Monday, December 16, 2013

Unspotted Saw-whet Owl rediscovered in Panama, a report by Jason Fidorra

I would like to submit the following audio recording and description in support of my recent sighting of 1 Unspotted Saw-whet Owl on the Vulcan Baru summit road on 10 Dec 2013. I am under the impression that no confirmed record exists for this species in Panama since the 1965 banding and used all appropriate caution in making this identification.
While camping at the designated camping area (3,260m according to park signage) approximately 1 km from the summit, 1 USWO was heard calling slowly at 2345 hrs by Lena Ware and myself. We had not played any owl recordings and the calling was completely unsolicited.
After about 2 min and a quick review of various calls, I began playing a USWO recording. The bird responded with an accelerated call and moved closer. At this point I made the recording of the call (attached). After another bout of playback I saw an object move overhead and the owl called now from behind me. It continued calling for at least 5 min in this location and with a headlamp I was able to find the bird perched about 15 feet above the ground in the understory of a tree canopy. I viewed it dimly with 10x binoculars. I could see a very small owl whose most prominent feature was a darkish band across the chest offset against a light belly. Facial features were difficult to assess in the light but I could see a dark facial disk surrounding what appeared to be 2 oversized eyes.
At this point, I alerted Lena to the bird. She saw it without binoculars at a range of ~25 feet before it flew. She could not see the body but said that "the face looks like a saw-whet, facial disk, large eyes, and white "T-zone"" (she had spent October banding northern saw-whet owls).
We assembled with a camera and tried playback there again and from 1 other location but the owl was not coming in. We stopped playback by 0010 hrs (dec 11) but continued to hear calling until 0020 hrs.
Later that night at 0505 hrs, USWO calling was again heard near the campsite. No playback was used nor effort made to locate the bird which stopped calling by 0515.

2 comments:

Jason said...

The recording of the bird can be found on Xeno-canto here: http://www.xeno-canto.org/158148

Jason said...

The audio recording can be found here: http://www.xeno-canto.org/158148

There was an error in this gadget