The options for photography in Panama are excellent, especially around the Gamboa Rainforest Resort where some birds have developed, if not a tameness, then a tolerance to the humans that share their habitat. Some birds can be tough to snap, just because they move around so quickly or live high in the canopy all of the time. Tracking the birds down is not just a case of seeing them, many birds are very vocal and even the dense rainforest birds can be picked out as they give their territorial songs. Sometimes playback is useful, sometimes it just sends the birds scurrying off in the opposite direction. On this trip I used little playback and I can’t remember a single bird that came to it although Ocellated Antbird got close without actually being seen. I also did some recording of my own, I use a Remembird device, a small recorder that will download any songs recorded as mp3 files, so you can review them at leisurenad come up with an ID, long after the bird has gone.
Below are a few more photos, I’m about at the end of the birds now but I have a fair few dragonflies to go through, most not readily identified due to the lack of reference.
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Obviously this is not a bird, its a Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth. He, or perhaps she I’m not sure, was sat up in a flowering tree and even took the time to wave. Normally they are just immobile furry lumps wedged in a fork. Sloths only decend to change trees, poo and chase lady sloths. In the very next tree was a Three-toed Sloth, this two were the only ones we saw this time. I don’t know whether there is any sloth rivalry between species, if so perhaps the wave we saw was not for us but a two toed gesture to spacky three toes next door?
A male and what looks like an immature Flame-rumped Tanager. I’m not sure what they are burning to get a flame that colour. The male is ultra smart with his black suit contrasting so well with the bright rump. These are common around the Gamboa and were attending the fruit tables where they had been stocked.
Tropical Mocking birds are common in the open areas and a pair were always hanging out by the pool. For those not in the know, mockingbirds get their name from their mimicary of other birds songs. I should expect Tropical Mockingbirds have a pretty large repertoire, given that the tropics are a mass of songs, especially in the mornings.
This female Barred Antshrike was a regular around the shrubs by the hotel. The male is a truly stunning looking bird but he never posed for us. This species was probably the worst Big Day miss (see earlier posts) and the salt was firmly rubbed into the wound the day after the Big Day when a male spent ten minutes in the fruiting tree outside our room!
Wattled Jacana – these seem to have a default setting of panic. The name comes from the fleshy ‘wattles’ on the face, presumably their mothers love them. Although these are neat birds when they are picking their way through the marshes they turn into something else when they fly, revealing abundant yellow in the wings and looking quite spectacular.
Grey-headed Chachalacas are big birds, they are probably quite tasty and are no doubt hunted but not at the Gamboa. On our last visit they were a bit too shy to come out into the open but this time an array of pink flowers in the trees by the hotel rooms tempted them out and they decided that their snacks were not going to be interrupted by anyone.
Another tanager, this time the common Blue-grey. Normally these lads are up in the trees as per the tanager handbook, but we chanced upon a couple gleaning some recently cut grass. This is often one of the first five species you see when you first go to the tropics, I could go for this as a garden bird anytime.
Another common tropics species, the Great Kiskadee is Mr (and Mrs) noisy and you can normally hear at least one from any point around the Gamboa. They get their name from their “kiskadee” call, they are big flycatchers but then there are some pretty big bugs in the tropics.
Rufous Motmot, a spectacular looking bird. We were along the Pipeline Road when this one just popped up. I was able to approach with the light behind me to get this shot, and about a hundred more! The Gamboa area is a great place to see motmots with Whooping common and very obliging, Broad-billed is there too but a bit less confiding.