Monday, July 18, 2011

Colourful birds of the dry forest

I went with Gloriela to Penonome (Cocle province, central Panama), to spent the weekend. Of course, we visited Gloriela's dad finca in the outskirts of the town where the originally-planned cabin has become a huge building, looking almost like a fortress with several rooms and gardens, but still surrounded by a nice dry gallery forest and creeks. It is always nice to walk around, feeling the breeze and hearing the birds. One of the most active and colourful is the Rufous-capped Warbler. A group of noisy four of them were working the bushes and the understore close to the house, with one of them begging constantly for food... however, it looked like an adult to me, since it had the complete rufous cap and ear covers characteristic of this species. I easily attracted them by "pishing"... these were very curious birds and I even managed a nice photograph of one of them. Close to them, I heard the unmistakable sound of a Lance-tailed Manakins lek. After a while, I found at least four adult males loosely associated, perched and vocalizing, but I saw no females around. Around the property, I have identified by ear at least four different leks of these beutiful birds, but actually seeing them is more difficult because they like the tangled understore were they perch flying only if a female, or a competitor, approaches. Sometimes, the birds are perched considerably higher in the tree than you expect. I barely got these photos, including a curious male quite high in the canopy, with a "puffy" look, raised red crest and wings dropped down (displaying?). I could spent hours admiring these guys, but I have to admit that sometimes it is frustating because you can hear them very close to you and still remain elusive! I will try to get better pictures next time.

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