The very same day that I left Panama in order to begin my birding trip to northern South America, I received a phone call from my friend Osvaldo Quintero (I was already in Colombia). During a routine visit to Costa del Este (Panama City), he watched at least four American Avocets at the mouth of the Matías Hernández river. Can you imagine? The target bird of ALL those field trips to the Aguadulce saltponds (Cocle province) and now it was merely 10 minutes from my apartment in Panama... but I was in Colombia!! OK, after my arrival to Panama (18 days later), I took a day to catch up with Gloriela and my daughter Gabrielle... but the next day I took all my family to a quick visit to Costa del Este. I tried first the river itself, watching a big flock of Black-necked Stilts, but alas, no avocets (bonus Lesser Yellowlegs in the photo).
Most of the previous records for Panama describe one bird accompanying a flock of stilts... but it seems that this was not the case in Costa del Este (more than one bird and definitively NOT with the stilts). I moved to the mouth of the river... watching first a group of Southern Lapwings yelling at me.
By the bridge, I saw two foreign birders inspecting the beach. I introduced myself and started the search of the avocets with my binoculars. With surprise, I found a group of seven American Avocets resting quite far away... so I called Gloriela (with Gabrielle) to see the birds as well. Steve and Jackson (the foreign birders) already saw the avocets... but they were more interested in the Southern Lapwings (they don't have these plovers in New Jersey), completely unaware of the genuine rarity of this bird in Panama.
They kindly left Gloriela and me to use their scope... the views were excellent and the excitement very hard to describe. Well, after a mega trip with so many lifers, an extra lifer at your front yard is more than welcomed!
|Daddy, I want to see too!|