Friday, April 23, 2010

Cerro Santiago and Fortuna, a report by Ken Allaire


This weekend Björn Anderson, Euclides Campos and I took a whirlwind trip to Chiriquí to seek out a few target birds. On Saturday we visited Cerro Santiago; Yellow-green Finch [a Panama endemic listed as Vulnerable by IUCN] was found easily (photo by Björn), almost from the moment we stepped out of our transport, but Glow-throated Hummingbird [another Panama endemic listed as Vulnerable by IUCN] made us work. For most of the morning we had only female or immature Selasphorus, and one male that only I saw briefly, almost certainly a Scintillant. A male Glow-throated finally appeared just before we were to depart, much to our relief. We carefully studied the tail patterns and underparts of a number of females, and Björn captured some outstanding photos. When he's sorted through we plan to create a webpage, as a Google search of the Glow-throated Hummingbird offers little regarding females of the species, and even Ridgely and HBW offer somewhat confusing information and illustrations.

Other noteworthy birds recorded at Cerro Santiago (not listed in A Birdfinding Guide to Panama) included Green-fronted Lancebill, Dark Pewee, Yellow-winged Vireo, Black-cheeked Warbler (judged to be of the eastern race bensoni), and Wrenthrush.


Later on Saturday we found ourselves in the Fortuna area, where one of the trip highlights was an immature Bicolored Hawk near the head of the road to the Continental Divide Trail. This pale and distinctly collared bird had us scratching our heads until it flew, showing the rufous thighs. On Sunday we hiked the Continental Divide trail, where one of the highlights was a very cooperative Lattice-tailed Trogon, a lifer for me (again photo by Björn). Other highlights were heard-only Buff-fronted Quail-Dove and Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl, neither of which is common in the area.

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