Monday, August 22, 2016

PAS' Owls and Wines Night

Rather than an owling trip, the Panama Audubon Society's Owls and Wines Night is more like a social event, where old and new friends meet to enjoy a pleasant night.  This year event was held in the iconic Canopy Tower at the Soberania National Park in central Panama.  I went with Gloriela and met the other ten participants a little bit before sunset... the views from the upper deck of the tower are simple overwhelming!
Jan & Gloriela
I don't know if you noticed that a Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth was photo-bombing the frame! You can have eye-to-eye encounters not only with these gentile creatures, but also with some canopy-dwellers hard to see otherwise.  Here is a closer look at our friend:
Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth
The sloths (yes, as in plural) and birds were not the only highlights at the tower.  A set of the Motus Wildlife Tracking System (one of four installed in Panama) is on the tower, and Karl Kaufmann explained to us how it works.  The Panama Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada made Panama the first country in Central America to track migratory birds this way.
Motus system
After that, we spend some time tasting fine wines and a selection of cheeses and caught up on environmental, political and religious issues... actually caught up on ALL the issues.  Time flew by so fast that we almost forget the owls... almost.  The forests around the tower are home of many different species of owls and other night creatures. So, aboard one of the Canopy Tower's modified trucks and under the guidance of Michael, we started the search.
Well, to be honest, I never expect many species "seen" on these trips... owling is not an exact science and you should aim to identify the birds by their field marks... the vocalizations in the case of owls.  Nevertheless, we tried. The night was bright clear... actually not very good for owling.  After several stops, we only heard frogs and crickets... until Michael found this guy:
Great Potoo
Not an owl, but a Great Potoo in the middle of the night waiting for insects on a pole.  It was the only night bird for the trip... but a good one.  I want to thank all the participants for the good company and the Canopy Family staff for the awesome night!

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