Friday, October 18, 2013

Impressive migration over Panama City!

When I went to my workplace this morning, all my unit in the hospital was closed.  The reason?  Our president decreed a day off due to XXIII Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government... so I went back to my apartment to rest a little.  After a while, I started to noted some movements in the sky... all over, huge kettles of raptors were flying above Panama City, in their annual migration to South America.
The massive amount of birds darkened the sky... not kidding!  Soon, I started to receive text messages and facebook notifications of friends experiencing the same spectacle from different points of the city... this wonder of nature did not go unnoticed, since many of my non-birder friends also texted me!
The above photo only shows a tiny fraction of the Broad-winged Hawks and Turkey Vultures that passed today... there are at least 170 hawks... and this is a cropped picture!  The next picture shows better these two species that, above my apartment, were by far the most abundant.
In other parts (for example, above the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal), the predominant species was the Swainson's Hawk.  I only counted some 200 Swainson's Hawks in 55 minutes... compared to some 5000 Broad-winged Hawks and 10,000 Turkey Vultures!
When I see these huge kettles, I always look for other raptors mixed within these flocks.  That's how I picked up these Mississippi Kites.
Or this Osprey.  The long wings, slightly angled in the wrist, are characteristic.  None of these birds breed in Panama, nonetheless they are pretty common in this season.
I also saw four Peregrine Falcons.  They flew VERY high, so there was no way to see if any carry a transmitter or something (yeap, I'm talking about Island Girl).
Don't stop looking at the sky, since the season is not over yet!

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