Thursday, January 24, 2013

Birding the marshes. Part II

After a successful previous day at some marshes east of Panama City, I travelled with my family to our house in Penonomé (Coclé province, central Panamá) in the afternoon.  The sunday morning, january 20th, Gloriela, Gabrielle, Teresa and Kevin joined me in a quick visit to Las Macanas marsh, in Herrera province, and only one hour away of Penonomé.
Of course, after seeing eight duck species the previous day, I wanted to see if I could find at least 10 species for the weekend, so I targeted Las Macanas to find my ninth species: the Fulvous Whistling-Duck.  My family stayed at the facilities because of the bright sun, but enjoying the refreshing breeze instead. 
I searched the ponds close to the tower... hundreds of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, but alas, no Fulvous.  The Black-bellieds looks almost comical, with their bright orange bill and legs, and sweet voice.
Knowing that sometimes they are hard to find, I started to walk my way through dry terrain to some ponds where I had seen those ducks before (check this post).  In the way, some Snail Kites were flying over the marsh, masterly maneuvering with the tails.
Eventually, I found a flock of Lesser Yellowlegs resting close to some Blue-winged Teals.
If you enlarge the photo with the yellowlegs, you may notice that one of the ducks is actually a female Northern Shoveler!  I didn't realize it back then, but I found a pair of Northern Shovelers later in the day.  The female stayed for some photos, but I only got distant flying shots of the male.  There are many sightings of shovelers in Panama for this season, which has been exceptionally good for ducks in general.
After a while, I reached the ponds that were full of whistling-ducks, teals and even a huge male Muscovy Duck.  By that time I was tired and thirsty, but I was glad to see that, when hundreds of whistling-ducks took off, at least one of them presented the characteristic dark wings and tail with white rump band of a Fulvous Whistling-Duck, my ninth duck species for the weekend!  They were too far away for photos... so I took photos of a nearby flock of Black-necked Stilts instead.
We left Las Macanas very happy... and in the afternoon, we left Penonomé in order to reach Panama City by mid-afternoon.  Of course, we made a quick visit to Gamboa searching for the tenth duck species: the female Ring-necked Duck reported elsewhere... but they were to far away to identify with certainty, and quite dark too.  But nine species of ducks in two days, and in Panama... exceptional!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on all your ducks sightings. The Whistling Duck is one of my favorite ducks. It is so cute! I love the Kite and Stilts in flight captures. A great post and day of birding! Have a happy weekend!