Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Curlew Sandpiper in Panama Viejo, a report by Tom Hince

This afternoon (October 27th) around 12:45 pm I found a Curlew Sandpiper near the old city ruins while heading towards Tocumen airport to return my rental car. I stopped about half way between the visitor center and the ruins area, where a road turns to the north and there is a good view of the mudflats. I had good scope views of the bird, which based upon plumage was a juvenile and likely a female based upon bill length. I watched the bird foraging with Willets, Western Sandpipers and dowitchers. Twice it made short flights and I could see the wing and rump pattern clearly. I made notes in the field and will forward those when I get home. I was about to go back to the car to get my digital camera to digiscope the bird when the whole mass of shorebirds took flight for a third time and this time they moved a great distance and I couldnt relocate the Curlew Sandpiper. I decided to move on as my spouse was walking ahead taking photos and a passerby with good English stopped and told me it was not safe there and that I should not stop. So I left this spot and regrettably decided it was best not to return.
I had excellent views of this bird through the scope and am completely confident in the ID. I know this species well having seen it at least six times in North America, and hundreds of times in Europe, Africa and Asia (including numerous individuals in South Africa last month).

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