Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Slaty Finches at Los Quetzales, a report by David Muth

A group from New Orleans—David Muth, Phillip Wallace, Dan Purrington and Mike Tifft— visited Panama July 31-Aug 10. We hit Plantation Rd. (photos and video of calling So. Bentbill), Rainforest Discovery Center and Pipeline Rd. (Blue Cotinga, Scaly-throated Leaftosser) while in Gamboa (2 nights at Soberiana Research Station). After that we went west to Fortuna and Finca la Suiza (2 nights). From there we visited Willie Mazu (Barred Hawk, but otherwise rain and fogged optics) and the area up at the continental divide (Brown-billed Scythebill). Then west to Los Quetzales in Chiriqui-- 3 nights. We stayed up at Cabinas #9.
From there we went to El Valle, and stayed at Canopy Tower 2 nights, then a night at Albrook Inn. Despite our short visit, we were delighted to get a half day tour from Danilo Rodriguez. The morning walk up the El Convento Trail was slowed by rain, but still memorable. Danilo made it up to us by meeting us at 5 p.m. and showing us, in short order, Mottled Owls, Tody Motmots, and White-tipped Sicklebill perching for the night.
We had a few perhaps Xenornis-worthy birds. We took the new road between Boquete and Volcan, (Portrellilos Abajo to Cuesta de Piedra). At one of the river crossings, the one with the best forest, we had Fasciated Tiger-Heron, unfortunately not photographed, along with Torrent Tyranulet. It might have been the Rio Monla or R. Platanal.


As reported by Ken Allaire, there are Slaty Finches coming to seeds put out at the Los Quetzales Cabinas, especially number 8, but also 9, and we saw them along the "road" near 5, and possibly farther down on the edge of the village. I saw as many as 8-10 at a time, and I suspect there were 15-20 at the upper cabins. Lots of photos and video. Other great birds up there included peppershrikes, Barred Becards, 2 Green-fronted Lancebills, tapaculo and Wrenthrush, Streak-breated Treehunter, Buffy Tufted-cheek, Large-billed Finch, Black-thighed Grosbeak, etc. Abel, who works at Los Quetzales, was enormously helpful.

Most astonishing to me was a Maroon-chested Ground-Dove in the garden, in town at the Los Quetzales Lodge. I alone saw it, and it flew. No photos obtained. Phillip told me later that Abel had indicated it could be seen there.
At Metro Park we saw the staked out potoos.

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