Kiskadee Family Update--Nestlings

The Kiskadees on the sailing vessel, Ishmael, are doing well.  Both parents are busy feeding the nestling(s). I took a photo from the finger a boat away and after cropping and blowing up, got an image. You can see the bill and bright yellow gape.
Tom, the owner of the boat, has a house here in Panama and doesn't live on the boat.  He comes down every week or so to stay on the boat and hang out.  He came by this morning to ask how long the birds would be there because they are making a mess on the boat.  I told him it should be three weeks from hatching to fledging.  We're not really sure when the egg(s) hatched.  He said this was the first time he's had poop everywhere.  I told him I thought that was because now, male and female are staying close and feeding.  He said he didn't want to be mean, but he had to hose down the boat.  He did a good job without getting the nest wet and even though he was on the foredeck, the adults fed the chicks.  I told him I would do a daily clean-up to spare him a heavy mess next visit.  I will also remove the nest when the chicks leave so Tom can have his boat back.

Leucistic Thick-billed Euphonia Photos

March 11, 2012 Fort Sherman, Panama

Chagres River Walk

March 14, 2012
Fellow nature lover and sailor, Glyn, from the South African sailboat, Dignity, and I got a lift to the Chagres today and had a great walk back. Glyn's husband, Dave, is the hard stand manager and arranged the drive for us. It's about 20K round trip and that's a bit much, but it's perfect to be dropped off and walk it one way.
It really isn't only 10k back because Glyn and I take side roads that add a few K. On February 28th we got dropped off at Fort San Lorenzo, but his time, we decided to start just short of the fort at the entrance to the short road that goes down to the fishing dock (pale orange line).
At different times of the year, I'm sure that different paths off the main road could be the best, but today this was our favorite. The first treasure of the day was the baby anteater. 
 click photo to enlarge
I have only seen one other Southern Tamandua since I've been here. The other one was an adult and about the size of a Beagle, this one was very young and was about the size of a cat. What a treat to see this little guy! To learn a bit more about the anteater, go herehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_tamandua
Glyn is into butterflies and this little road offered both of us some good finds. Glyn chased and clicked butterflies and I listened for, sighted and clicked birds.  We were not always visible to each other, but occasionally, I would hear a , "Sit!" in the midst of the cheeps, brrts, treeets, tsps of birds and the howls and scoldings of the howler and capuchin monkeys.

On this trail, I got Scarlet-rumped and Yellow-rumped Caciques, White-necked Jacobin and another hummer.  The hummers were having a disagreement over who got to feed and I didn't get a good look at both of them before they took off. The second one had a long rufousy brown moustache or eye-line and that was about all I got. They didn't come back while I was there so I didn't get another chance.  (I know they were back by the time I got back on San Lorenzo Road.)
Others on this road:
Turkey and Black Vultures, Snowy Egret, Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Southern Rough-winged Swallows, Short-tailed Swifts, Brown Pelican, Green Kingfisher, Tropical Kingbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Crested Oropendola (heard), Slaty Antshrike, Black-chested Jay, Southern Bentbill (heard), Chestnut-sided Warbler, Slaty-tailed Trogan, Common Black Hawk, Olivaceous Flatbill, Dot-winged Antwren, White-flanked Antwren, Plain Xenops, Plain Brown Woodcreeper, Magnificent Frigatebird.  ( On February 28, I also saw, Yellow-rumped Warbler (at the Fort), Broad-billed Motmot, Song Wren, Great Blue Heron, Laughing Gull, Spotted Sandpiper and an iguana).
The road to Hidden (Tortuga) Beach is about 1 1/2Ks and gave us some butterflies, but not much else. (Red line on map) A Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher about halfway and a pair of White-shouldered Tanagers were in the trees just before the beach. On February 28, this dirt road and beach also had Ospreys, Northern Waterthrush, Tropical Kingbirds, Great Kiskadees, Broad-billed Motmot, Spotted Sandpiper.
The walk home was quiet and we saw Mealy Parrots, an agouti, White-tailed Trogons, Yellow-headed Caracara, Blue-gray Tanagers, Palm Tanagers, Social Flycatcher, Gray-breasted Martins, Great-tailed Grackles, Tropical Mockingbirds, Mangrove Swallows.

Seed Tick Update

I found two more ticks on me today and they were definitely feeding. I've got marks where they were. As I removed one, I wondered if the geckos might have ticks on their food list.
I couldn't find any specific mention of geckos eating ticks, but I did find something about a tick feeding on a horned lizard. I hope these things don't hurt my geckos!

They seemed to hate my White Rain, Ocean Mist Body Wash with Sea Kelp and Vitamin E--despite the fancy name, it feels like Joy dish soap and you really get clean. While I was in the shower, I found a tick and it came off easily after I was foamed up. It wasn't moving at all when I pulled it out. Gene is going into town tomorrow and getting some Rid-X or equivalent, if he can find it. I'm sure it's too late and whatever was on me will be off by tomorrow after having dined to fully satiated level on my dissolved flesh, but I will have it. Even if logic prevents me from using it tomorrow, it will be around in case I ever have the misfortune of running into these things again.

I tried to find more on ticks and did, but now I don't know how much of it will do me any good. I thought by the images I found that I had Lone Star Seed Ticks, but it seems that they, Amblyomma americanum, are not in Panama. I tried to find how many species are in Panama, but the best I could find was a study in the Panama City area in which 17 species were found. There are some diseases that can be transmitted, but I think that since these were seed ticks of whatever species, they are probably not too dangerous as they haven't fed off anything else first.

I'm Ticked Out! I will just wait and if I feel flu like symptoms or go comatose, Gene will take me to a doctor. I'm making myself sick with too much information and I'm done for now.

I think this link is pretty close to what my tick is and what I can expect:

http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/avoid-outdoor-pests/ticks

Bye for now, sweet dreams.

Spring Migration and Seed Ticks

March 3, 2012
For the last week or so I have been seeing some warblers I haven't seen for awhile and figured migration has begun.  I am really excited about what I might see and I'm hoping the Empids that were so difficult for me in the fall will come through and give me another crack at identifying them (Willow vs Alder).  There is also a lot of nesting and hatching going on.  On March 1, I decided to stick very close to home and bird the hard stand area and the old WWI battery site.
 I wanted a better photo of the Palm Warbler that has been hanging out in the hard stand area and I wanted to check on the nest building Fulvous-vented Euphonias near the batteries. I got a few shots of the Palm Warbler.
Yellow-rumped Warbler at Fort San Lorenzo on February 28.  I saw one here last year as well.

I saw no sign of the Euphonias, but I did run into something new (copied from my The Twitching Sailor blog):

SEED TICKS
It's been over twenty-four hours since I noticed the first speck crawling on my hand. Once it had my attention, I saw two more. WTH??? Then I saw another speck moving on my forearm. Then another, and another. I picked a few off and crushed them between two fingernails Lice? Too small, surely. God, they where so small. I googled 'barely visible mites or lice crawling on my skin', but got everything from delusional bites to spider mites--none were right. The problem was, I really couldn't see them very well. I picked off a couple, put them in a ziplock bag and got out a magnifying glass, but they were still hard to see. I continued to google. When I'm at the nav station on the computer, I always sit sideways in the seat and prop my feet up on the companionway steps. I happened to look over at my legs and saw several of the black spots moving on my legs. OK, forget googling. I was off to the chlorinated pool! I soaked in the pool for about 20 minutes then took a long hot shower and nearly went through a whole bar of soap.

I got back aboard and looked at the bugs in the ziplock again.  They looked like tiny ticks, and had six legs. I googled ticks and saw they had eight legs. Hmm. I went back to the mite sites--not mites. They looked like ticks to me, and they walked like ticks. If it looks like a tick and walks like a tick.... I googled 'tiny ticks' and got Seed Ticks. I clicked onto this blog:
http://mayalassiter.com/2009/08/seed-ticks-the-scourge-of-the-earth/

As I was reading this really great blog post and highly entertaining comments about these things, I saw some on my arm. OMG! The pool soaking and the shower had no effect on them! I was really upset at this point and wanted to wake Gene up and tell him to do something. Instead, I got out the hand held mirror and a flashlight (the lighting from our 12 inch, 8 watt fluorescent lightbulb isn't the best) and started to pick off the ticks. I crushed and picked as I googled. The blog I was reading suggested getting tape and pulling them off with that. I tried, but it didn't seem to do the job on most of them, I had to pick them off. There were so many that I found it was best if I picked them off and stuck them to the tape rather than crushing them. I was so enthralled with the comments on this woman's blog that it took me awhile to search for a more scientific posting. When I finally did, the first thing I read was don't pick them off with your fingers, or crush them because the juices could end up being squeezed into your blood or into small cuts and you could get all kinds of diseases! Sh*t!

Everything you ever wanted to know about seed ticks but never asked because you had no idea they existed:
http://mdc.mo.gov/conmag/2005/05/tiny-tenacious-terrible-ticks?page=0,2

It's been over twenty-four hours and I'm waiting for the intense itching. I think I may have gotten all the blood sucking bastards because so far, I'm ok. I already had intense itching last week from something that bit me...maybe them and I never noticed them? I had scabs and bruises where I had scratched (clawed) myself.
If you don't want to go to the links I've posted (but they're good), here is a quick summation:
seed ticks are the larval stage of ticks and have SIX legs
they can cover you in the hundreds if you run into a 'tick bomb'
at this stage, a total body shampoo in Rid (or equivalent) lice shampoo will kill them
use tape or scrape them or tweeze them off
STICK TO THE ROADS AND STAY OFF THE MOORS

Ok, so paradise has a few bugs.