Advantage Tours highlights, by Venicio Wilson

Over the last couple of weeks we have gathered a couple of interesting bird sighting from all over the country.

Sapayoa (Oct 6, 2007): While conducting a scouting trip for Advantage Tours in a remote creek in the vicinity of La Marea village in Darién, Euclides Campos filmed for about 3 minutes a pair of Sapayoas. These elusive birds are only found in a few places in Panama. They were foraging close to the ground and under a drizzle common to this month.

Blackpoll Warbler (Oct 7, 2007): While conducting an Advantage Tours snorkeling trip at Playa La Huerta , Portobelo National Park, Guido Berguido and Venicio Wilson Altamiranda spotted a 1st year male Blackpoll Warbler . The bird was filmed for around 4 minutes while foraging intensively at a recently-cut bush some 20 meters inland from the beach. After several revisions using Sibley’s Guide to Birds of North America, National Geographic Birds of North America and some pictures from internet we were able to identify this confusing Fall warbler.

Yellow-breasted Flycatcher (Oct 13, 2007): Euclides Campos, Gleen and Jannet Lee and Venicio Wilson Altamiranda had great views of the Colombian colonizer: Yellow-breasted Flycatcher. The bird has turned out to be quite common around La Marea village in Darién. It is easy to find once its characteristic call is learned. [This is probably the first record of this species away from El Real —Ed.]

Blue-and-yellow Macaws (Oct 13-15, 2007): Euclides Campos, Gleen and Jannet Lee, and Venicio Wilson Altamiranda spotted several groups of Blue-and-yellow Macaws flying right over La Marea village in Darién. They have been seen there on all previous visits.

Aplomado Falcon (Oct 15, 2007): On the way back to Metetí around the road to Puerto Quimba, Euclides Campos, Julie Gomez, Gleen and Jannet Lee, Jesús Rodríguez, and Venicio Wilson Altamiranda saw an adult Aplomado Falcon perched in a burned tree in the middle of a cattle pasture. There have been some reports from around El Real, in Darién and last year and immature bird was spotted at Tocumen Marsh while looking for Jabirú (report pending). This is a magnificent bird that has declined in other countries but it is obviously extending its range in Panama due to the clearing of forest to create pasture for cattle. What an irony.

Purple-throated Mountain-Gem (Oct 22, 2007): While leading a group of birders from the Partners In Flight Program who took a trip to the Chiriquí Highlands with Advantage Tours, Venicio Wilson Altamiranda spotted 3 adult male Purple-throated Mountain-Gems. The birds were seen foraging on bushes along the road leading up to the ranger station at Las Nubes, La Amistad International Park. According to Ridgely’s book this species is not found in the Western Chiriquí highlands. The genus Lampornis is very complex in the Talamanca mountain range. The group observed the birds for over 15 minutes. The birds did not seem to be bothered by the presence of White-throated Mountain-Gems and they chased each other. Some were even photographed. Hope to post them later. Since the females of both species are similar we couldn’t know which belonged to which species