Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tocumen Rail Update

Karl Kaufmann reports.

Here are some more photos taken March 15 at Tocumen. We had about 10 people this time. We spoke with the person who is leasing the property to grow rice. He said that the field on the west side of the road which had just been harvested was the dry variety of rice while that on the east side was wet rice. He plans to harvest the wet rice in April, so we have a few weeks more to see the rails. His lease runs out in 4 years, so apparently the fields will remain as rice fields at least until then.
He also said that this year was the first year that he, or apparently anyone, had planted rice in October instead of December. Apparently the rice responds well to the extra sunlight available in the first part of the year. Perhaps this is related to the reason for such an unusual concentration of crakes and rails. In two more months, the young rails might be able to fly and the parents would disperse when the rice is harvested. Or maybe not.
A pair of soras, showing size difference.


A scruffy White-throated Crake.


Crippling views of Yellow-breasted Crake.



Spotted Rail and chick.


Spotted Rail chick.


Spotted Rail jumping up to grab a billful of rice.


The Paint-billed Crakes made a brief appearance, but were missed by most.

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