Saturday, January 22, 2000

Birding Cerro Vistamares Trail

Bill Adsett, Gilles Seutin, Darién and Camilo Montañez and Jan Axel Cubilla spent most of the day at Cerro Vistamares Trail. The weather was mostly miserable, rainy and windy, and the birds were mostly quiet. But things changed when we went past the clearing. A small mixed flock with Dot-winged and Checker-throated Antwrens had a Stripe-throated Wren, unknown west of Nusagandi. It was the same color as the Checker-throateds, but the black and white streaking extended beyond the throat all the way to the cheeks of the bird. Also, its wings and tail had the characteristic barring like most wrens have. It foraged quickly among the tangles about two meters above the ground, and it did not make a sound. The following is Bill's report:

On Saturday, Jan 22, there was a pair of Stripe-Throated Wrens feeding in a viny tangle about 15ft above the ground on the Cerro Vistamares Trail just beyond the first clearing. I should estimate the altitude to be between 650 and 750 mts. There is an area of rastrojo and secondary growth there.
Description:- Middle sized wren, mostly medium brown above with black barring on wings and tail; narrow supercilliary white and sides of head and throat striped (not spotted) black and white. Underparts uniform cinnamon brown, no variation whatsoever. Did not note if they were calling or not (they were in a small mixed flock of gnatwrens and antwrens), but if they were it was pretty non-descript. I did not take much notice of the eye. I only realised after looking at the book that this was a first record for the area - if I had realised I should have listened for a call and tried to get a good look at the eye. Anyway, with the field marks I did see, there should be no doubt.
In comparing with Rufous-Breasted Wren (which I have seen many times recently in the Metropolitan Nature Park) I find the following differences; wings barred instead of plain; cheeks and throat striped, not spotted; no distinctive call; underparts uniformly coloured; different habits (feeds higher); not very likely in such a wet habitat.
This elevation on Cerro Jefe and Cerro Azul (or anywhere else along the Continental Divide between there and Nusagandi) has not been birded much; perhaps that is the reason for no previous records. I am copying to Loyda since she did go down this trail with Carmen once, and wonder if she saw any trace of this species.


Another good sighting was a Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, found by Gilles in an antswarm with 'nothing but' Bicolored Antbirds and Plain-brown Woodcreepers. On the way up we had a male Yellow-eared Toucanet, also near the clearing.

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