Saturday, February 28, 2015

Masked Booby off Colón, a report by Iván Hoyos

El viernes pasado, 20 de febrero, vi dos Masked Boobies que acompañaron el barco en que estoy trabajando entre la costa arriba de Colón y El Porvenir.  Es primera vez que las veo acompañando a los Brown Boobies y me llamó la atención.

Bicolored Wren update, a report by Les and Cindy Lieurance

A little update on that pair of Bicolored Wrens: On Sunday morning, 22 February 2015, Les and I and our friend Jim Danzenbaker stopped at the Yaviza cemetery on our way out of town. Along with the continuing pair of adult Bicolored Wrens, we saw a dependent chick following them around. It was very cute, with a stubby bill and yellow at the gape.

Here's some video of the birds, shot on January 9.

And some bonus Spectacled Parrotlets, shot on January 8.

Carnavales in Darién

Darién and Camilo Montañez and César Trejos spent a few days of Carnaval birding the Canopy Camp and environs. Highlights follow.

  • Feb. 15. A Streaked Xenops was seen calling insistently at the Río Mono bridge, perched suspiciously near a cavity in a dry branch that seemed just right for a nest hole. Also seen was Black Antshrike, plenty of White-eared Conebills, and an eye-level Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher
  • Later that day we went to the Yaviza Cemetery to try for Bicolored Wren, to no avail. We're blaming the noise from the Domingo de Carnaval festivities. The forest just before town had Barred Puffbirds and lots of Yellow-breasted Flycatchers.
  • Just before dusk we stood guard by the right verbena bush and, just as promised, got a Ruby-topaz Hummingbird. Unlike the adult male seen more frequently, this was a young male: generally female-plumaged but with a broad dark stripe down the center of the throat that, when seen from the right angle, glittered a greenish gold. Also present were Pale-bellied Hermit lots of Blue-throated Goldentails.
  • Feb. 16. The morning was spent walking up Quebrada Félix, that traverses the pristine forests of Reserva Hidrológica Filo de Tallo. Birds of the day were a female Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, a flock of 4 White-fronted Nunbirds, three Speckled Mourners and a male Royal Flycatcher flashing its crown to a nearby female. A Louisiana Waterthrush was also seen.
  • Late in the afternoon we visited El Salto Road, where we saw three Crane Hawks (two calling at dusk from the tops of the trees) and heard Gray-cheeked Nunlet, but the most unexpected finding was a Striped Woodhaunter poking around a dark tangle in the understory.
  • Feb. 17. In the morning we walked the Nando Trail through the woods at Canopy Camp and heard (and later saw) Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon and Golden-headed Manakin.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mixed bag of records, a report by Rosabel Miró

Enero 30, 31 y 1 de febrero
Un macho Lesser Scaup y lo que parece ser una hembra Ring-necked Duck fueron observados en un laguito ubicado en el centro de la isla Contadora, archipiélago de Las Perlas. Durante los 3 días que observamos estos patos, siempre estuvieron juntos, como si fueran parejas (¿será una híbrido?). Eran los únicos patos del lago, donde habían no menos de 30 Least Grebes. Observadores: Rosabel Miró y Karl Kaufmann. En otro lago, en un costado de la pista de aterrizaje, cerca del antiguo hotel Contadora, escuchamos tanto el 31 de enero como el 1 de febrero a los White-throated Crakes, en varias partes de ese lago. (Foto de Rosabel)

Sábado 7 de febrero
Antes del Censo Centroamericano de Aves Acuáticas
Una Whistling Heron en la arrocera de Santa María, Herrera, cerca de la entrada del pueblo de El Rincón. Esta garza estaba junto con otras garzas locales. Observadores: Yenifer Díaz, Alberto Bethancourt, Roxana Alveo y Stephany Carty. (No sacamos fotos).

Durante el Censo Centroamericano de Aves Acuáticas
Un Mangrove Cuckoo observado en la Ciénaga de Las Macanas. Al poco rato de verlo nos sobrevoló un Peregrine Falcon. Ya hemos visto, por amplia evidencia (de picos y alas en sitios de roosting), que su dieta favorita en Panamá son los Yellow-billed Cuckoos. Nos quedamos pensando si ese día este Mangrove sería parte de su dieta diaria. Observadores: Alberto Bethancourt, Yenifer Díaz, Roxana Alveo y Stephany Carty. (Fotos de Rosabel)

Un grupo de 214 Lesser Scaups con una sola Northern Shoveler entre ellos. (No sacamos fotos, el viento fuerte no nos permitió hacerlo).

Luego de terminar el Censo
Fue interesante observar en una de las cercas de Las Macanas un grupo de 6 Barn Swallows mudando su plumaje, no me había tocado ver estas especies así. (Fotos de Rosabel)

Un grupo de 567 Glossy Ibis en el campo de arroz que está a mano izquierda cuando uno sale del pueblo de El Rincón a la vía principal de la carretara que lleva a Chitré. Observadores: Rosabel Miró, Yenifer Díaz, Alberto Bethancourt, Héctor Escudero, Stephany Carty, Roxana Alveo, Karl Kaufmann. (Foto de Rosabel. Algunas no salieron volando, se quedaron en el campo de arroz)

Domingo 8 de febrero
Una Foster’s Tern  y uns Elegant Tern entre Sandwich Terns. Playa de El Retén, Monagrillo, Herrera. Observadores: Rosabel Miró, Yenifer Díaz, Alberto Bethancourt, Héctor Escudero y Stephany Carty. (Foto de Rosabel)

Un Playero Occidental con bandera panameña, código XKV, anillado en febrero de 2014 en las playas de Costa del Este fue observado en la playa de El Retén, Monagrillo, Herrera. Observadores: Yenifer Díaz, Alberto Bethancourt, Roxana Alveo, Stephany Carty, Karl Kaufmann y Rosabel Miró R. (Foto de Karl, video digiscoping alimentándose en You Tube

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle at the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center

Not to be outdone, Natalia Sarco photographed this Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle from the tower at Panama Rainforest Discovery Center tower this morning.

Long-winged Harrier at Parque Metropolitano

Osvaldo Quintero photographed this dark-phase Long-winged Harrier at the entrance to Mono Titi Road at Parque Metropolitano, this morning at 7:15.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Peg-billed Finch at El Respingo

Rafael Lau and Genover Santamaría had a Peg-billed Finch at the seeding bamboo along the first part of El Respingo road on February 5. He also filmed it:

On related news, Euclides Campos found Peg-billed Finch and Barred Parakeet on the bamboo at the entrance to Los Quetzales Trail on February 6.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Ruby Topaz and Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker

Ismael "Nando" Quiroz photographed this male Ruby Topaz at the Canopy Camp on January 30 at 5:30 pm.

Also present was a dull-plumaged bird, perhaps a juvenile?

Both birds have been coming to the verbenas around camp for the last few days, always at the same time of day. Also, this female Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker was at the San Francisco Reserve on January 31.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Stop the presses! That's a Long-tailed Jaeger!

Note to self: remember to check your twitter messages frequently. Check this one out:

The tweet refers to the jaeger photographed on the Pedasí pelagic of October 25.

The Panama Records Committee was immediately alerted, and discussion ensued. Jan Axel Cubilla:
I'm attaching the photos that Rafael took of this bird during the pelagic trip... four in total with just fractions of second of difference between them.  Number three is the photo that appears in Xenornis.  These photos were cropped and lightened... no changes were made in hue, saturation, exposure or sharpness.

The only thing I remember about this particular individual is that it looked like a shearwater at the distance... in fact, I first shouted "shearwater" to the group when I first saw it... then it flew directly to us (as you can see in photos number 1 and 2) and it was then evident that the bird was a jaeger. I don't know exactly why we called it Pomarine at the time.  The truth is that, while editing the photos, I was not happy with this guy because no Pomarine photo in the web matched him.
All the photos shows that this bird looked quite proportioned... I mean, it doesn't look small-headed with a bulky body like both Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers.  And proportionally long-tailed (not considering the elongated central rectrices) with long, pointed wings.  Compare with Kaufman's illustration. 

This certainly is not an adult bird... and the pale nape and whitish underparts make me think this is a light phase juvenile.  There are no buffy, rufous, orange or yellowish hues to the feathers... this bird appear all brownish/grayish/whitish... but color and hue can be affected by light conditions when the photos were shot.  The most impressive feature is that all the underwing and, specially, the undertail covert is neatly barred.. a feature shared by both Pomarine and Long-tailed Jaegers.  The Parasitic Jaeger shows messily barred undertail (and uppertail) coverts.  Another feature that is evident immediately are the elongated central rectrices.  These are rounded (probably the reason why we called this a Pomarine), and not pointed as supposed to be for Parasitic Jaeger.  However, after reviewing several illustrations in the web (Kaufman, Pyle... check this post for example), it seems that this is not a definitive field mark.  A closer look at photo 3 shows that these rectrices are bordered in white... supposedly ruling out Parasitic.
The bill shape and size is difficult to evaluate from these photos.  Notice that photos 1 and 3 shows a short bill while photo 4 show it long.  Certainly, all these is due to angle.  Analyzing photo 3, I can see that this bird have a short bill (well, I'm sure I would not describe it as a big, heavy beak).  The gonydeal angle in the lower mandible is evident... and the nail (the black part of the bill) covers almost half of the bill extension. This feature seems to be typical for Long-tailed Jaegers (and I'm attaching the Sibley's illustration... there is another illustration showing this in the link above), with both Parasitic and Pomarine Jaegers having nails that correspond to 1/3 of the bill extension (with Pomarine exhibiting a heavier-looking bill than both Parasitic and Long-tailed Jaegers).

It is a shame that we don't have upperwing shots... only photo number 2 shows the white shaft of the first primary feather in the right wing.
So, what you think?  I think nail/bill formula, pattern of undertail coverts and rounded central rectrices rules out Parasitic... and nail/bill formula plus general shape and jizz can rule out Pomarine.  A Long-tailed Jaeger after all?
George Angehr:
I think we can rule out Parasitic on several different grounds, which leaves Pomarine and Long-tailed. Regarding the bill, the nail/bill proportions seem to indicate Long-tailed, but the gonydeal angle seems too strong, especially in photo 3. Regarding jizz, I can find photos of both Pomarine and Long-tailed on the internet that seem similar to this bird. As I said, Long-tailed seems possible, maybe even likely, but I don't see anything diagnostic. We probably need to send it to some seabird experts.
And contact the experts we did. Here's Klaus Malling Olsen, author of “Skuas and Jaegers: A Guide to the Skuas and Jaegers of the World”:
A 100% Long-tailed with the very typical slender wings, short rounded head with short bill (in shape recalling Mew Gull), slender body and the clearly elongated central tail-feathers with are narrower than in Pomarine but with similar rounded tips. Also note the clear and evenly distributed black and white under wing-coverts barring, lacking the paler bases to primaty coverts of most Pomarine (and many Arctics). The whitish underbody contrasting to darker head further adds to the ID and the birds is so cold-tinged that it is only seen in Long-tailed.
So, there you have it. The second confirmed record of Long-tailed Jaeger from Panama. Start getting those cameras ready for the next Pedasí pelagic!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Birding around Yaviza, a report by George Angehr

Between January 6-9 a party consisting of Bill Adsett, George Angehr, Charlotte Elton. Dave Klauber, and Les and Cindy Lieurance visited Darien, birding mostly around Canglon, and Yaviza. The following are some of the highlights (with photos by Bill Adsett).

Pale-bellied Hermit. A few individuals seen on the El Salto Road and north of Yaviza on Jan 7.

The hummingbird feeders at the Avicar Restaurant in Meteti on Jan 6 and 9 featured Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Snowy-bellied Hummingbird, Black-throated Mango, and Long-billed Starthroat.

Spot-breasted Woodpecker. Two seen near Rio Iglesias on the afternoon of Jan 6.

Barred Puffbird. Several pairs seen a few km north of Yaviza on Jan 8.

Blue-and-yellow Macaw. A flyover by three individuals on Jan 6 about 7 km east of Rio Iglesias, on the south side of the Filo de Tallo, in a mostly deforested area. It's good to see the species still persists here.

Spectacled Parrotlet. A pair was observed at close range for about 40 minutes as they ate Cecropia fruits along the edge of the road a few km north of Yaviza on Jan 8.

Gray Elaenia. A male seen very well a few km north of Yaviza on Jan 7.

Double-banded Graytail. A pair seen at very close quarters during a brief stop at the Canopy Camp just before noon on Jan 9. Another was seen less well on the El Salto Road earlier that morning.

Black-capped Donacobius. Two seen very well in a marsh on a side road about 7 km north of Yaviza on Jan 7, and one seen again there by Dave there on the following morning.

Bicolored Wren. A pair allowed excellent views at the cemetery at Yaviza on the morning of Jan 9. Found by the Lieurances at about 8 AM, they alerted the rest of the party who had gone to the El Salto Road but were able to return and see them at 9.

White-eared Conebill. A male at the Rio Mono bridge on the morning of Jan 6.

Black Oropendola. Great views of several birds at close hand several km north of Yaviza on the afternoon of Jan 7. Others were seen near the side road where the Donacobius were found the same day, and another by Bill on the following morning.