baru volcano before heading home. This was an excellent swift trip to the highlands as always!
P.D.: just in case you are asking, it is in fact a House Wren using toilet paper as nesting material (at the coffee store).

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