Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Still at Panama Viejo (Bonaparte's Gull)

Finally, the perseverance yield results.  After countless visits to Panama Viejo, I finally got again the Bonaparte's Gull that has spent the winter in our warm shores.  Around 3:30 pm, I went to Panama Viejo (Panama City) with Gloriela and Gabrielle.  They decided to wait in the car (it was hot out there)... I started to scan the huge flock of Laughing Gulls resting in the mudflats in front of the Museum.
Laughing Gulls, several ages
I assure you that I checked each of the birds resting on the site, finding some Franklin's Gulls mixed in the crowd.  Most of them were first-winter birds, I only saw one adult-type bird.
Franklin's Gull (1st winter)
Remembering that my friend Kilo saw the bird two days ago, noticing it first at flight, I started to check the birds flying over the tiny mangrove island with my binocs.  Surprisingly, I managed to ID a first-winter Bonaparte's Gull in the distance!
Notice the white underwings and black tail band in the above photo.  The wing pattern is clearly seen in my next shots (although distant).
I rushed to the mangrove island, but by the time I arrived five minutes later, the bird had disappeared.  I scanned the mudflats with my binocs, eventually finding the little bird far away!
I took some record shots, but the bird was in the middle of the mudflat, and it would not get closer.  I cropped the best ones, and I'm quite satisfied with the results.
This vagrant for Panama was a year bird for me, and only the third time ever that I see it anywhere!  Vagrant or not, what a bird!

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