Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 CBCs: Pacific circle

December is a month of festivities... but also of bird counts!  The Panama Audubon Society organizes three Christmas Bird Counts in central Panama, and I pretend to participate in all of them.  In fact, I already participated last sunday, december 16th, in the first count, the Pacific circle.  As usual, my count area was the coastal strip of the west bank of the canal, including Farfan, Palo Seco and Vercaruz, accompanied this time by Rafael Luck, Jennifer Wolcott, Dan Heinrichs and Neville Lincoln.
The tide was pretty high early in the morning, so we concentrated first in the huge pond at Farfan, finding many waterbirds, like Roseate Spoonbill, Neotropic Cormorants, ton of egrets and White Ibises, both Belted and Ringed Kingfishers and many more.
One good thing about our counting area is the variety of habitats... we visited mudflats, ponds and mangroves before moving to a dry forest three minutes away... the forests around the (former) Palo Seco Hospital.  In spite that it has been abandoned for a couple of years now, the jungle already took it and only some buildings are evident now.
The forest was very quiet, however, we still recorded Lesser Greenlets, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Lance-tailed Manakin and the particular sight of both Turkey and Black Vultures resting side-by-side.
Most of the main targets at our count area were waders, and the best place to look after them is around Veracruz beach.  This year, we didn't see many shorebirds compared to other years, but we got at least the cutest of them all: Collared Plovers!
The final habitat visited was the taller and wetter forest just north of Veracruz, where we found different species like Lineated Woodpecker, Cocoa Woodcreeper and, surprisingly, a group of five White-vented Euphonias.
However, it was almost noon when we reached this patch of forest, and by that time, the forest borders and the open areas were more productive than the forest itself... just check the cooperative Gray Kingbird and the bright Saffron Finch that we found.
We recorded 113 species in total, not a bad number for only six hours of birding!

1 comment:

  1. I believe the Christmas counts are happening everyhwere. So nice that you are counting too. Love all your birds. Especially the Plover and the Saffron Finch!