Tuesday, July 23, 2013

In search of THE heron. Part II

As I wrote before, a Whistling Heron, the first for Panamá and North America, was reported from the outskirst of the town of Chepo a little more than a week before.  After a first attempt last saturday, I decided to stay in home for the rest of the weekend.  However, Venicio "Beny" Wilson called me the morning of last sunday to see if I was interested in joining him and Christian Gernez in a new search for the heron... my answer: of course!
We saw a nice collection of birds of prey again, including the Roadside Hawk pictured above.  They are simply well-named!  This time, we drove directly to the site of the first sighting... passing first by a this beauty:
WOW!  What you think?  It is not the most gorgeous heron ever?  The Capped Heron is restricted to eastern Panamá, and is quite uncommon.  Also, is kind of related to the Whistling Heron that we were looking for... good sign, eh?
Sorry, I simple had to post another photo of this heron.  In fact, this is another individual.  Notice the slightly duller color of the bare parts of this particular individual.  In spite of that, it is still gorgeous.
In fact, we saw three different birds, including one in the very same place where the Whistling Heron was found.  That bird came flying and landed close to the site, disappearing instantaneously due to the overgrown vegetation.  Might it be possible that the Whistling Heron was still in the site and not to notice it?
While waiting, we saw another interesting heron in the site, a Bare-throated Tiger-Heron working in a ditch.  Depending of the angle, also it was disappearing in the tall grass.  Although not completely unexpected, this was also a nice find for the site!
The same was for this Pearl Kite.  Quite common in the area, we saw a pair vocalizing close to us.  This species also came from South America and now is well established in Panamá... the same as the next species.
Yes, the Cattle Egrets aren't native of Panamá, not even of America!  But, as you can see, they are doing extremely well... this individual is showing the bright bare parts indicative of its breeding season.  The heronry is very close the site of the sighting, surely this individual has its nest there (photos of the heronry here).
Did I mention that we saw all three species of anis, including this Smooth-billed Ani?
Again, we spend a terrific day out in the field looking for THE heron... the total list for the two days ascends to 109 species... not bad for pasture lands and marshes!      

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