Saturday, November 22, 2008

Expedition to El Real, Darién

On November 6, Rosabel & Karl Kaufmann and Delicia & Darién Montañez drove out to Yaviza and El Real, Darién, in search of all those potential lifers they had been missing out on. As we approached Yaviza at around noon, we stopped at some promising marshes, about 7.5 km before town. After a few scorching minutes Rosabel spotted a female and young Large-billed Seed-Finches in the brush while a male or two sung from exposed branches nearby. Also heard at the spot was a Little Cuckoo. At El Real, no additional seed-finches were seen at the airstrip, which was also devoid of Yellow-hooded Blackbirds. As dusk approached, and after the rain stopped, a Donacobius scolded us from the grass while a singing Willow Flycatcher made brief appearances. The first of many flocks of Spectacled Parrotlet and Black Oropendola. The next day and a half produced Pale-bellied Hermit, Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, Red-billed Scythebill, possible first Darién records of Sharp-shinned Hawk, Tropical Mockingbird and Palm Warbler (seen at the airstrip November 7), but no seed-finch or blackbird. Also, no Ruby Topaz.
On our way back to Panama we stopped at the marsh near Yaviza, where we had another possible first Darién record: Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, more Large-billed Seed-Finches, yet no Yellow-hooded Blackbirds. Guess we'll have to go back sometime.

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