Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Birds, vanilla and waterfalls

Due to an intense month in the work, I barely had time to update this blog with posts of my last trips, so I'll do so... starting with some photos of a visit to Cerro Azul (foothills to the east of Panama City), accompanied by the photography-contests-winners Osvaldo Quintero, Rafael Luck and Itzel Fong.
We wandered through the gated community, visiting some classic spots... however, the day was cloudy and windy, and the activity -in general- quite low.  Eventually we reached the end of the Chimborazo street... and our luck changed: a mixed flock was taking advantage of a fruiting tree.
Including this male Gartered Trogon (above), many birds were all over the place... specially tanagers: Blue-gray, Palm, Summer, Hepatic, Plain-colored, Golden-hooded, Bay-headed, Speckled and Crimson-backed Tanagers side-by-side!  But, by far, the most cooperative birds were a trio of Masked Tityras.
The female was more confident, but the male is simply shocking: that red mask and pure white body is unique!
Another pair was feeding in the lower branches of a tree apart of the flock, both male and female Tropical Gnatcatchers are smart and active, intensely foraging every leaf, looking for tiny insects.
Another one feeding nearby was this tiny Paltry Tyrannulet; however, not as actively as the gnatcatchers.  You often heard its characteristic pee-yeep! revealing its presence.
After a while, we left the spot (reluctantly), passing by the Ahren's place, where they told us about a wild vanilla blooming in a nearby street... so we headed to that direction.  It was the sweet essence of the flower that finally attracted us, a marvel of nature!
It was around noon, time to have lunch at the club... but first, we decided to visit a popular site frequented by resident and visitors specially during the summer days: El Vigía waterfalls.
Half of the group could not resist the temptation of submerging in the cold (but refreshing) waters.  Can you tell who are these swimmers?
That's the way you should end every birding trip!