Christmas Bird Count at Canopy Tower, Dec 19th

20 02 2011

Headed over to Canopy Tower this morning for a quick breakfast and the Christmas Bird Count. What a great day it turned out to be!! Completely unexpected results.

Started at the top of the Canopy Tower with Carlos Bethancourt–one of the Uber-Guides that staff the Canopy Family (They’re amazing….all of them.)

Started the morning with my first views and photos of a Short Tailed Hawk. Interesting bird. They fly along and then go into a hover–looking for birds below them. When they spot a likely victim, the stoop on them, like a peregrine falcon. I watched a couple of stoops but the bird didn’t score while I watched it. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful bird of prey and a thrill to watch.

Short Tailed Hawk-Canopy Tower, Panama

We headed down the road to Canopy Tower (Semaphore Road), with Carlos calling out the birds as he saw them…which was very frequent…Carlos knows them like old friends after almost ten years of guiding the area. A bit down the road, Carlos asked if we’d like to get a ‘life mammal’. Well, sure Carlos…we’d like that. Carlos pointed out this Rufous Tree Rat sticking his face out of a hole in a tree. Wow. Pretty interesting and quite unexpected.

Rufous Tree Rat-Semaphore Hill (Canopy Tower), Panama

Another few hundred meters down the road we found another mammal, a Tamandura (arboreal ant-eater). I’d seen one down on Pipeline Road but didn’t get any shots so I was dying to get some good images. It proved tough!! The animal was hanging on the backside of a thicket of hanging vines about 20 foot up a tree, but since the tree was downslope from us, he was at eye level. But fully obscured. I stayed with him while the rest moved on to continue the count. It finally paid off for a few shots. Great animal and a treat to see it!

Tamandura (Arboreal Ant Eater) Semaphore Hill (Canopy Tower), Panama

When I caught up with the group, they had just found a snake climbing a tree!! I grabbed a few shots before he slithered off into the jungle. I don’t know the species but he’s sure a handsome one. From the swelling a few inches behind his head, he appeared to have fed very recently.

Snake-Semaphore Hill (Canopy Tower), Panama

Another few hundred meters and Carlos pointed out another ‘life bird’ for me. The White Tailed Trogon. Gorgeous bird!!!

White Tailed Trogon-Semphore Hill (Canopy Tower), Panama

All in all, I think Carlos must have called about about 400 species for us on the walk down Semaphore Hill. (I’m exaggerating, but not by all that much..it was VERY productive) It had to be 80 or 90 species..in about an hour and a half. Wow!

Thanks Carlos!!

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