Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lajas Blancas Road

Now we are down to our final two days.  It's hard to really grasp the end coming of such a great trip.  In addition to being the end of a my vacation, it was a reminder to me that I'd soon be returning to work.

You know the feeling of returning to work refreshed following a vacation?  From our Darién trip I knew that I had built a protective reservoir of memories that continue to insulate me even now nearly two months after our return.  Selecting photos and writing for this blog also keeps the trip real and alive.

We continued to see great birds.  Lajas Blancas Road took us through a variety of habitats.

We crossed the river and parked our van across from the police checkpoint.  Shortly after two dogs from the village came running up behind us.

More about this guy later.

We stopped here to look for a couple of target birds.

Above and below:  Red-billed Scythebill (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris).  The photo above shows the curve and length of this bird's bill; below shows the bill's color - perhaps more pink than red in this photo - both field marks from where the bird gets its name.

Above: the humbly named One-colored Becard (Pachyramphus homochrous).  This was the only one we saw on the trip.

Above:  We saw six woodpecker species on Lajas Blancas Road.  This is the only Golden-green Woodpecker (Piculus chrysochloros) we saw on the trip.  We saw both the male and female.

Above:  the oft-seen Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) - definitely not a difficult bird to see in Panama - but always spectacular.

We came upon an attractive village of well-constructed homes.

We stopped across the road from this cluster of buildings.  They appear to be some kind of barracks.  Our focus was the field across from the barracks where Domi was looking for Red-breasted Blackbird (Sturnella militaris).  If the buildings were barracks - an aptly named bird to find here.

But our Red-breasted Blackbird was usurped by another found here.  A story from day one - on our drive to Darién province we drove along fields of pasture land - Rhoda asked Domi if we would see Cattle Tyrant.  He was noncommittal suggesting that this was a hard bird to see in the places we would be visiting.

We were again in the bush truck and I was on the bench facing the fence, not the Red-breasted Blackbird, when I saw the bird below.  I was having a hard time getting Domi's attention (with his back to the fence) as we slowly bounced along the field.

Above and four below:  Cattle Tyrant (Machetornis rixosa).  In his blog entry Matt gave me credit for finding the Streaked Xenops on El Slato road.  I'm pretty sure the xenops would have been called out eventually. But I'll take credit for calling out the Cattle Tyrant.

Domi was completely shocked.  What was a Cattle Tyrant doing here? He never really expected to see one on this trip.

Please don't enlarge these pixelated photos - they are best viewed as shown.  I'm sorry they did not turn out better - we were quite close to this bird - but, by then I already knew I was having plenty of trouble with photo quality.

This was a completely great bird to see so well - cooperative and unobstructed - and the only one we saw on the trip.

I was happy to make a sighting contribution.

The constuction workers above saw us taking photos of the cattle tyrant - in the bush truck we were probably a curious sight to them - and began to whistle and call out to have their photos taken too.

Just beyond the cattle tyrant we entered a forested part of this road. We got out of the bush truck and began walking.

Again, Purple-throated Fruit Crow. 

Above:  Brown-capped Tyrannulet (Ornithion brunneicapillus).

Cuipo tree

This road connected two villages and it turned out to be quite busy.

Above an two below:  Great Jacamar (Jacamerops aureus).  We found this bird after turning on to another lane that did not lead to a village and had no traffic.  It perched on a branch over the road and remained for a prolonged time.

All of my great jacamar photos needed brightening and saturation touch-up.  I tried to do a little without going overboard.

We saw all three jacamars in Panama.  Belonging to the family Galbulidae, I was surprised to see that, despite their similarities, each jacamar belongs to a different genus.  

Above and below:  These two photos were digiscoped with my iPhone and turned out much better than those with my camera.

No comments: