Saturday, August 28, 2010

Chiriquí Report, by Ken Allaire

Just wanted to pass on a couple of the better sightings of the last few very rainy days in the Volcan area. At Finca Hartmann on 25/8 I found a Stripe-breasted Wren, I think a bit more than halfway up to Ojos de Agua, the first good pathc of forest I encountered en route. When I heard the bird it struck me as odd for the area, without really thinking about its usual range, so I employed playback, and the bird came in immediately and lingered for a minute or so, not 3m away. I collected audio of its response to playback, which will be posted on xeno-canto when I return home. I believe this would be a first record for Chiriqui- I'm hard-pressed to explain this, but anecdotal evidence from the Hartmann family suggests that heavy rains in the area drive some species to different locations, possibly explaining the wren's foray onto the Pacific slope.
Also excellent for the area was a Bronzy Hermit, which came in to a plaintain tree as I was taking a bathroom break, of all things- even without bins the size and tail shape suggested this species, so I waited a while and eventually it came back and afforded good looks. On the Rio Sereno road, about 2km past Santa Clara, I found Spot-crowned Euphonia, and Masked and Gray-crowned Yellowthroats, the latter heard several times.
On 27/8, at the Los Quetzales Cabanas, I enjoyed both Slaty and Peg-billed Finches- the former is fairly abundant and comes to seed they are putting out at cabin #9, the latter was seen with some effort higher in bamboo nearby, with the mandible and general plumage seen quite well. The local guide, Abel, informs me that the Peg-billed has been seen occasionally, but always requires much more effort than the Slaty.
On 28/8 Glenn Lee and I went to Lagunas de Volcan. The most noteworthy bird was a Scaly-throated Foliage-Gleaner, seen quite well, and then later calling- unfortunately it did not repsond to playback, and in my efforts to call it in I missed my chance to record it. This seems a low elevation for the species, but given records from Cabanas Quetzales and Finca Hartmann, it's not so surprising. Also present was a Sunbittern, found and photographed by Glenn, perched on a branch across the first lake. As far as I know this is the second report from the locale- when I saw one in 2007 I was credited with the first, how odd that i should see it again- Glenn has never seen it at the lakes, he was stunned.

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