Saturday, July 20, 2013

The heronry close to Chepo

Chepo is an agricultural town located 30 miles to the east of Panamá City, and is the capital of the district bearing the same name.  It is surrounded by pastures, rice fields and marshes, making this site attractive to a great variety birds.  For many years now, an heronry exists just outside of town, mostly with nesting pairs of Cattle Egrets, but also some other species.  We usually don't stop at this spot; however, today was different.  Accompanied by Rafael Luck, Venicio "Beny" Wilson and Itzel Fong, and at the end of our birding day (more on it in another post), we notice the intense activity at the heronry when leaving Chepo.
It doesn't matter how many Cattle Egrets you have seen... you MUST stop if you see something like this!  Those bright colors of the bare parts were simply beautiful!
Well, only a minority exhibited those bright bare parts, but all the birds had the orangish tones typical of breeding birds (completely white outside breeding season).  At least one hundred nests were visible, many with chicks begging for food.  Look at those chicks... any doubt these beast were once dinosaurs?
The second most common species was the Anhinga.  We saw at least ten nest, each with a male or female on it, some with chicks.
The males also exhibited bright bare parts around the eyes... simply beautiful!
We also saw three nests of Great Egrets, but there were probably more species nesting in the site, since the heronry extend beyond our field of view, but we stayed only for a while.  We did another stop at a nearby pond after noticing an Amazon Kingfisher by the road.
The kingfisher was only the appetizer... the pond was full of life, with Green Herons, Snowy and Great Egrets, many Black-billed Whistling-Ducks and Southern Lapwings, Wattled Jacana, Black-necked Stilt and a flock of resting Wood Storks.
Common species?  Right... but interesting anyway! 

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