Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lazy birding ?

Last saturday, Osvaldo Quintero, Itzel Fong and your blogger host visited the foothills of Cerro Azul, one hour to the east of Panama City. The bird activity was SO intense that we saw, heard and/or photographed at least 40 species in a single garden (at Birders' View, thanks Rosabel) and then added some more in the garden at the Ahrens' place (thanks Bill & Claudia). That is why I ask if this is lazy birding... all these birds were seen with VERY little walking and without wakening too early! At Birders' View, after finding my year-bird # 600, we noticed that the berries of two plants (Ortiga - above with white/pinkish berries in a purple florescence and a bonus female Green Honeycreeper on top- and Ortiguillo -with yellow berries- according to Nando, the house's handy man and keeper, but also an excellent birder) were attracting tons of birds, including no less than 12 tanagers species! My favorites were the six Tangara tanagers, with all their contrasting patterns and brightly-coloured plumage, including the Plain-colored Tanager that I'm not picturing here, but have a look at the other five (all of them in the Ortiguillo), starting with the Golden-hooded Tanager... common but gorgeous!
This Emerald Tanager is showing that the guys that named it were absolutely right!
The Speckled Tanager was a little shy. Notice its yellow face and blue margins to the wings.
Despite its commoness, I got my first close-up shot of a Bay-headed Tanager that day.
The Rufous-winged Tanager is regular in that garden. Compared to the Bay-headed Tanager, it has more yellow on the back, less blue in the underparts and, of course, rufous in the wings.
OK, I know that the Hepatic, Summer and Scarlet Tanagers are not tanagers, but cardinals... but we still need to assimilate that. This female Scarlet Tanager was very cooperative while feeding at the Ortiga berries.
The euphonias (former tanagers) and the honeycreepers were well-represented as well. Here, in quick succession, I'm showing the Fulvous-vented and Tawny-capped Euphonias (all males) and a male Green Honeycreeper... all at the Ortiga.
We DID walk a little... but only 15 minutes in one of the well-kept trails, finding several White-tipped Sicklebills in an Heliconia patch inside the forest. Returning to the natural feeders at the house, Itzel noticed that a new bird joined the party at the Ortiga below us... a female Yellow-eared Toucanet just feet from us!
She eventually got VERY close, less than a meter from me and Osvaldo was able to photograph her with his cell phone!
Some books mention that the Selenidera toucanets are shy... certainly she did not read those books!
We barely left the place due to such amazing activity, but it was getting late. In the way out, we visited our friends Bill and Claudia at their beautiful place, where they showed us the furious activity at the hummingbird feeders (that is a male Violet-capped Hummingbird -year-bird # 601) and the technique to dissappear a bunch of bananas in few seconds (just left it at their feeders, the Palm Tanagers and the Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, among maaaany others, will take charge).
What a great day... full of colourful birds in close proximity and good friends sharing them with you... this is birding all about!


  1. No lazy birder, you. Congratulations on the 600!

  2. Congratz on #600! Thanks for sharing that colorful, beautiful series - just amazing.

  3. Congrats on breaking 600 for the year! Man, what an amazing garden- thanks for posting about it and showing us some of your increduble shots.