Sunday, October 7, 2012

Jogging was my main intention

I can swear it!  I went with Gloriela, Gabrielle and Teresa (Gloriela's sister) to the Metropolitan Natural Park in order to make some exercise, jogging through the trails, burning out some calories and breathing fresh air.  However, we soon realized that we chose the wrong baby carriage for Gabrielle, because it was completely unsuitable for the gravel-covered paths.  
We walked "Los Robles" trail, connecting the administrative installations with the main trails, taking a couple of minutes to help feeding the turtles at the lagoon.  No herons at the lagoons, but what an amazing experience for Gabrielle!
At the gate of the main trails, it was clear that bearing a 20-pounds girl with you while trying to walk an up-hill trail was not a good idea, so I decided to stay with Gabrielle in the surroundings of the parking lot and the entrance of the "Mono Tití" trail, watching common birds like the pair of Orange-chinned Parakeets pictured here, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Squirrel Cuckoo, Tropical Kingbird and both Cocoa and Olivaceous Woodcreepers.
When Gloriela and Teresa came back 30 minutes later, they told me that my good friend Osvaldo Quintero was photographing birds in the highest part of the trail, in the lookout.  So, it was my turn to walk up-hill.  They leave me because it was getting hot for Gabrielle (she is only 9-months old), but that was not a problem considering that the park is right within the city and is easily accessible by taxi and other public transportation.  I crossed a birding group by the mid part of the trail.  They were in the middle of a mixed flock, with antwrens, White-winged Tanagers, a Plain Xenops, and others... but it was a migrant thrush in the edge of the trail that caught my attention.  After seeing it through the scope of the group guide, it was clear that the bird was a Veery, and uncommon migrant in central Panama, and only my second time ever with this bird!
Eventually, I reached the lookout, and Osvaldo was there in fact.  He photographed some migrant vireos and warblers, but the huge mixed flock of migrants that he was expecting never showed up, so we decided to return.  The only common migrants were the Red-eyed Vireos that were everywhere, and the Canada Warblers, in the peak of their migration.
However, a little bit down in the trail, we saw a high kettle of, mostly, Broad-winged Hawks in their annual southward migration... an amazing spectacle!  October is the month of the raptors river in Panama, a show that we are all expecting soon... so stayed tune! 

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