Monday, May 21, 2012

An elegant bird

I spend this afternoon with my family in Costa del Este, Panama City.  Of course I was looking for the American Avocets that have been wandering around and that I saw some days after my arrival from my trip to northern South America in march (also with my family).  Even from the highway connecting directly Panama City with Costa del Este (the South Corridor), it was evident that the tide was perfect, with waters rich in nutrients, considering the hundreds of gulls, pelicans, frigatebirds and cormorants that were feeding (those ships are waiting to enter the Panama Canal).
I knew in advance (thanks to Osvaldo, Rafael and Itzel) that the Avocets have been seen recently in the opposite side of the river that we usually bird, close to the mangroves, so I inspected the site with my binoculars... the place was full of shorebirds and gulls!
The most common shorebird was the Willet, followed by the Whimbrel.  Others shorebirds present in good numbers were Short-billed Dowitcher, several unidentified peeps (surely more than one species), Black-bellied Plovers and Spotted Sandpipers (actually wearing spots!).  The only gull was the Laughing Gull (as expected).
There was also a nice flock of beautiful Marbled Godwits... but they were shy and flew as soon as I tried to approach them (can you identify the others shorebirds flying with them?).
I did found an avocet.  A lonely adult was standing in the surf, away of the others shorebirds.  Despite my search, I was unable to find the others avocets (usually six or seven are seen).  I have to admit that this is a serious gorgeous bird... so elegant... and a MEGA rarity in Panama.
This excursion represent the highest number of avocets seen at the same time in Panama, and by far, the birds that have stayed the longest... even exhibiting their breeding plumages here in the tropics (for the first time in Panama).  One wonders if they will stay all the summer?


  1. I was birding Aguadulce salt ponds last week and found another 8 avocets there. My first thought was that the Costa del Este group was already migrating back north. When I got home and saw Itzel report it was obvious that the Aguadulce birds were another set!!!

  2. WHAT!!!!!!! Avocets invasion!!!!! Photos?

  3. Venico´s Avocets here: