Monday, November 2, 2020

A long twitch

Twitching is an exciting part of birding.  Leaving everything behind to go after a rare bird, sometimes hundreds of miles away, is synonymous of adventure to me.  Sometimes you get the bird... or dip miserably... but hey, that's birding!

Katiuska, Elida, Yasmín, Jan Axel and Edgar
Katiuska, Elida, Jan Axel, Yasmín, Manlio and Edgar (photo by Edgar's sister)

On October 31st, a vagrant Ruff was video filmed in a rice field outside the town of David, in Chiriqui province (western Panama).  The Ruff (Calidris pugnax) is an Old World shorebird that exceptionally wanders to Central or South America.  With just few old reports for Panama (none documented with photos), the report was worth the drive from Panama City... some 500+ kilometers away.  On November 1st, I arrived with Gloriela around 8:00 am at the site.  The bird was relocated earlier by its discoverer Yasmin Cerrud and a group of local birders that included Katiuska Sicilia, Elida Valdés and Manlio Cuevas, among others, but the bird flew away quite quick, not allowing more photos or videos.  I knew all these birders through social media only... so, meeting them personally was, without doubt, the highlight of my trip!  Later, Edgar Araúz joined us (after driving the previous day from Panama City as well).

Shorebirds and waders

We spent most of the morning at the original site of the sighting, scanning the fields and the wetlands with our scopes.  We had a great time finding bird after bird.  The diversity was great.  The waders, shorebirds and raptors were well represented, including stunning species like Wood Stork, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-necked Stilt, Southern Lapwing, Marbled Godwit, both Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Northern Harriers, Savanna Hawk, Peregrine Falcon and an amazing sight of more than 4000 Blue-winged Teals!

Roseate Spoonbills (Platalea ajaja)
Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis)
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Blue-winged Teals (Spatula discors)

After a while, only Yasmin, Edgar and I stayed enough to keep searching the Ruff (Gloriela, wisely, stayed at the car).  We walked throughout the rice field, sometimes getting stock in the mud or getting wet in the numerous shallow water holes of the place... but we had fun.

The bird was not re re-located.. so I was not able to include it in my Life list.. but finally meeting my old friends of Chiriqui was priceless!!! 

Jan Axel and Gloriela

No comments:

Post a Comment