El Torre (The Tower) at Rainforest Discovery Center–Dec 29th

25 02 2011

Went up to the top of the 170ft tall tower at the Rainforest Discovery Center this morning at dawn for a most excellent morning.

Early on, there were a number of the ‘usual suspects’ feeding in the Canopy.

A beautiful White Shouldered Tanager came through, feeding greedily and presenting some nice opportunities for photographs.

White Shouldered Tanager-The Tower at Rainforest Discovery Center-Pipeline Road, Gamboa Panama

The next visitor was a gorgeous little Tropical Gnatcatcher—always a tough target as the never sit still, so I’m always happy to get a nice shot.

Tropical Gnatcatcher-The Tower at Rainforest Discovery Center, Gamboa Panama

As the day warmed, the raptors came out the play.

I had a stunning White Hawk that hunted right over the top of the tower. Watching this fabulous bird with the light coming through the edges of his wings as a sight that will make you gasp.

White Hawk, The Tower at Rainforest Discovery Center-Pipeline Road, Gamboa Panama

The next visitor was a Great Black Hawk, again cruising right over the top of the tower. Not nearly as pretty as a White Hawk, but an impressive sight nonetheless.

Great Black Hawk-The Tower at Rainforest Discovery Center, Gamboa Panama

The routine up in the top of the tower seems to work out like this:

First thing: Look for perched birds–pidgeons, Toucans, and any stray raptors-and scan for sloths and monkeys.

Next up: Watch for the mixed flocks of canopy insectivores feeding through the area, White Shouldered Tanager, Greenlets, Dacnis, Honeycreepers, etc. This is also a good time for transiting parrots.

Lastly: Wait through the ‘dead time’ for it to heat up–once it gets nice and toasty the Raptors fly.

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