Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Back to the tropics

After my trip to Toronto, Canada, I have been a little busy. I ended my residency in Internal Medicine (I published a photo album of my graduation in facebook) and I'm finishing the final report of my research, waiting to present it next may 19th. In the meanwhile, I got lot of free time to spend... you guess: birding. I tried a classic spot to start: the Rainforest Discovery Center at the Pipeline Road (central Panama). There have been reports of some species I have missed this year (nop, not the Ground-Cuckoo) and I wanted to say hello to all the personnel that works there. After leaving Gloriela at her hospital, I drove to Gamboa, stopping first at the Ammo Dump. The place was alive with all the Yellow-rumped Caciques that are nesting in the area and all the flycatchers on the trees surrounding the ponds. A Panama Flycatcher was quiet, inspecting some branches close to the gate; contrasting with the pair of Rusty-margined Flycatchers that were very noisy, flying from one spot to another following each other. The yellow crown patch was visible, something that often happens. Others flycatchers present were Social, Boat-billed and Dusky-capped Flycatchers, plus both Kiskadees. A look into the ponds revealed Green Heron, Wattled Jacana, White-throated Crake (only heard), and a female Pygmy Kingfisher that was a new year-bird for me (I missed it in Galeta during the Atlantic CBC in january). Nice introduction for the day! I moved to the Center where I took the trail to the Calamito lake, an arm of the Gatun lake where Sungrebes and Least Grebes have been reported recently. Of course I spent few minutes admiring the excellent show performed by all those thirsty hummingbirds at the feeders and said hello to Julia and Margelys who were ready to attend the visitors. On route I heard, and saw, a Green Shrike-Vireo, and heard a Pheasant Cuckoo, both new year-birds for me. The activity in the lake was slow. I walked a little bit along the shore just to spied the other side of the lake that is not visible from the observation deck... disturbingly followed by a huge American Crocodile! Then I waited... and waited... Eventually the Lesser Kiskadees and the Wattled Jacanas trusted them (and me) enough to get very close, since I already looked like part of the deck, waiting for the grebes to appear. According to Osvaldo, they usually show up by 8:00 AM, but it was 9:00 AM and nothing yet. A Cinnammon Woodpecker started to call just a few feet over my head and a Snail Kite was flying around its territory. By the way, I saw a good number of raptors flying by, including a Zone-tailed Hawk, a Merlin and a Bat Falcon. A pair of Common Moorhens (Gallinules) gave me a false alarm and a flock of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks took off from some branches where they were hidden. Half-hour later I was about to return when suddenly a little white dot in the distance started to move, crossing the lake. A quick glimpse with my bins showed a distant Sungrebe swimming fast to the other side of the lake. I grabbed my camera and took a few shots just to realize that it was VERY far away... but a Sungrebe anyway! With faith you will see him in the center of the photo (OK, you may need to enlarge it!). I did not wait more for the Least Grebes so I returned to the Center, this time to say good-bye. A quick stop by the Juan Grande creek in Pipeline Road only produced a Western Slaty Antshrike and a Pheasant Cuckoo who crossed the road in front of me... RUNNING! It started to rain, so I headed back to the city, with lots of new year-birds!


  1. Thanks for posting the latest on PRDC. We'll be there in less than a week, staying in Gamboa for 5 days. Pipeline Road, here we come!

  2. Great sightings & very exotic to this New Yorker.