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Birdwatching at Summit Hotel

Some time ago our photographer Miguel “Siu” spent a weekend at Summit Hotel & Club Golf (, and of course, instead of spending time with clubs and balls, he took his tripod and camera and went searching birds on the trails and forested areas surrounding the facilities.
Suddenly, Siu heard a raptor whistle call that he immediately recognized as a Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus). He had heard it so many times while watching this bird soaring high, but to his surprise this time it was perched on a cecropia dead branch, just looking to the golf course. It only took seconds to draw this large bird’s attention and get a decent shot before it decided to soar to a farthest perch.

The Black Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus) is a large, black raptor of Neotropical forests. It has a prominent crest, is blackish with narrow white barring below, and broad gray bars on the tail. This hawk-eagle occurs in both open and dense forests. Individuals often soa…

A day at a mudflat, it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it (Panama birds photos at Chepo)

After taking long vacations I returned to my beloved Panama and it didn't take much time to return to my wildlife photography duties.

Months ago traveling to Chepo, in the Eastern part of Panama Province, to capture some egrets and anhingas nesting I saw a small marsh in a field being plowed, the marsh had a lot of life on it and I decided to return some day and try to capture some pictures.

So I went to this place and as soon as I parked the first species I noticed were some Wood Storks and Great Blue Herons (immature), I decided to shoot the herons first and the storks went away.

The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is common near the shores of open water and in wetlands over most of North America and Central America as well as the Caribbean and the Gal√°pagos Islands. It is a rare vagrant to Europe, with records from Spain, the Azores, England and the Netherlands. An all-white population found only in the Caribbean and southern Florida was once treated as a separate species and known as the great white heron. It's a common winter resident with a few present in summer; on larger rivers and lakes, in marshes, and along coasts on both slopes.

In the distance I observed other species like Glossy Ibis, Black-necked Stilts and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks which were closer so I could get this shot.

The Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), is a whistling duck that breeds from the southernmost United States and tropical Central to south-central South America. In Panama is common and apparently spreading in lowlands on much of the Pacific, it's also uncommon on the Caribbean. Found all year on lakes, ponds, mangroves, estuaries and rice fields.

Then, not so close I got Spotted Sandpipers and a Solitary Sandpiper.

Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)

Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria)

The Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria) breeds in woodlands across Alaska and Canada. It is a migratory bird, wintering in Central and South America, especially in the Amazon River basin, and the Caribbean. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe. In Panama is a common transient and winter resident and occurs throughout the country in shallow mainly freshwater habitats. 

The first prize were the Least Sandpipers which let me get so close to get the best shots of the day but of course I had to get into the mud first.

 The tripod got buried in the mud

My butcher boots helped me get inside the mudflat

"Two can live as cheaply as one" 
"Donde come uno comen dos"

The Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) is the smallest of the shorebirds and is distinguished from Semipalmated and Western Sandpipers by yellowish legs. Their breeding habitat is the northern North American continent on tundra or in bogs. They migrate in flocks to the southern United States, Central America and northern South America. They occur as very rare vagrants in western Europe. These birds forage on mudflats, picking up food by sight, sometimes by probing as observed in these set of pictures. They mainly eat small crustaceans, insects and snails. In Panama is a common transient and fairly winter transient.

Then I searched the rest of the field and nearby areas, and got several more pictures but they will be the subject of future posts.