Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Panama: Back in the Neotropics

Gartered Trogon male
It's good to be back in the tropical rainforest of the Neotropics. Getting there is the hard bit. From leaving home on the Sunshine Coast to arriving at my Panama City hotel took all of 28 hours. But then, to open the hotel room balcony doors in the dead of night, it seemed worth the effort. A nocturnal din of frog and insect calls resounded through the forested hillside as low-lying cloud hung in the warm, damp air.

View from Radisson Summit Hotel room
Early morning and it was back on the balcony to see the sun rise through the mist over the forest as the haunting call of howler monkeys echoed in the distance. Bliss. Our 21-day Birding Panama tour includes 8 people from 6 countries - Australia, Canada, the U.S., Denmark, the U.K. and Norway. Our Panama City base is the Radisson Summit Hotel, nicely positioned in the rainforest and near the canal, some distance south of the city. I took a morning stroll through a path in the forest. Bird of the day was Gartered Trogon, with both sexes showing well.

Gartered Trogon female
Gartered Trogon male
The birds came thick and fast as I walked the rainforest trail, coming to grips again with these wonderful neotropical birds. The first antbirds of the trip were scored with close views of Fasciated Ant-shrike and Dusky Antbird.
Male Dusky Antbird
Numerous small birds flitted through the undergrowth and at mid-canopy level. I was able to make out Scrub Greenlet and Lesser Greenlet. The first migrants appeared in the form of Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow Warbler and Northern Waterthrush.

Scrub Greenlet
This is the time of year when passage migrants from North America are heading south. I saw a large flock of Mississippi Kites heading that way.

Mississippi Kites on migration
Flycatchers were in abundance. Plenty of Eastern Kingbirds were present along with Tropical Kingbirds, Social Flycatchers, Streaked Flycatchers and Great Kiskadees.

Eastern Kingbird
Tropical Peewee and Eastern Wood-Peewee were both about. I was happy to see a male Red-capped Mannikin with a couple of females, but they wouldn't be photographed. Other nice finds were Bright-rumped (Flammulated) Attila and Long-billed Gnatwren.

Tropical Peewee
Yellow-rumped Cacique added a flash of colour, as did Keel-billed Toucan and Chesnut-headed Oropendola.

Yellow-rumped Cacique
More mundane fare included loads of Clay-coloured Thrushes.

/Clay-coloured Thrush
A Cocoa Woodcreeper put in an appearance, as did Rufous-breasted Wren and Red-and-white Wren. House Wren was feeding young on the hotel lawn.

House Wren
Where Tropical Mockinbirds were also numerous, and a pair of Variable Seedeaters were sitting on a nest.

Tropical Mockingbird
A female Blue-black Grosbeak was feeding a well-grown youngster on the forest edge.

Blue-black Grosbeak
In the afternoon there was a heavy but fairly brief thunderstorm. Fingers crossed for the weather, although a bit of rain around can be good as it lowers the temperature. A few birds were out in the open in the gardens after the rain including Orange-chinned :Parakeets and Red-crowned Woodpeckers.

Orange-chinned Parakeet

Red-crowned Woodpecker

While a Wattled Jacana wondered about. Sunset was accompanied by the familiar calls of Common Pauraques. Looking forward to the days and weeks ahead.

Wattled Jacana

1 comment:

  1. Greg, your photos are spectacular. Do you ever get stumped seeing a bird and not knowing it ? The male and female Gartered Trogon magnificent. Jude