Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tocumen Rail Update

Here's another batch of Tocumen Neocrex photos taken by Jeremiah Trimble on March 9.






Especially intriguing is this last photo, that seems to show a bird with both a buffy undertail and black-and-white barring on the flanks (or sides of the tail). Upon examining it, George Angehr remarked

Curiouser and curiouser. The specmen I have, while very extensively barred below, has a very few buffy feathers just below the tail. The top of the crown is definitely slaty, with the brown feathers starting just at the rear end of the top of the head. Paint-billed is supposed to have the center of crown brownish, according to the Rails book. As Dodge has already pointed out, the first photos Rosabel got last week seem to show a Colombian. While th full underparts aren't visible, the area just below the tail, the thighs, and lower flanks appear to be buffy without any clear barring, although there are a few pale flecks. The crown appears to be entirely slaty. From the illustration in the Rails book, it seems to be ssp olivescens rather than the darker ripleyi described from Achiote Road. It's certainly possible that we have a hybrid population there.
On Monday, March 24 Rosabel Miró and Delicia, Camilo and Darién Montañez went looking for any suspicious Neocrex, but found none. There were plenty of Spotted Rails, two or three sightings of Yellow-breasted Crake and a single White-throated Crake, but there were very few Soras left.
Then on Tuesday, March 25, Bill Adsett, Mark Letzer and Charlotte Elton visited, and also saw no Neocrex. They did see the Spotted Rails and a few Yellow-breasted Crakes, and even a Gray-breasted Crake.

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