Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter holidays in Darien. Part I

Recently, taking advantage of the Easter holidays' long weekend, a team of adventurers departed from Panama City in order to explore some new sites in Darien, Panama's easternmost province, the largest and less populated too. José Carlos García and Mahelis Rodríguez (of Birding Panama), Rafael Luck, Gloriela and I started our journey a little after 2:00 PM last thursday, aboard Rafel's FJ Cruiser. It was planned as a travel day, but we did a short stop over the Rio Mono bridge, an excellent place to start looking for eastern Panama specialties. And we were not dissapointed. We followed the characteristic call of a Barred Puffbird and after a while we got excellent views of this bird, allowing some photos. At the bridge itself, a molting male Black-tailed Trogon also showed up, along with a Cinnamon Becard, both of them quite common in that place. Notice the yellow bill of the trogon, which separates him from the similar Slaty-tailed Trogon, which is commoner where we usually bird (around Panama City). Some people ask why do we risk our lifes birding on the edge of a bridge where most of the drivers past rapid and furius (Gloriela included)?... well, we always took our precautions, the reason is simple: canopy-dwellers birds at eye-level. Don't trust me? Check the next photos of a male Rufous-winged Antwren that simply came close to have a glimpse at us.

Usually, you have to break your neck to get only belly-views... but there, I even got its back in the frame!

Eventually, we reached the town of Meteti, in central Darien province, our base for the next two days of birding. As a fun fact, the Hotel Felicidad, where we stayed for the night (waiting for the next day), was submerged in the loud calls of several Clay-colored Thrushes... not supposed to be in Darien, so I guess we started with the right foot our trip!

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