panama: day 1

January 6, 2008

in Travel

After an entire uneventful but tedious travel day on Saturday, we spent today in Panama City today, putzing around a favorite place, the Metropolitan Nature Park. This is nearly 700 acres of lowland tropical forest, and the only tropical forest park in a major city in Latin America.  We had nearly 50 species of birds, most of which we’d seen before. I had three life birds: Southern Bentbill, Boat-billed Flycatcher, and Green Honeycreeper. We had great looks at the bentbill, which does have a crazy-looking bill in "person." 

We were just as preoccupied with the insects. Although not as plentiful as in the wet season, we still had fun creeping up on small butterflies, damselflies, and just flies. We did not have the abundance of hover flies down here when we were here in August 2005. This is the start of the dry season here, and just as we have more of some species of bee flies in the early spring, they were also very noticable here. You’ll recall I’m pretty fond of photographing flies. So I was happy to get a decent shot of this one when it perched:


There were many hovering in patches of sunlight in the forest. I use my left eye in the viewfinder of the camera, and that’s the eye that is still not 20/20. It took me awhile to remember to use my right eye, or trust the camera to autofocus.

We found a lot of butterflies, as usual, and the variety of very similar-looking satyrs here is almost discouraging. I think we’re pretty close in identifying this one as a Gold-stained Satyr (Cissia pseudoconfusa), although I am genuinely confused, not pseudo-confused, by most of them.


Tomorrow we have a full day at Pipeline Road, which starts near the Canal in Gamboa and snakes into Soberania National Park. We had a great time and quite an adventure (involving a thunderstorm, broken-down vehicle, rescue, re-stranding on the wrong side of a large fallen tree, machetes, and a side trip to a Smithsonian lab) last time we were there. We’re really looking forward to having a long walk doing whatever we please all day long there.

Hawkeye January 7, 2008 at 8:37 pm

Yeah! I am happy to see that you will be posting your trip as you go! Now I won't hate you. I was holding a grudge against you because you did not sneak me into the country in your luggage. But I'm over it now.

Have a safe and happy trip. I look forward to reading more!

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