Yesterday, late in the afternoon, I received a message in my phone with a cropped picture attached. My friend Venicio "Beny" Wilson send me a picture of a bird that he just saw some minutes before, along with Rosabel Miro and Celeste Paiva (the spotters). The picture quickly filtered to social networks... they just found a new species for Panama: Maguari Stork (first report in Xenornis here). Knowing how huge this was, I planned a trip to Juan Hombron area, where the bird was found. I knew time was against me... these vagrants don't stay long... but I had to go to work, and could only escape after noon with my friend Rafael Luck. In the meanwhile, my friend Osvaldo Quintero, along with Rafael Lau and Beny, went to the area this morning... finding not one, but two Maguari Storks! Osvaldo kindly let me use one of his photos.
|Maguari Stork. Copyright Osvaldo Quintero, used with permission.|
This was great! Two individuals still in the same place where Beny saw it the day before. Beny waited for us close to the site and showed us the exact place where they saw the birds just some hours before. Our expectations were high, and we checked every corner of the huge lagoon where they saw the birds.
As you can see, I left without even wasting time changing my outfit! The excitement of twitching a rarity is enough to left everything behind, even your rubber boots and most of your birding gear! I'll kill the suspense right now: we do not find the bird. Big disappointment considering that it would be a lifer for both Rafael and me (as it was for Beny the day before). Nonetheless, we saw some common inhabitants of these dry pastures, like Mouse-colored Tyrannulet and Straight-billed Woodcreeper (both noticed first by voice).
I also managed my first Bare-throated Tiger-Heron for these pastures. In fact, this bird was showing its bare, yellow throat.
OK, we do not find the bird... but we tried hard... and that's the idea after all. I hope that it still remains in the area although seems improbable, maybe we can have another chance. In the meanwhile, I'll try to focus in another code 5 for our area (yes, two code 5 in one month for Panama)... so stay tuned!