Monday, September 24, 2012

Birders fellowship

It is great how birding can join different nationalities and personalities in a warm environment of fellowship.  That's how you bird with a friend which have never seen before (thanks facebook) and to feel that you have done the same thing for years!  My good friend Carlos Wagner (a colombian birder) visited Panama, attending a forum on wild cats, and I organized an outing around Panama City to show him some birds... and what a better place than the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center to show him.  We entered early enough to try to call out some owls... and we got some responses by a Vermiculated Screech-Owl and a Spectacled Owl... but only a group of Western (Panamanian) Night-Monkeys show themselves in the night (file photo, but form the same site).
Waiting for sunrise in the middle of a rainforest is an interesting experience... the fresh air full with the sounds of the dawn chorus and the silhouettes of the birds and other animals starting to search for their first meal is simply refreshing!
After a hot cup of coffee, we decided to climb up the world-famous 34 meters-high canopy tower... what a marvelous point of view of all those canopy dwellers.  We saw many birds from there, including the Chestnut-mandibled Toucan pictured here, some pigeons, parrots, trogons and puffbirds, and even a flock a noisy Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks in the distance.
We walk the trail leading to the Calamito lake, watching some mixed flocks, mainly with Dot-winged Antwrens, Lesser Greenlets, migrant Black-and-white and Canada Warblers, an impressive male Blue Cotinga, Green Shrike-Vireos, a pair of Fasciated Antshrikes (with nest), among many others.
After watching a flock of antbirds and woodcreepers following an antswarm (including a cooperative Great Tinamou), we decided to left the Center in order to walk the main Pipeline road.
The activity was quite low, we saw more of the same, plus an unidentified snake crossing the road and a troop of Mantled Howler Monkeys.  Pipeline road said good-bye to us by showing a beautiful Sunbittern quietly feeding at the Juan Grande creek... spectacular! 
The rest of the afternoon we visited some sites along the Pacific coast of Panama City, including Amador, the Casco Viejo, Panama Viejo and Costa del Este, adding more and more species... we finished quite late, and I left him at an hostal in the city.  Carlos, it was great having you visiting Panama and hope to see you soon!

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