Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gabrielle's first Christmas Bird Count

Today we participated in the Atlantic Christmas Bird Count organized by the Panama Audubon's Society (PAS)... and "we" includes my wife Gloriela and my two years-old Gabrielle.  We woke up very early in the morning and took the highway all the way to Galeta Point, in the Galeta Island Protected Area.  There, we met with a group of biology students and their professors who volunteered to participate with us.
After organizing the group, we went to the coastal habitats looking for shorebirds and seabirds.  The activity was pretty low in that matter, probably this American Crocodile had something to do with the lack of shorebirds?
The truth is that I really like Galeta.  Is quiet and scenic, with nice Caribbean beaches and a northwest breeze that keeps everything fresh.  The only shorebirds in the area were the Black-bellied Plovers resting at the breakwater.
However, after a persistent search at every corner of that coast, we found a lonely Ruddy Turnstone resting nervously.
We decided to sit and wait.  Gabrielle seemed to be enjoying the trip a lot!
While Gabrielle was playing with the pebbles at the beach, a small tern appeared over the sea accompanying a pair of larger Sandwich Terns.  The red feet, dark carpal bar and dark wedge to the upperwings confirm the ID: a Common Tern, a rarity for the count.
My distant shot is only for documenting the sighting... at least in this one the red feet are obvious.  By the end of the day, we counted 82 species... not bad at all, including this cooperative Broad-winged Hawk in the way out.
Nice day in the Caribbean coast!

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