Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Shorebirds all around!

When Osvaldo Quintero and I arrived to days ago to the entrance gate of Finca Bayano, to the east of Panama City, the picture was not good... storm clouds were covering the entire place and the overcast day was cold and windy.  It didn't take long before we had to shelter inside the car and wait for the rain to stop.  By that time we only had seen some herons and Wattled Jacanas, but not a single shorebird... and we were after a special one, the Buff-breasted Sandpipers reported twice at the site earlier this season.
Finca Bayano
Eventually, the rain stopped enough to start to watch birds.  The place was flooded and wet... but it was just perfect for shorebirds... they started to appear all over the place: on the road, at the fields, flying overhead... everywhere!  The most common were the peeps, with Least and Western Sandpipers as the most conspicuous, but also with some Semipalmated Sandpipers as well.
Least and Western Sandpipers
While watching them, we started to notice larger shorebirds mixed in.  Most of them were Pectoral Sandpipers but, eventually, we noticed one bird with yellow-buffy tones and yellow legs... it only stayed enough for a couple of shots, but it proved to be the only Buff-breasted Sandpiper of the day!
Pectoral Sandpipers
Buff-breasted Sandpiper
The Buff-breasted Sandpiper is a rare passage migrant in Panama, with only few reports each fall (almost none in spring).  This was just the second time I see this species, and was a life bird for Osvaldo!  However, it was not the main highlight of the day.  Soon we realized that it was about to be a unique trip... other rare passage migrants showed up as well: several Stilt and White-rumped Sandpipers were around allowing photos.
Stilt Sandpipers
White-rumped and Semipalmated Sandpiper
Other not-so-rare-but-pretty-uncommon species showed up well too, including a pair of confident American Golden-Plovers and, as a photographic highlight, I have to mention the Wilson's Snipes.  They are common winter visitors but you not often see them so close!
American Golden-Plover
Wilson's Snipe
Nice collection of birds eh?  Oh yes, and there was also the first-record-for-Panama thing... well, YEAH!  A bird ever recorded in Panama... about the same size of the Pectoral Sandpipers, but with contrasting chestnut crown and white eye-brow... but most important, buffy breast with almost no streaks... here is the photo that I added to my eBird checklist:
SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER... WOW!  An Asian breeder way out of route!  It is still pending review, but if accepted by the local Birds Records Committee, it could be the first documented one for Central America!  Now that is what I call a terrific day!

No comments:

Post a Comment