Need some Bird ID help here! Dec 13th

13 12 2010

Still raining, but we had some breaks in it today so I grabbed my gear and headed out.

Ran across this guy again, you’ll recall he’s a Rufescent Tiger Heron. Handsome fella, neh?

Rufescent Tiger Heron, Gamboa, Panama

Well, shortly after I spot him, I spot this other bird. It’s a little thing, and I am having a heck of a time with the ID on it. Some of you experienced birders might be able to help.

My first impression was ‘Tody Flycatcher’, but then I noted the primaries. Looking at the yellow on the primaries, my next impression was ‘Yellow Margined Flycatcher’, but he looks a little small, and I need to see his face to confirm that ID. No banding on the tail, that could be key to this ID conundrum.

Yellow Margined Flycatcher?

Oh, wait a minute, now I can see his head–a bit of a bluish coloration to the crown, and that seems like a distinct light patch around the eyes….but I can’t tell if he’s got an eye ring or not…..hmmmm….warbler?…..vireo???

Is that an eye ring? Hard to tell from this angle.

Well, wouldn’t you know it…he was gone before I could confirm that ID.

Oh no, now he's gone and I didn't see all the field marks!

So back to my Rufescent friend. He was, apparently, not yet done dining. That lil bird was little more than an amuse bouche for him. I watch him do some stalking, then he freezes, looking at a patch of grass for about 5 minutes and then, BANG! He Strikes.

You can slither, but you can't hide....

He’s in a tug of war Royale!

I’m cheering him on, ‘lift with your legs, not your BACK’, I holler…and he listens…..

Lift with your LEGS, Man!!!

Finally he emerges victorious!! He’s got the main entre’ right there and it looks like he’s going to be dining fine tonight. I can’t really tell if that’s a worm or a snake–the concentric rings seem to indicate ‘worm’ to me (yep, yet another ID problem!). Now, if that’s a worm, that is surely one of those worms we talked about when I was a kid, cause that worm could definitely play pinochle on your snout!  Well, not THAT worm….not tonight!

"The worms go in and the worms go out, but this one won't be playing pinochle on anyone's snout!



5 responses

20 12 2010
Ian Newton

John, we tried for this bird every day in the rain, but left Panama on the morning of 13 th after 10 rain soaked days. Despite the weather I managed some good images and have posted a selection on my website. We met briefly at Canopy Lodge and I have been following your blog with interest.
I feel we have not done the Tower area fully and must try to return someday
in the ‘dry’ season!

Ian Newton

20 12 2010

Hola Ian,

I remember meeting your at the Lodge. Sorry about all the rain, my friend Chris hit the exact center of it too……got some good birds, but we sure missed a bunch during that period.

It’s settled down now—got another PHeasant Cuckoo on Sat, and went to Canopy Tower to do the CBC with Carlos and the crew—Man, those guys are Goooooood!!!

Looked at your site—nice work!! You’ve got a nice clean style that I really like. I’ll look forward to some further updates once you’ve had a chance to process your images.

Best to ya,


20 12 2010
Frank L from FM site

Hi John:
Too bad your buddy Chris hit all the rain while in Panama, but that’s the way it goes some time, you get what nature will give you. I am still watching your blog BECAUSE…. drum roll
My wife & I just booked a trip to Panama in Feb 2011, we took your advise & will stay at Canopy Tower & the Canopy Lodge, then we will go stay in Ivan’s B&B in Gamboa. Hope the rain God will be away for spring break.

22 12 2010

Hey Frank,

Congrats—you are going to love it here. Carlos and the guides at Canopy Tower are simply the best…period, and Ivan runs a clean BandB and I understand his wife is a heck of a great cook. Nothing but nice people here, near as I can tell.

I’ve just past my halfway point, over six weeks on the ground so far and this isn’t getting old………so you be careful of catching this addiction!!

Best to ya,

3 01 2011
Mike Liskay

Great series here!! I have to catch up on your post. T’was in Maui (too civilized) for 10 days and then family holiday visit time in Bay area. Got some shooting in with Conrad Tan. fun.

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