Altos de Maria-Dec 5th

10 12 2010

Headed over to Altos de Maria this morning. As I mentioned, Altos de Maria is a private developement in the next valley over to the east from El Valle de Anton. Good roads connect, but you need permission to enter the grounds.

We arrived at about 7am to find an unattended back gate–ooops. Guess it would have been smart to find out what time that gate gets manned, huh?

No problem, we ran back down the hill a quarter of a mile or so to a good turnout (and out of the wind) and commenced to looking for subjects. We set the cameras up on a heliconia flower that looked like just the ticket to attract the elusive Sickle-Billed Hummingbird. The Sickle-Billed is a tough bird. It’s hyper-curved bill is specially adapted to certain types of heliconia flowers and it generally won’t visit a feeder. It runs a ‘trap line’ of heliconias in it’s territory, so you just have to set up on a likely flower and wait.

We waited, and he came. Getting any shot of one of these is a treat. Getting a decent shot is a rare thing, and I’m pretty happy with this one.

Sicklebilled Hummingbird-Altos de Maria, Panama

Next we headed up the hill to find the gate attended. We presented out permission letter and entered the hallowed grounds of Altos de Maria.

After cruising around a bit we found some Long Tailed Tyrant flycatchers and a Squirrel Cuckoo that were kind enough to let us image them.

Long Tailed Tyrant Flycatcher-Altos de Maria, Panama

We ran into Alfred Raab and a group of local birders that Alfred was leading. (Alfred is the one who provided us with the permission letter to enter Altos de Maria). They mentioned that they’d found the Green Kingfisher and the Ringed Kingfisher at ‘the pond’, so we headed down there, where we found both birds and got a few shots of each.

We headed over to the Raab residence, where we met Alfred and his wife Bridgette again. Their home is beautiful, and a dream for someone who loves nature. Alfred selected the lot, and the vegetation on the lot was landscaped specifically to attract and allow the viewing of wildlife…and wow, it really works. While there, we were treated to a Yellow-Backed Oriole and a variety of tanagers, hummingbirds and etc. Rosy Thrushes abound (by song), but as usual…..good luck seeing one!!

The thrill of the day was when Ken Allaire was able to help Alfred add a bird to his ‘yard list’.  Ken spotted a beautiful Emerald Toucanette and we were able to get some nice images. I’ll be sending Alfred Raab a larger ‘print’ version of the image by way of thanking him and Bridgette for the cold drink, sandwich, birds, and great conversation they provided us for no particular reason other than that they are VERY kind and generous people!

And let me remind you again, click the pics!! They’re SO much better when viewed that way!

Emerald Toucanette, Raab residence, Altos de Maria, Panama

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