Mostrando las entradas de abril, 2009

Green Ibis on the Teribe, a report by Ariel Aguirre

From April 21 to 23 I led at trip to the Soposo Community Lodge on the Teribe River, Bocas del Toro, where we were able to see a group of three Green Ibises visiting the lodge grounds every morning.

More on the mysterious mangoes of western Panama

In his thorough essay of yesterday, Matt Miller sheds some light on the big mess that is field separation (or lack thereof) of the mangoes of western Panama. Read on, dear readers, if you dare. The bottom line: range simply cannot be used to separate Green-breasted Mango from Veraguan Mango, as specimens of both types have been obtained in both slopes, sometimes from the same site at the same time. Adult males are different enough, but we don't know nothing about no fieldmarks for no females nor juveniles, and there may not be any. The only sure way to establish if there are differences (or if Veraguans and Green-breasteds are too much of the same thing to be called different species) is to obtain a bigger sample, i.e. get more specimens, which will probably horrify them birders; but here at Xenornis we're all in favor of the advancement of science, especially if it gets us more ticks in our life lists. Matt's contribution to the blogosphere, Neo-Ornithology, promises a w

More on the Miguel de La Borda Mangoes

His Formerfieldeditorshipness Dodge Engleman weighs in on the identity of the Mangoes photographed during the PAS trip to Miguel de La Borda, Donoso, in eastern Colón: I think we have to go with Veraguan Mango: no black in male breast; black in juv. doesn’t go up to the bill. But this group is a mess and may yet prove to be variation in a single sp. Unless there is a size or bill shape difference of course in which case it will bear waiting until enough specimens are collected (only window kills I hope!) to work it out. I was thinking that when we went to Panajungla in the mid ‘90’s we were referring to Storrs Olson’s paper on Bocas (’93) for our diagnosis of Breen-breasted and I believe I recall he mentioned differences in the rufous on the underparts. The HBW isn’t much help, even with references. May a note to NEORN would result in a reply re reference to Anthracothorax?

Rufous Nightjar and more, a report by Carlos Bethancourt

I just wanted to share a pic of a nesting Rufous Nightjar. As you notice on this pic it has two chicks. It's the first time I see a nightjar chick. About two years ago I found a nest on Old Gamboa Road with Jean Iron, a friend from Canada, but we were monitoring the bird and no chick wa seen. But this year we discovered this beautiful bird almost on the same spot! By the way Jean came back on March and Alexis found it with her too, so now Jean's nickname is the Nightjar. I took this photographs last Friday, April 17th while birding with the famous world traveler and blogger Charlie Moore. You can also check his report here. Early morning that same day we had also seen this Pheasant Cuckoo on Pipeline Road. This bird has been observed by our team of guides near Juan Grande creek and at the entrance of the road for the past month, even though it has not been very vocal this year! Finally, on March 30th while leading a birding trip with Sam Fried, we observed a Sunbittern

Mango at Miguel de la Borda, a report by Rosabel Miró

Last weekend, a small group of brave Panama Auduboners headed on an exploratory trip to Miguel de La Borda and the recently-declared Donoso Protected Area. El viernes en la tarde, en los alrededores del pueblo, como a eso de las 4 pm nos encontramos con varios Veraguan [?—see below] Mangos (no menos de 4 manchos, 1 hembra). Les adjuntamos fotos de los colibríes. El sábado en la mañana, como a eso de las 8:00am, en el Río Miguel de la Borda nos encontramos con varias decenas de Turkey Vultures migratorios que, al parecer, pasaron la noche en los potreros aledaños al río. Te adjuntamos una foto también. Adicional, nos tocó observar el viernes, sábado y domingo grupos pequeños de vultures migrando. Esa misma mañana, el el sendero de Quebrada El Caño, a diez minutos del pueblito de Guásimo (a orillas del río Miguel de La Borda) nos encontramos con un pequeño bosque de heliconias donde observamos a un Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer posado. Más arriba, en el mismo sendero observamos unos

A Storm-Petrel Photographed

Venicio Wilson forwards this photo of a Storm-Petrel photographed by Christian Gernez on the Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic's Sea Voyager, apparently near Punta Mala, apparently a few days ago. Additional photos are apparently on their way, but in the meantime let's start speculating, shall we? We would strongly lean for Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel, probably the commonest Oceanodroma in Panama waters, and not just because we like erring on the side of caution: there's just a lot of white on this rump, and the rump is shaped like a wedge! Also, if you squint you can almost imagine the white extending down the sides, a tell-tale tail. Shape and lenght of the tail itself is not particularly clear, but again if you squint you can almost see it as slightly notched, but not deeply forked. ¿Any dissenting opinions?

One more try at the gulls in Costa del Este

Rosabel and Karl Kaufmann, Jan Axel Cubilla and Darién Montañez spent last afternoon's high tide again braving rain and shine to scour through the flock of gulls at Costa del Este. We got there earlier this time, which gave us time for a first stop at Panamá Viejo, where we had a Lesser Black-backed Gull, a Herring Gull, a few Ring-billed Gulls, a first-cycle Forster's Tern, a diminutive Elegant Tern in front of a huge Royal Tern, a Franklin's Gull and a Laughing Gull with aberrantly-bright-red bill and legs. Photos by Rosabel Miró. Then on to Costa del Este, where we had pretty much the same as on Friday: at least five Ring-billed Gulls, at least three Herring Gulls, at least two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and the third-cycle type Kelp Gull that has been hanging around for a week or so. Alas, no Kittiwake. Photos by Jan Axel Cubilla.

Wattled Jacana in Volcán Lakes, a report by Guido Berguido

While on a birding tour with some folks from California we visited the Volcán Lakes on February 20th, 2009. Some of the highlights seen were the Chiriquí (Masked) Yellowthroat and Wilson's Snipe, among other goodies. Of greatest surprise to us while scanning the lakes was a Wattled Jacana amongst the more abundant Northern Jacanas. The Wattled Jacana despite being at a disadvantage was very aggressive towards the local ones. See attached pictures taken by Bob Rogers.

Gulling at Costa del Este

This afternoon, Rosabel and Karl Kaufmann, George Angehr, Jan Axel Cubilla and Darién Montañez hit Costa del Este at high tide looking for the Kittiwake yet again, with no success on that front yet again. This afternoon's 16' tide pushed zillions of gulls to Costa del Este, and all we had to do was find the rare ones in the massive flock of mostly breeding-plumage Laughing Gulls. The third-cycle type Kelp Gull made a late appearance but stayed in sight for a long while, as did not one but three first-cycle Lesser Black-backed Gulls, one of which is shown here next to one of the at least three first and second-cycle Herring Gulls. Also seen were at least five first and second-cycle Ring-billed Gulls (one of which was as ratty as a Herring Gull). Also present were a bunch of cineracens Black Skimmers, a Franklin's Gull, and what proved to be a Laughing Gull with a Heermann's-like black-tipped red bill (the blurry bird inthe middle of all the Laughing Gulls behin

South American Wattled Jacana

Gonzalo Horna photographed this weird Wattled Jacana on the Chagres River on Tuesday April 7. The maroon back shows it not to be of the subspecies hypomelaena that is normally found in Panama (and northern Colombia), but one of the five others found in South America. If on closer observation a number of black scapulars are seen it would be a scapularis of western Ecuador, otherwise it's anyone's guess between melanopygia of western Colombia, intermedia of Venezuela, jacana of Guyana to Argentina, or peruviana of Peru. Another maroon-backed South American Wattled Jacana was seen at Ciénaga de Las Macanas on July 28, 2002.

More Costa del Este Gulls

Rafael Luck visited Costa del Este yesterday in search of vagrant gulls, and photographed these three big gulls with pink legs. We're calling these Herring Gulls based on size, leg color and underparts uniformity, but any differing opinions are, as always, more than welcome. The plumage on the one on the left in the first photo looks just as ragged as the one on the one in the second photo, so they may be the same bird. Compare with the happier, healthier one on the right.

Skimmers, Gulls at Costa del Este

Karl Kaufmann sent in some photos taken at Costa del Este last Sunday, April 14 whilst looking for Black-legged Kittiwake. The Black Skimmers photographed show the slaty-gray underwing and reduced white on the tail that betrays them for the South American race cineracens. The North American subspecies niger (check your Sibley) would show mostly-white underwings and much more white on the tail. Karl also sent better photos (as opposed to my crummy digiscoped efforts) of the third-cycle-type Kelp Gull, shown in the last two photos in front of a first-cycle-type Ring-billed Gull. Also present was this extremely-bleached Ring-billed Gull (fide tapered bill, yellowish legs, medium size), possibly another first-cycle individual. More interesting is this large first-cycle gull that our sun-tired eyes called out as a Herring while we were there, but that upon closer scrutiny Karl is calling a Lesser Black-backed Gull (and we the editor agree) based on the coarsely mottled bre

More on the Costa del Este Kelp Gull

Martin Reid (via his formerfieldeditorshipness Engleman) chimes in on the big gull photographed in Costa del Este on Saturday: This looks like a good 3rd-cycle-type Kelp to me: the leg color is perfect and excludes any north american species (YFGU is a 3-year species and never looks like this.) The mantle not being blacker is okay for a bird of this age from the South American populations, which are often a bit paler above in non-adult cycles. If this is a First for Panama (I doubt it) I'd ask Alvaro Jaramillo to provide feedback.

The same thing we do every high tide, Pinky: look for the Black-legged Kittiwake.

To no avail. Rosabel Miró, Ariel Aguirre and Darién Montañez didn't get to Costa del Este until two hours after high tide, and by then not even the Kelp Gull was visible. At least two Herring Gulls an four Ring-billed Gulls were around, though, and the flock of South American Black Skimmers was up to 25 individuals.

2008 Christmas Bird Count results

After months and months of thorough compiling and chasing after participants, the Panama Audubon Society is proud to publish the preliminary results of the 2008 Christmas Bird Counts. Pacific Count, December 14: 268 species. Central Count, December 21: 235 species. Volcán Count, December 21: 191 species. Atlantic Count, December 28: 254 species.

No Kittiwake for you

This morning's installment of Find the Kittiwake at Costa del Este had mixed results. Rosabel and Karl Kaufmann, George Angehr, Venicio Wilson, Jan Axel Cubilla and Darién Montañez were unable to find the needle in the haystack, but had some nice consolation prizes anyway. Top on the list was a presumed Kelp Gull of mysterious age, amply photographed. The legs (whih were dull greenish yellow) were not bright enough for anything else that came to mind, but somehow the back color didn't seem black enough, and the bird had too much dusky on the face and nape. The flock had more Ring-billed and Herring Gulls than any of the participants had ever seen together at once. Also present were about a dozen Black Skimmers of the South American denomination (i.e. with little white on the tail, dark underwings and little red on the bill), a dozen or so Elegant Terns, a Caspian Tern, and a Franklin's Gull. We'll probably hit Costa del Este again tomorrow at noon, so more photos

Agami, Kelp

Jan Axel Cubilla photographed this adult Agami Heron at Pipeline Road's Río Frijolito this morning, while birding with Dr. Osvaldo Quintero. Also seen was a flock of half a dozen Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and two male Scarlet Tanagers in a Miconia, and two Brown-hooded Parrots over Quebrada Juan Grande. Later in the day he joined the team hunting for kittiwake in Costa del Este, where he photographed the Kelp Gull. Any ideas on the identity of this gull will be kindly appreciated.

More on the kittiywake

Rosabel Miró adds more second-hand details (and a second-hand photo!) of the Black-legged Kittywake seen yesterday: Hoy me llamó George A. para decirme que en la mañana de hoy Ghislam Rompré, Doug Robinson y Randy Moore observaron en los bordes de la salida del Río Matías Hernández en Costa del Este un Black-legged Kittiwake, el primer reporte para Panamá. Adicional, observaron un Kelp Gull. El winter range del Kittiwake: Winters at sea and along coasts from Labrador to Florida and southern Alaska to Baja California. Also along Europe to northern Africa, and southward along Pacific Coast to Japan. Aquí les paso una foto del Kittiwake de hoy. La foto está malísima porque se la tomé a la cámara de Ghislam. Apenas ellos regresen de Cerro Azul contaremos con mejores fotos. Al buscar el ave pónganle atención a cualquiera que tenga un collar negruzco en la nuca, manchitas negras detrás de los ojos, pico negro y patas negras. Mañana sábado 4 de abril la marea es a las 11:10 am, de 12.8 pies


word on the street is Doug Robinson just saw a Black-legged Kittiwake (a first for Panama) AND a Kelp Gull at Costa del Este. More details as things develop.