Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Back in Panamá!

After a productive trip to Córdoba, Argentina, I'm back in Panamá... and still on vacations.  The true is that I'm spending most of the time in home with my baby girl Gabrielle... occasionally seeing some birds from the balcony.  That's why, when we traveled this last weekend to Penonomé (central Panamá), I took advantage to visit some places that, usually, are great for birding.
It has been a while since my last visit to the road to El Gago... and many things have changed.  I went with Gloriela and Gabrielle last saturday's afternoon and were impressed by the sight of the tall windmills in the savanna.  These are part of an important government project to produce green energy.  It was a little bit late as you can see in the photos... so we only saw some very common savanna birds, like many Eastern Meadowlarks, singing from exposed perches.
Or this Roadside Hawk inspecting us curiously.
The next day, I convinced the same crew to accompany me to the Aguadulce Salinas (saltponds), 30 minutes to the west.  It was around noon and hot, but I only wanted to have a quick look at the saltponds, searching for passage migrants.  The first thing we noticed were the big flocks of terns and skimmers over the place.  Check for example the next photo showing many Gull-billed Terns resting with several Elegant Terns.
Or this flock of Black Skimmers in the distance... more than 100 birds were resting in that pond.
I already had seen this numbers in Aguadulce this year.  But other species were new for the year, like the Stilt Sandpipers and Wilson Phalarope.  These are passage migrants (don't winter in Panamá), and this is the only time to see them in Panamá... so mission accomplished!
I saw Red-necked Phalarope in my previous visit, making this year a two-phalaropes year for the site.  We had to return to Panamá City, so we only spend 45 minutes in the pond.  In the way back, I just made a quick stop at a flooded field in Río Grande where a flock of several species of herons were feeding in the mud.  It looked like a great place for migrant shorebirds.
I only saw two Solitary Sandpipers and a Black-necked Stilt among the Cattle, Great and Snowy Egrets, the Southern Lapwings and the lonely White Ibis... but I'm sure this place deserve more visits.

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