Monday, February 27, 2017

The teak farm

This was a beautiful place.  Matt Hysell has some good photos and narrative on his Darién edition of Birding Berrien and Beyond titled teak farm birding - part 1 that I recommend.  Matt includes a photo of flyover Great Green Macaws that I was not fast enough to get on.  There are only about 4,500 remaining in the wild so this was a good bird to see and photograph.  He also got a very nice photo of Barred Puffbird - the only one we saw on the trip - in a spot where the lighting and other conditions were just too challenging for my camera and photographic skills.

As soon as we arrived here I knew it was going to be good.  The thing is, this is where I also confirmed that I would have trouble with my photographs for the remainder of the trip - i.e. my photos of birds, butterflies and dragonflies.

The landscape was beautiful.

Male Black-tailed Trogon (Trogon melanurus

We spent all morning on this long, sandy road.

Flyover Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)

Above and below:  More landscape.

Above:  Perched Fork-tailed Flycather (Tyrannus savana) - even though we saw more on this trip than we saw on all of our previous trips combined, I'm still looking for my first good photo-op.

Above:  I can't even be sure, but I think this is my Barred Puffbird (Nystalus radiatus) photo.  It was in the right spot amongst my photos for the morning.

The teak farm was also a great location for dragonflies and butterflies and I was easily distracted by these.  I'll include the decent photos I got of both in a later post.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Great Potoo

Day #3 - our open truck driver, Hector, found this bird prior to meeting up with us for a trip to the teak farm.  After morning birding at the "teak" farm, we stopped on the road not far from Canopy Camp for a "secret" bird.  No kidding.  


The crazy looking Nyctibius grandis was a life bird for everyone.

Indeed, a surprise; I don't think anyone was thinking about Great Potoo.

Later in the week while birding along La Jas Blancas Road, Hector found another and Domi called him the potoo whisperer.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Around Canopy Camp and Nando trail

When it's only the second day, the week seems never ending.  The morning began with birding down Canopy Camp's entrance road and ended the same way.   

Above:  Juvenile Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris) and below Cinnamon Woodpecker (Celeus loricatus) at nest cavity.  No photos were possible for me but we also saw nesting Double-banded Graytails (Xenerpspestes minlosi) in a tree over the Canopy Camp entry road.

2:05 minute video of the same Cinnamon Woodpecker vocalizing and moving around the tree trunk.  We saw Cinnamon Woodpeckers nearly everyday.  Last year near I recall seeing only one on Pipeline Road.

Above:  The only place we saw Golden-headed Manakin (Ceratopipra erythrocephala) was on the Canopy Camp trails.  They stayed high up in the trees for the time I saw them and this is probably my best photo showing the white eye.  

Above and below:  These Golden-collared Manakins (Manacus vitellinus) were also seen on the Canopy Camp trails, an mostly heard but occasionally seen elsewhere throughout the week.  These may turn out to be my best little bird photos of the week.  I did need a second try for these.

Vocalizing Black-crowned Antshrike (Thamnophilus atrinucha - formerly Western Slaty) on the Canopy Camp trail.

We left the Canopy Camp area for afternoon birding.  I wasn't expecting to see Spot-breasted Woodpecker (Colaptes punctigula) but we saw two well in an area of scattered trees and woods around a cattle field.  My photo in the sun shows the feather markings on the back. Unfortunately, no good photos of this bird's beautiful head.

I was also surprised to see Striped Cuckoo (Tapera naevia), but we saw two well through the spotting scope.  The bird was distant as is obvious by this crazy photo (so pixelated it looks like a watercolor), but it confirms my first sighting of this charming little bird.  We also heard Little Cuckoo (Coccycua minuta) a couple of times but never did see one.

 This was a beautiful area.  A shot of distant Panama trees in the middle of the field.

Above and below:  we saw and heard Rusty-margined Flycatchers (Myiozetetes cayanensis) every day in a variety of habitats.  These are two of my best photos.

Above:  Four Orange-crowned Orioles (Icterus auricapillus) were spotted together high up in a tree along a road that, in places, we walked.  The main reason for being on this road was to find Black Oropendolas (Psarocolius guatimozinus) - which we eventually saw well, blue cheek patch and all.

The entrance road was also our location for our one evening of night time birding and mammal sightings.  The bird above is a sleeping Streaked Flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculates) that we woke up with our flashlights and chatter.  Not far beyond the Tropical Screech Owl (Megascops choliba) below responded by flying in to its vocalization and perching in the open.  I am pleased with my photos because I almost got no photos.  My first attempts were blurred nothings.  Then I remembered to increase the ISO and got this and a few others that I was thrilled with.

We also heard both spectacular owls, the Black and White (Ciccaba nigrolineata) and Crested (Lophostrix cristata) on this night, but were never able to lure them into the open to be seen.  The best owling after this was heard owls from our tents - (I had a couple of sleepless nights) - although there was always discussion the next morning at breakfast on which owl exactly was heard. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Darién Province, Panama

We went and are now returned.  Departure for me was a sad event.  It was too soon.  I could have stayed longer.  Of all of my international birding trips - I think eight before Darien - this was my favorite.  That's not an easy assessment for me to make because I can't think of one trip that I didn't enjoy.

Above:  Yellow-crowned Parrot (Amazona ochrocephala) perched on a billboard light in the hotel parking lot.  I haven't really figured out a strategy for presenting our trip on my blog.  It was so action packed, so full of activity, locations, sights, sounds, birds and more.  I may have to just take it day-by-day and I hope the narrative comes to me.

We saw and heard Keel-billed Toucans (Rampastos sulfuratus) daily, but this distant pair of Yellow-throated Toucans (Ramphastos ambiguus), formerly chestnut-mandibled toucan, very infrequently.

Unidentified orchid

Matt Hysell spotted the bird in this photo for our first big sighting.  Can you find the bird?

The rainforest of Nusagandi - where it did actually rain - quite hard.

After lunch at a nice little roadside restaurant in Torti we walked around the property.  There were good birds here but my best photo is of this [quite large] lizard.  Saw much smaller such lizards in Colombia but can't recall the name now.  I will work on identifying.

Upon arrival at Canopy Camp I saw many new hummingbirds; its only that this photo of the most common Rufous-tailed (Amazilia tzacatl) is my best from our first day.

To my delight, cracker butterflies (Hamadryas februa) were relatively abundant.  Here a gray cracker.

Above:  Thick-billed Euphonia (Euphonia laaniirostris).  Even though we also saw Yellow-crowned (E. luteicapilla) and Fulvous-vented (E. fulvicrissa), I think this is the only euphonia of which I have a photo.

White-headed Wrens (Campylorhynchus albobrunneus - now there's a name) sand bathing.

Not all, but most, of my photos will end up being cropped - sometimes significantly.  I struggled with my Lumix FZ300 for most of the trip. The focusing, lighting and distances were all a challenge for me and this will be evident in my photos.  I did not use the 4K burst option even once - although there were a couple of times when I should have tried. I will try to show only my best photos, but there are a couple of our best days when sharing pixelated photos cannot be avoided.  You'll see.    

The man who made it all happen.  Much more on Domi Alveo as I progress.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Off to Panama today

... with other sounds of Panama.

More soon. 

ABA book review: Limericks, Landscapes and Lorikeets ...

For those who do not receive the ABA blog, the most recent offers this birding book review.

Limericks, Landscapes and Lorikeets - Lear, Rick Wright reviews:  The Natural History of Edward Lear by Robert McCracken Peck.

For the less literary of us who may not know the work of Edward Lear, the following was lifted directly from Rick Wright's well-written review:

"... in this elegantly written and handsomely illustrated new book, Robert McCracken Peck introduces us to Lear and his manifold talents, from the famous nonsense verse to the much less famous landscape paintings, and shows how the Victorian polymath’s contributions continue to influence art, literature, and even politics down to our own day."

Check out some of Edward Lear's charming limericks.