Sunday, May 25, 2014

Beach walk

Celebrating our sixth anniversary, Gloriela and I decided to spend a night at a beach resort, just 15 minutes from Panama City.  We had a relaxed and happy day, and enjoyed the amenities available... including the sandy beach.
During our beach walk this morning, we took the opportunity to see birds and other wildlife.  For example, we followed the tracks of a racoon for a while, and a pair of Central American Agouties walking close to the sand, but close to cover of course.
Central American Agouti
After seeing most of the common birds expected for this habitat, we saw one specialty of these coasts.  A beautiful patterned American Oystercatcher flew very close to us, and I managed to take a couple of flight shots... of which this was the best.
American Oystercatcher
The bird landed in a sand bar very close to a patch of mangroves.  There, another oystercatcher was resting in sand.  These waders are great.  The contrasting and specially-adapted bill is quite striking in the distance... and those expressive eyes... WOW!
For some reason, the first bird seemed agitated, confronting us directly.  I assumed he was protecting its territory, or maybe had a nest nearby, so we move slowly, following our tracks.  We forget the incident and walked all the way to the end of the beach... a long beach by the way.
Then, in the way back, we saw again the oystercatcher from a different angle.  The bird was standing behind the sand bar, at the banks of a small stream bordered by mangroves.  I noticed another shorebird close to the oystercatcher.  First, I thought it was a peep, but soon realized it was a recently fledged chick!
We stayed away to not disturb the birds.  That's why my photos are quite cropped and edited.  The bird noticed our presence, of course; however, they continued their activity, with the adult feeding the small one.  Then, the second adult appeared... carrying a juicy oyster!
The bird gave the oyster to the other adult oystercatcher and left the scene towards the rocky shore, certainly looking for more yummies.  Then, the bird dropped the oyster near the chick and this began to devour it with pleasure.  We left the happy family, busy with their duties.  That was the first time we saw an oystercatcher chick... not bad at all for a short walk!

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