Sunday, August 12, 2012

At the dry forest

Last month, the Cubilla family spend a wonderful weekend at the beach of Coronado (central Panama), along with our neighbors, friends and "compadres": the Rojas family.  Besides the sun, the relaxing time and the beach, I decided to visit the Eugene Eisenmann Natural Pathway, a heart-shaped trail through one of the last patch of dry forest (bosque seco) remaining in the so-called "dry arc" of Panama, and I brought Gloriela and Gabrielle with me.
Most of you recognize Eugene Eisenmann as one of the most important ornithologist of the last century, but probably you didn't know that he was panamanian, and the Eisenmann family has been linked to the Coronado community since its origins, so its is not strange that this path, and the forest itself are named honoring him.  A dirt road connect the entrance (where the colorful mural is, painted by the renown kuna artist Olodwagdi) to the loop trail at an open, sandy, highly eroded area... it is not clear if the eroded formations are secondary to ancient human activities.
The trail runs behind the low canopy of this forest, making it quite fresh despite the heat of the surroundings (reason why Coronado is so popular as a beach destination).  Along the route, a series of interpretative signs explain important features of this endangered habitat.
There is a particular interest in birds, (notice the Fundación Avifauna Eugene Eisenmann logo in the signs) and we saw or heard plenty of them... including almost all those birds pictured in the next sign (the exception was the Yellow Warbler, which is a boreal migrant to Panama not expected here in July).
Again, at the sandy area, I saw the tracks of an unidentified  mammal.  After consulting, it was clear that the tracks belongs to a big cannid... and I wonder if they don't belong to a Coyote?  Coronado is a regular site for this animal, which expanded naturally its range through Middle America, and now it can be found at the west bank of the Panama Canal (at least).
It was a quick tour, I was worried of not exposing Gabrielle to the increasing heat, so we left after a two-hours walk in order to have breakfast... what a day!
Not impressed daddy!

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