Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Lay Over Birding

Our return flight from Ecuador to Los Angeles has a lay over in Panama. When we booked our flight using COPA Airlines, we asked the travel agent to give us an extra day in Panama before we continue to LAX.  This was to avoid spending the whole night at the airport. The flight from Ecuador arrives Panama at 5 pm but the connecting flight to Los Angeles leaves at 7 am the following day! So why not extend the lay over for one more day and use that time to go birding.

And birding we did. Thankfully, the Parque Metropolitano was not that far from the hotel where we stayed. We visited this place last year and were amazed at the number of birds here - at a forest smack in the middle of the city.

The relatively short time that we spent here was still fruitful. Although we did not see as many birds as we had seen last year, we still added two lifers to our list. The first was a bit of a sad story: It rained hard the day before and most likely because of the heavy downpour an owl fledgling was dislodged from its nest. We found it perched on a branch about two feet from the ground looking so haggard. We notified that park's staff and they took the owlet assuring us that they will take care of it and release it once it has recovered from whatever ails it. That was a Striped Owl.

The other lifer was a bit of a surprise. I only realized it when I was processing our photos back home in the Philippines. I knew it was an Oropendola but was it the Crested one which we saw last year? Further research showed that what we got this time was the Chestnut-headed kind.

As I mentioned before, although we did not see as many birds as last year, this time I was able to get some closer shots of a few species. (Notice that it was only me who was taking pictures. It was due to an unfortunate incident - the autofocus mechanism of Cynthia's 300mm lens died here in Panama.)

The Keel-billed Toucans were friendlier this time.

The same can also be said about the Crimson-crowned Woodpecker

And the Cocoa Woodcreeper

Even the usually shy Green Honeycreepers were out in the open.

At about 3 pm we were sweating from the high humidity and our stomachs were grumbling, having had only cup noodles for lunch. We returned to our hotel and prepared for the long trip back to the U.S.

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