panama, day 3

January 9, 2008

in Travel

Helicopter

Another (not quite as long) day on Pipeline Road brought us fewer birds as we concentrated on insects. We decided to focus on the Juan Grande stream crossing at 2 km and a few feeder creeks above it. We were rewarded with several new dragonfly species and some interesting butterflies, too. We were able to catch one of the super-cool helicopter damselflies by hand to show some scale. I don’t have all my reference material with me, but I am pretty sure this species is Mecistogaster linearis, a female.

As bonus, I acquired dozens of small bug bites that thankfully don’t itch too much. That’s the price you pay for sitting on logs to take notes and especially crawling around to get good looks or photos of less-annoying invertebrates. Kingfisher had fewer bites, but I did get to pull a tick off him that had found a spot nobody has seen since his mother retired from diaper duty 40 years ago.

A number of mammal species have their mating seasons in the dry season, and we’ve seen frisky Agoutis, some spirited Red-tailed Squirrels (Sciurus granatensis), and wandering coatis. If there is any discernable increase in activity in love-ready sloths, we’ve yet to see it. Kingfisher also had a glimpse of a Tayra (Eira barbara), a large cat-like weasel that I had a peek at last time we were down here. I was also intrigued by watching the fish in some of the larger stream pools. There were several species of cichlids and a couple of tetras, fish that are found in the aquarium trade. Way back in the day, I did a lot of freelance work for tropical fish hobbyist magazines, so I thought this was very cool.

After our look at Little Tinamou yesterday, on this outing we got good looks at Great Tinamou. Also terrific views of a male Golden-collared Manakin, which was a life bird for me. I think I’ve had about 11 lifers so far, but am really enjoying seeing some of my favorite birds again and again. I could look at female Dot-winged Antwrens every hour and not get tired of seeing them.

Today is a travel day, as we leave the Panama City area and head to our rented house in the highlands near the Costa Rican border, on the western flank of Volcan Baru. There will be many new birds there, as this is a new location for us. And I’m sure on the way we’ll see more of these curious street signs. Not all the pedestrian crossing signs here have bubble-butts, which makes them even odder.  Stay tuned.


{ 2 comments }

Jenn January 17, 2008 at 9:14 am

The body on that damsel is so long!!!

Nuthatch January 17, 2008 at 10:16 am

Yeah, I like'em that way.

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