Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Portraits in the savanna

In spite of not finding the Maguari Stork reported for Juan Hombron (Cocle province, central Panama) after several visits, the good thing is that I had the opportunity to take some close-ups of common inhabitants of these typical arid savannas.  Advantages like clear light and unobstructed views are the ingredients to great portraits... even for an amateur photographer like me.
Variable Seedeater
For example, the male Variable Seedeater pictured above was quite curious and came to inspect me for a while.  Several males were engaged in courtship displays and singing the heart out.  They were very common in those fields.  Another common species was the Straight-billed Woodcreeper.
Straight-billed Woodcreeper
Not only common, but beautiful as well too.  For a woodcreeper, it is quite distinctive, with that straight, pink bill and bold head marks.  It is restricted to mangroves and adjacent shrubs and secondary growths.  In the other hand, the Groove-billed Ani is simply an all-black bird.  In fact, it is easier to ID it by voice than by sight (due to confusion issues with the Smooth-billed Ani present in smaller number in this same area).
Groove-billed Ani
However, with looks like this you can actually see the grooves in the bill of this individual!  It easy to ID the birds if you actually see the field mark by which they were named; for example, can you name the next species?
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture
Jejejeje, just kidding.  However, they would be more difficult to identify if flying away.  The Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures are commoner than Turkey Vultures in this habitat, specially this time of the year.   Also common, and a nice representative of this savanna, is the Savanna Hawk.
Savanna Hawk
This long-legged hawk is huge and colorful, making it recognizable from long distances.  Due to the lack of tall trees in the savanna, this raptor (like many other as well) take advantage of any high site (like this telephone pole) to observe its domains.  Well, that is all for now... but certainly is not my last time in Juan Hombron looking for my Maguari!

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