Thursday, February 14, 2013

Two hours to the west

As you probably know, we spent most of our weekends at our second hometown: Penonomé, in central Panamá.  Penonomé lies in the geographical center of the country, two hours to the west of Panama City, in the middle of dry savannas with a distinct avifauna.  That is so, that the common species around Penonomé would be rarities in the wetter Panamá City, were we live.  A short ride south of town last sunday, to what is now a regular site for us (I was with Gloriela and Gabrielle), the road to El Gago, produced a nice collection of these birds, including Crested Bobwhites.  There, they are frequently seen and heard, but usually don't stay that long for good shots, so we were lucky.
The last record of bobwhites close to Panama City was in the 19th century... just to put it in perspective.  And the last time someone recorded a Mourning Dove in Panama City (some years ago, a day previous to a CBC), it was considered a vagrant.  In that road south of Penonomé is a common sight... and what a sight!  These doves are beautiful.
The situation is a little bit different with the Brown-throated Parakeets.  They are uncommon in the outskirts of Panama City, and have been recorded right in the middle of the city (for example in Parque Omar)... but in those savannas are simply abundant.  In fact, we crossed MANY flocks that day feeding in pink flowers by the road.
Other species are so widely distributed that are quite common in both regions... but you have to work a little harder to find a White-tailed Kite in the big city.  There, we saw two or three individuals, and even one perched on a fence pole, showing its black shoulders and fiery character.
Well, this was a typical day at the savannas!

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