White-breasted Wood-wren

I got lifer #946 today on the Trogon Trail off Achiote Road.  I couldn't get a still photo of a White-breasted Wood-wren because it was too far and deep in the understory for the amount of light and all I could get was blur. I took a short video and it isn't real clear, but it's OK. 30 seconds.

Early Walk to Diablo Creek

Had a very nice walk today.  I left at 7:00 and returned just before 11:00.  The sun was partially out at the start of the walk (60% cloud cover), but it started to drizzle while I was on the Diablo Beach trail.  Sure like my new poncho.  I can roll it up to fit in my bum bag and it keeps me and the camera and bins dry without a fuss.  It is a bit like walking in a portable sauna, but it beats carrying a lightening rod.  The first (and last) time I took an umbrella with me, I ended up ditching it for fear of getting electrocuted.  It had a metal handle and the strobe-like lightening was flashing everywhere!

For the most part, it was a beautiful morning, cool with a slight breeze.  It had rained earlier and the breeze moved the wet leaves enough for them to drop their moisture making it sound like rain.  It was weird having the sun overhead and hearing rain in the forest. For such a glorious morning, it was pretty quiet; I wondered where everybody was.  When I reached Diablo Creek, things started to pick up.

I saw a pair of Gray-necked Woodrails at the park entrance which was nice.  I've only seen this bird twice before.  The first time was in Costa Rica and the second was here on the Diablo Beach road--very close to these birds. I saw a Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher which is not an everyday thing.  Got a new butterfly.  I believe it's an Heliconius erato hydara  It's like the erato, but it doesn't show any white. One site I read said it was Eastern Panama.  If so, the range must be expanding.
Didn't get much in the way of photos today, it was either too early and not enough light or rainy. The rail shots were terrible and so were some of a beautiful Violet-crowned Woodnymph Hummingbird.  If I had had some sun the hummingbird shots would have been so good.  He perched close and I could see his beautiful colors. Unfortunately, the photos are blurry.
Once I got close to home, the rain stopped (of course) and I got a couple of nice photos of a Plain-colored Tanager.  I love these little guys. They remind me of the Tits in Europe or Chickadees at home.  They just aren't as Tanagerish as other Tanagers
Bird Species List for Today:
Black Vultures
Common Black-hawks
Gray-necked Wood-rails
White-tipped Dove (heard)
Short-billed Pigeon (heard)
Orange-chinned Parakeets
Mealy Parrots
Greater Anis
Smooth-billed Anis
Violet-crowned Woodnymph
Keel-billed toucan
Western Slaty Antshrikes
Tropical Kingbirds
Great Kiskadees
Social Flycatchers
Streaked Flycatcher
Panama Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Elaenia
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet (heard)
Southern Bent-bill
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher
Gray-breasted Martins
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
Bay Wren
House Wren
Clay-colored Thrush
Tropical Mockingbirds
Fulvous-vented Euphonia
Plain-colored Tanagers
Palm Tanagers
Blue-gray Tanagers
Crimson-backed Tanager
White-shouldered Tanager
Variable Seedeaters
Yellow-backed Oriole
Great-tailed Grackles
Tiny frog--baby Smokey Jungle Frog? When I first saw it hop, I thought it was a Leaf-litter Frog because it was so small, but after looking, I thought it was a baby Smokey Jungle.

Monitoring Wild Birds

Saw my first migrating SPOTTED SANDPIPER on the 12th
Saw a Yellow Warbler on the 13th

On August 8th, I found a Red-eyed Vireo in the trees over Diablo Creek.  I thought that seemed early for a migrant and went on line to find some information. Unfortunately, I found and read this:


I realize this 'study' was done in 1970, but how much of this type of stuff still goes on?  I tried to find some information along those lines, but could only get that some specimen collecting is still done.  There is a debate within the 'scientific' community in regards to 'taking' birds. Love that euphemism.

During my walks the last few days, I ranted internally about the deed and the approval by the Smithsonian to allow it. I found myself resentful and mistrustful of many aspects of the scientific community's treatment of birds in their studies. Supposedly, mist nets and banding birds replaces the shotgun and collection method, and that's an improvement, but how much of that is really necessary? How much of it causes undue harm to birds. All I got was rose-colored glasses reports about what a small percentage of birds get harmed in the process. The fact that they are mist netted during migration, and the possible harm that might cause is not really discussed.  In one book I have, the author says that swallows that reach the Netherland Antilles are sometimes so exhausted they don't have the energy to forage and they expire.  That is an extreme example, but dammit, anybody with an ounce of common sense can figure out that migration is hard work and tiring.  The last thing a bird needs is a stressful encounter with humans who think they are doing things the right way.  How many times in history have we thought a method was good, only to find we were very much mistaken. 

In my wandering of the web, I have come across text and images that really upset me and I don't buy the bit that banding is all for the good. I have to question the motives of much of this. Don't even get me going on the radio/gps contraptions glued onto the backs of birds. MONSTROUS!!!

Last night, in the wee insomniacal hours, I went to BirdForum to browse and noticed that someone had posted a post asking if all that ringing (banding in UK speak) is really necessary. Still incensed by the Vireo read, and inflamed even farther by recent unpleasant banding images and text,  I vented. I probably went a little over the top when I said ALL banding/tagging and gluing on of contraptions (won't budge an inch on that one!), should be outlawed.  Should have just suggested putting on the brakes and re-assessing.

I am not formally taught or trained in the study of birds or any of the wild stuff I love to spend my time observing. As a naturalist, I do a lot of independent study to learn about birds and things I see. I believe we should approach nature with a gentle and hands off mentality.  There are now over 7 billion homo-sapiens on the planet. Surely, a few billion could help monitor the natural world in their immediate environments. Haven't we banded enough to understand patterns? If not, then can't we at least limit the amount of physical contact we have with nature?

A case to show that we don't always know best:


.85 inches rain 24 hour period 9:00a.m. yesterday to today.