Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Beach weekend with family

In order to celebrate some birthdays in the family and to see the final of the World Cup, the extended Cubilla family decided to spent the weekend at the beach!  We chose to rent a spacious apartment in Playa Blanca, in the Pacific coast of Cocle province (central Panama).  This part of the country is blessed with year-round good weather, with sunny days most of the year, making it perfect for beach resorts.
Gabrielle and her cousins Analia and Kevin really enjoyed the trip, as you can see in the photo.  While they played in the sand, I was watching the ocean.  Recently, some rare vagrants have been seen at our Pacific coast probably due to "El Niño" (Gray Gull, Peruvian Booby, Inca Tern).  During "El Niño" years, the water temperature rise, moving into deeper waters those typical cold-water species such as anchovies.  Many birds specialized in feeding from these species have to disperse from their usual haunts to find food, and the Peruvian Booby is a good example.  However, I only saw some common species, like Neotropic Cormorants, Royal and Sandwich Terns, Brown Pelicans, and an unusual number of Blue-footed Boobies flying very close to the beach.
Brown Pelicans
Blue-footed Booby
The white patches in the back and nape, as well as its dark head, distinguishes this species from the similar Peruvian Booby.  One Peruvian Booby was found weakened in the coast Panama City last month.  The story was published here.  Back in the apartment, I noticed that some windows had silhouettes of hawks to prevent small birds crashing them.  It is a good practice after all.
However, I think that another ornament on the roof was also preventing small birds to approach the building.  During the half-time break in the World Cup final, I noticed a characteristic silhouette approaching the roof.  A quick glimpse from the balcony showed this:
Aplomado Falcon
An Aplomado Falcon!  A second bird left the roof when I was staring at it, but this individual stayed for long time, enough to grab my camera and to took some photos.  It was curious as well!
Aplomado Falcon
These fields are close to the eastern limit of its usual range in Panama, as you can see in this eBird map; however, there are several records from eastern Panama province and even from Darien province...,  deforestation certainly have something to do with this range extension.  Nice roof ornament don't you think?  

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