Hitting the Local Hotspots with Chris-Nov 30th

1 12 2010

Chris arrived safe and sound last night about 9pm and I picked him up at Tocumen airport. We drove back to Gamboa, and went up the the Gamboa Rainforest Resort for a mohito–which Chris was craving. The young woman at the bar prepared them, and I have to say…it was the BEST MOHITO I have ever had! Wow, she did the drink justice. Back to the crib and off to sleep about midnight, for a 5.30 wakeup call.

I woke about 5 to the sound of a phenomenal downpour…..buckets of torrents again. So I hit the snooze when the alarm went off, and then got up around six. I let Chris sleep in and then we got the gear together and started shooting from the deck at the casa about 6.30am. I put a few bananas out, and within 3 minutes we had six species of tanagers and three species of honeycreepers!  Chris was shaking like a stoner buying a ticket to Pot-Fest, and occasionally breaking into mild maniacal laughter—he was so exited about the birds.

We spent a couple of hours nabbing  the local avifauna, and then the rain abated so we put the gear in the car for a look around.  Went to the grounds of the Gamboa Rainforest Resort and enjoyed steady shooting opportunities all morning. Notable finds were a American Pygmy Kingfisher, Slatey Tailed Trogon (male), Rufous Motmot, White Necked Puffbird (both the puffbird and the kingfisher really surprised me-great finds!) and, for me, a lifer… an adult male California Surfer Kid in a Candy Store (worn plumage-pictured) I must note that all of these excellent finds were spotted by Chris, who appeared to have transformed into a bird-finding Ninja during this period of time. He would disappear, then reappear from behind a tree to point out a new bird dressed entirely in black….to be honest, he was kinda freakin me out.

California Surfer Kid in The Candy Store, Gamboa, Panama

About 12 I suggested we run up to the Resort and grab a sandwich and Chris agreed-he was starving. On the walk back to the car, I counted and we took 127 detours and had 243 delays due to Chris being distracted by new birds, plants, lizards, insects and etc. That alone took an hour and a half…..to walk about 300 meters.

After lunch, we got out the ‘long glass’ and headed up to the ammo dump ponds and the entrance to the pipeline road. The ponds were quiet, but we found a nice mixed flock right at the entrance to Pipeline, and a number of small birds–though very difficult to capture as they were flitting about cover.

Right at the entrance to the Smithsonian docks, we came across one of the best specimens of iguana I’ve ever seen. Huge, and with great color. For all that, that animal appeared depressed and seemed to be attempting suicide!! He was headed for the railroad tracks!!!!

Suicidal Iguana!! Mr. Iguana, She's NOT WORTH IT...(but if you're going to commit suicide, can you turn your head slightly to the right?)

Chris and I both leapt into action…grabbing our gear and getting set up as quickly as possible to get pictures. Fortunately, the iquana beat the train, so Chris and I headed back to the casa for a little more home-bird action. I put out the bananas and we were delighted to have an immediate visit by a group of Collared Aracari!

With that, it was time for quick showers, downloads of images into laptops, and a run to the resort to see if that bartendress could duplicate her mohito feats of the previous evening. She was there, and we presented her with a challenge. Could she possibly make them as good, but in double the size? My God, but that woman proved herself up to the task. Chris and I strained out the mint with our teeth (the only way to drink a mohito and yet retain ones manliness) and it was back to the casa for to hit the sack.

Tomorrow, it’s off to Barro Colorado Island for Chris and I.

Collared Aracari, Gamboa Panama

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2 responses

1 12 2010
Vic Murayama

That’s not an iguana, it’s Chris after he finished his sandwich and is eager to start shooting, LMAO!

1 12 2010
johnafdem

Hey Vic, thanks for the correction on the ID. You’re right—I should have looked at the grizzlied primaries before I made the ID.

We were talking about you today, as a matter of fact, saying how much fun it would be to get you down here!!

It’s a short flight from San Diego, Amigo!

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