The last two days or so of my trip to Panama in March of 2017 have been sitting on my laptop languishing, never processed… perhaps just waiting for the depths of a testy winter to remind me of warmer climes. I can’t think of a better time to revisit the tropics, at least vicariously. And I am looking forward to visiting western Panama next February.
So here are some pictures from the last day at the Canopy Lodge and then from the hotel grounds in Panama City where I had several hours before my flight home. For the most part the tanagers and the Wood Rail above were at the lodge and all the rest of the pictures were my last day in Panama City.
It’s been an exhausting two weeks, but things are getting back to normal, except perhaps for the weather. Getting used to the new car, busy with work and choir rehearsals… thinking a lot about my book but not getting much writing done. Watching the days getting ever-so-slightly longer!
Well you knew it was coming, so here are the other bird photographs that wouldn’t all fit into the last post. Leading off with one of two Green Herons which was most cooperative…
I’m always happy when I manage to photograph a bird that isn’t necessarily on the “list” for the day. Even when the bird is partially blocked by whatever it was hiding behind. We’d had Yellow-Bellied Elaenia in the hand and in the field on another day but I think I found the one above myself. I may have been the only person who saw the Variegated Seedeater outside El Cas, the wonderful restaurant where we ate breakfast and many of our lunches.
Female Variegated Seedeater
The Broad-Winged Hawk below sat still for quite a while before assuming this less-expected posture.
I struggled to get pictures of the Sunbittern below, as it was heavily shaded and fairly distant. Some in our group were very fortunate to see the species again later in much better light and even glimpse its open wings as it flew, which is the to-die-for view. Maybe next time.
Summer Tanagers were fairly common if not very available for pictures.
Female Summer Tanager
The Orange-Billed Sparrow is a new species for me. But its range is fairly wide, all across Central America and Northeastern South America, so maybe I’ll get to see it again.
I think the Fasciated Tiger Heron is a new bird for me too. This is a juvenile Fasciated, which might be mistaken for a Rufescent Tiger Heron. I have seen Bare-Throated Tiger Heron before.
Juvenile Fasciated Tiger Heron
Some of the smallest birds were absurdly far away to try to photograph, but I made an attempt anyway…
Hummingbirds demand closer views. Here is a Brown Violet-Ear resting on the wires of the chayote fields.
And a young male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. Click on the picture below to see how the light catches and illuminates his new throat feathers.
I treasure the pictures below. We were at Tapanti National Park, which is where several of the photographs on this page were taken, and first saw the juvenile (the one with the orange throat) sitting alone on the twig for a while. Like magic, mom arrived…
One more look at that cooperative Green Heron.
I might get around to one more Costa Rica post which will jumble together other creatures encountered. Otherwise I may embrace hibernation. 🙂
As I start to go through the pictures from Costa Rica, some of the best bird images are invariably closeups of birds shown to us by Dr. Bill Hilton Jr. These were invaluable teaching moments on the part of Bill and the birds themselves.
Female Indigo Bunting
Although the focus of the Operation Rubythroat trip to chayote fields in Ujarras Valley, Costa Rica, was ultimately to trap, band and release as many Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds as possible over six days in the field (more about all this in a future post), invariably, other birds sometimes got trapped in the nets. Any bird trapped was a potential teaching opportunity. Neotropical migrants were retained for banding. But after we had seen a species native to Costa Rica once at the banding table, which is where we gathered for these demonstrations, all future caught birds of that species were immediately released.
With field guides in hand, we studied the birds until we were able to identify the species. Bill would only help by pointing out various field marks, but he also elaborated on other features you might never see unless you had the bird in your hand. Some species were familiar, but the opportunity to study them so closely was absolutely phenomenal. For those who are squeamish about the trapping and handling, I admit I once was too, but Bill treats the birds with the utmost respect and care. You can go to a museum and study skins, but for color and presence there is nothing like a live bird.
I have seen Blue-Grey Tanagers virtually every time I have visited the American tropics. They are ubiquitous and easy to identify. But I have never seen a Blue-Grey Tanager like this before.
The afternoons invariably turned cloudy and sometimes rainy, which made taking pictures of other birds anything from challenging to impossible. Nevertheless I managed to get some good photographs, and I will be back with many more.
These are just a sampling of some of the earliest birds we saw in the hand, and I will be back with others, as well as eventually adding pictures to my flickr page.
House Wren – the same species, but not the same population we have at home
As for the timing of this post, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the past week. Sleep has been erratic at best, and I’ve been emotionally exhausted. I went to bed early last night, so I guess it’s not altogether strange that I am awake at 3:00 a.m. Trying to go back to sleep I started reviewing the past week, and that wasn’t all good, so I shifted my thoughts to things I want to accomplish, which woke me up even more. When I started thinking about this post which I started to work on last night before I conked out on the futon, it seemed prudent to just wake up and finish the post. I apologize for any detectible grogginess. I think I’ll grab a drink of water and go back to sleep for a couple hours.
Yellow Warblers and Tennessee Warblers were the most-frequently-caught neotropical migrants. At some point, we had caught so many Tennessee Warblers, we released them from the nets without banding them.
Tyrant Flycatchers can be confusing.
A Yellow-Bellied Elaenia, looking every inch the Tyrant Flycatcher it is
One more of the Blue-Grey Tanager, up close and personal.