Thursday, April 15, 2010

Birding San Francisco Reserve, Nusagandi, Pipeline Road, a report by Guido Berguido

During a recent Advantage Tours birding trip in Central and Eastern Panama along with Bruce Cohen and Dale Dillavou, we had some interesting observations. On April 7th, while birding at the San Francisco Reserve near Tortí, we managed to record a few noteworthy hummingbirds like the Band-tailed Barbthroat, Blue-throated Goldentail, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, and Long-billed Starthroat. Walking along the forest edge we found Red-rumped Woodpecker, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Sulphur-rumped Tanager and a flock of Dusky-faced Tanagers by the steam. Also a year-bird for me: a Red-billed Scythebill. Additionally, we noticed a pair of Orange-crowned Orioles nesting under a Banana leaf. Other interesting sightings were Black Antshrike, Bare-crowned Antbirds, Sooty-headed Tyrannulet, and no fewer than 5 different individuals of Royal Flycatcher, including a displaying female. Five species of puffbird were recorded: Pied, Black-breasted, White-whiskered, and Barred, as well as White-fronted Nunbird; we dipped on the more common White-necked Puffbird.
Later, while trying to locate a calling Golden-headed Manakin, we went further into the older growth forest and found a pair of Speckled Mourners and a flock of various antwrens including Rufous-winged Antwren, a few Tawny-crowned Greenlets, and a pair of Wedge-billed Woodcreepers. On the way back we stopped around Bayano at the Río Mono Bridge and were
rewarded by a flock of tanagers that included White-eared Conebill and a lifer that had been eluding me for a while: a pair of Streaked Xenops! They were boldly striped, and a uniform rufous tail. When we played their call, they responded right away and we got some great looks.
By the bridge we also found a vocalizing female One-colored Becard building a nest. Near the female becard was another similar-looking individual that was mostly buffy with some sections of its body slaty-gray including most of the head. I am not sure if this is the same individual that Beny reported as a possible Cinerous Becard.
On April 9th while exploring the trails at Burbayar we were able to find a flock of Tawny-crested tanagers containing a couple of Sapayoas. We kept on exploring the trails and saw a perched Barred Hawk, vocalizing Stripe-throated Wren, Red-throated Caracara, and Striped Woodhaunter. However, we missed the Speckled Antshrike. Our local guides told us that this may be a result of excessive use of playback in the trails by other tour groups.
The next day while birding the road past Nusagandi we came a across a flock of tanangers and euphonias containing a pair of Slate-throated Gnatcatchers, a species that had managed to escape me until now, another lifer for me!
Back around Gamboa we returned to Pipeline Road. After finding a single Ocellated Antbird, which was new for the group, I decided to go check a small pond along the road past Juan Grande creek, hoping to re-located a Green-and-rufous Kingfisher seen earlier. Upon approaching the pond, a good-sized bird flew up to a nearby tree, it turned out to be a gorgeous
Agami Heron: year bird for me and lifer for our party. The photos were taking with a small Panasonic Lumix camera with a 10X zoom. Despite the poor quality of the pictures, the bird´s striking colors are evident.
On our last day of birding, April 12th, we stopped for a quick look at Summit ponds and found a Capped Heron.

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