Monday, November 8, 2010

Blue, red... or iridiscences?

I went to Pipeline road (beyond the town of Gamboa in central Panama) last saturday with Osvaldo Quintero willing to spent half-day there. The activity was very low due to the imminent rain, but before it started we saw two species of manakins in the same tree. Trying to eat some berries, an adult male Blue-crowned Manakin was frequently mobbed by an adult male Red-capped Manakin! What a sight! Two antagonist species side-by-side. The contrasting colours of these birds were simply amazing. Manakins are always funny to see, specially if they are "dancing" or lekking. We enjoyed both birds-in-black with contrasting caps for a while, until it started to rain seriously. We quickly walked to the car and then Osvaldo drove to the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center (PRDC) were we had a hot cup of coffee accompanied by hordes of hummingbirds... as usual! If the black, red and blue of the manakins were impressive, then the iridiscent colours of these tiny birds were spectacular. I always have been astonished by the form in which its feathers reflect the light. If you use the artificial light of your flash to photograph them, the result is a totally different bird! Compare these photos of a Blue-chested Hummingbird and a White-necked Jacobin (in that order) with artificial light
Now, the same species (in the same order) with sunlight:Big difference eh? Of course, I like more the sunlight... they just look superb with it!
P.D.: more photos of the PRDC's hummingbirds at the end of this post.

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