Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Panama City Nature Challenge 2020

The present sanitary situation certainly changed the world.  The SARS-CoV-2, the infectious agent causing the COVID-19, is now widespread worldwide.  This situation affects all the spheres, including the way how we enjoy our environment.  Taking this into account, this year City Nature Challenge had a different connotation.  The organizers announced that, in order to keep the participants and the organizers safe, the challenge was no longer a competition and encouraged to document biodiversity using the iNaturalist app following the recommendations of the health authorities, which in the case of Panama meant participating from home.
In my case, living in an apartment at a highly urbanized area of the city means a relatively low biodiversity; however, I was determined to document as much living things as possible in the four days of the challenge (from April 24 to 27) from my balcony.  The view from there is dominated by a huge fig tree (Ficus benjamina) that attracts several common birds species.  My balcony list includes 142 species of birds in almost seven years.  However, I usually record 30 birds species daily.  This time, I was eager to obtain photos of those common species that I usually detect by voice-only... and I'm proud about my results!
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet
I realized that my list of usually-heard-only species was quite long... Golden-fronted Greenlet, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet and Tropical Pewee are just some of them.  Anyway, taking photos of those common species more than 15 meters away is a real challenge... and those were the near ones!  Imagine taking photos of  swallows and swifts high in the skies!
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift
Being aware all day of what was moving outside my balcony gave results. I managed to record many migratory, but also resident bird species that I rarely observe from home.  The swallows, flycatchers, tanagers (well... both Summer and Scarlet Tanagers are not "real" tanagers) and New World warblers were well represented by migratory species, while some of the scarce residents (only few records from my balcony in seven years) were Pearl Kite (only my second record ever from my balcony!), Roadside Hawk, Lesser Swallow-tailed Kite and a flock of Wood Storks.
Scarlet Tanagers
Pearl Kite
Wood Storks
In total, I uploaded photos of 57 different bird species during the challenge.  The rest of my 74 species for the challenge were trees and plants that I found at the common areas of my apartment building, including some amazing little wild flowers that I'm still trying to identify correctly.  That was my challenge... how was your?
Oleander (Nerium oleander)

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