Barro Colorado, Nov 17th

18 11 2010

Took the trip out to Barro Colorado Island today. Barro Colorado become an island with the completion of the Panama Canal in the early 1900’s. Since then, it’s been a protected reserve area that now inlcudes several of the surrouding peninsulas. As a result, the island lost a number of bird species (not enough habitat variation to support them) and gained a lot of really tame animals and a load of researhers.  The island is now run by the Smithsonian and has room for about 60 researchers on the island. They’ve even got telemetry towers set up on the island so any animal that they put a tracker on can be located in real time and mapped on a laptop connected to the system.

Nice boat ride out there, after a 7.15am departure. I was accompanied by a very nice couple from Spain, and another young couple from Holland.

As to birds, we only saw Western Slaty, Red-Headed Mannikin, Lineated Woodpecker, Social Flycatchers, and had nice views of a Great Tinamou. Both the Slaty and the Tinamou responded nicely when I played their voices on my ipod.

But we did find bats–White Lined bats, Bullet Ants, and plenty of primates. We had lots of Howlers (there are something like 70 individual troops of howlers on the island) and we got GREAT views of a troop of spider monkeys. We were able to watch them feed and it was really interesting to see how sure they are climbing around in the foliage. I watched one adult shimmy up a vine that could not have been more than a quarter of an inch in diameter. They really know what they are doing up there.

So here’s an image of a bat, and one of a spider monkey. I’m no scientist, but I think that spider monkey is a male.

White Lined Bat

White Lined Bat, Barro Colorado, Panama

Spider Monkey, Barro Colorado Island, Panama

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