Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ciénega de Las Macanas

We recently enjoyed our first visit to Las Macanas Marsh, in the Herrera Province of the Republic of Panamá. This marsh is a hotspot during migration, when waders stop on their way north and south. We visited in January, a quiet time, when large flocks of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are whistling at each other and young Wattled Jacanas are not yet looking much like their parents. Some of the adult jacanas we saw did not look "pure" - they were apparent hybrids between Northern Jacana and Wattled Jacana. The center of their backs was rufous, although the rest of their plumage was black. The arrangement of the facial shield elements is an important distinction. It's a subject discussed in more detail by Matthew Miller and includes an update.

On the road back toward the highway, we saw several caracaras and vultures working the rangeland. We watched a Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianus) soar low, then land and walk around in a field, looking for goodies. And a beautiful Crested Caracara (Polyborus plancas) perched low in a tree, his crop full enough to protrude through the feathers of his breast.

It was a pleasant detour, away from the highway and the crowds. Below is some of Marco's video of the peaceful scene.


  1. Hello,
    My husband and I are coming to Panama to see the Cerro Azul development next week. I have been reading your blogs since the beginning. We have so many questions. How is the situation with the geckos and the other animals? How big is the lote you are living on? Is it better to just buy a small pre-built home to see if we like it? Did the home you bought qualify for the tax abatement? If it did not what will the taxes be?
    We would love to meet you both so that you could give a a true first hand account of what to expect. We are meeting an agent at Cerro Azul on Tues. Feb 22, 2011. Please write back. I have learned so much from all of the blogs that you have posted and would be thrilled to actually meet you both.

  2. Hi Jan -

    Thanks for your comments. Rather than replying to you publicly on the blog, I'd prefer to send you a private message. Please give me your e-mail address by sending another comment to this blog post. I won't publish it (as I did with your comments and questions above), I will delete it once I have your e-mail address.