Thursday, July 31, 2014

A promising pond

If you are planning a trip to eastern Panama province searching for the Whistling Heron (last time seen this monday, july 28th), remember to visit the pond that is to the left of the Panamerican highway just after the turn-off to the heron site.  As many others have noticed, this pond is full of life and, certainly, will produce some goodies in the future.  After seeing the nesting Pearly-breasted Cuckoo in Bayano, we stopped for a while to check this pond.
Wood Storks
Of course, the first thing we noticed was the immense number of Wood Storks.  More than 200 birds gathered there... they seemed to be just resting and relaxing.  This species is rather odd, with its bare head... but in the air its elegance has no parallel.  Here is another shot of part of the flock.
Wood Storks
Second after the storks were the Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks.  They were farther away, so my shot is not very good.  Along with the whistling-ducks, we also saw Neotropic Cormorant, Least Grebes and a Common Gallinule.  The pond is perfect for migrant ducks, and in the past both American Wigeon and Northern Shoveler have been present.
Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks
There were some migrants too: Least, Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs and Black-necked Stilts (although the last one could be a resident population).  Along with these migrants were Wattled Jacanas and Purple Gallinule.  The rice fields nearby had produced Paint-billed Crakes (!) and Long-billed Dowitchers (!!) too.  We also got many herons (seven species), including no less than four Cocoi Herons.
Cocoi Heron
Most of the small birds and the whistling-ducks flew off when an Aplomado Falcon showed up... yes, an Aplomado Falcon!  It was too fast for photos... but, as you can see, this pond promises good birds in the future, so keep an eye on it!

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