Sunday, January 2, 2005

Atlantic Christmas Bird Count 2004

Northern Parula: An adult male in non-breeding plumage was seen by Darién and Delicia Montañez in Fort Sherman. It was with a flock of tanagers and flycatchers bathing in a ditch on the back part of the fort, near the road where the Lined Seedeater weas seen a couple of years ago. When we first saw the bird we were about five meters away from the flock. After a couple of seconds it flew up to a higher bush, allowing us to get closer, as near as about two meters. Total combined observation time was about thirty seconds. Iit was clearly a warbler, slaty-blue above and mainly whitish below. The throat and chest were pale yellow, and there was a faint smudge of chestnut in the middle of the chest. The bold facial pattern, and incomplete white spectacles were very visible, and it had some olive green on the back of its head. The white wingbars were equally conspicuous. This is the first male northern parula I've seen in panama, but i have seen the species in fall and spring migration in the US many times, so i'm confident that my ID was correct.
Grey-breasted Crake: Since being taught the call of this species in Costa Rica in 2001 I've been paying close attention to suspicious sounds in marshes all over Panama. Based on sound alone, I've been reporting Gray-breasted Crakes from the Gatún Drop Zone for a couple of Christmas Counts, but never got even a glimpse of one. This year we heard them, as usual, early in the morning while on our way back from owling. Late in the afternoon we went back to the Drop Zone and Camilo finally saw one run across the road at the far end, near the mangroves at the Fench Canal.

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