Black-breasted Puffbird

Sept. 27, 2012

Glyn and I walked the dock road in San Lorenzo N.P. today at about 10:00 a..m. and I got lifer #948: Black-breasted Puffbird.
The bird is about eight inches and is another "fairly common" bird that I am just now seeing after, what, two years? ;) Like the hobby too much to give it up no matter how bad I am at it! Maybe it is just not as common in the Fort Sherman area as opposed to the N.P. itself. It's similar to the bigger, White-necked Puffbird, which I have seen on three occasions.
We saw a few new butterflies and I saw a Great Crested Flycatcher and a Wood-warbler I didn't see long enough to ID. Very dark, mottled thing.
I've marked the dirt (muddy) road in red.  It comes off San Lorenzo Rd.  We park the car in a flat area off San Lorenzo and walk to the river.
I've marked the map above with red for Tortuga Beach Road (dirt), Green=San Lorenzo Road (paved), Yellow, the Fishing Dock Road (dirt).
From Marina to Fort San Lorenzo.  Yellow line is apprx. 9K.
This was another unidentified butterfly on my blog until November when Nick Morgan sent a comment (below) which solved the mystery. The butterfly is a Thisbe irenea. Many thanks, again, Nick. You can check out Nick's butterfly blog which he writes from Scotland here: 
Wings closed in photo below.
Then, closer to the river, we saw the butterfly pictured below. It was similar but had blue-gray on it and less pronounced spots on the forewing. Male/female of the same butterfly as the one pictured above.

Fall Photos

Sept 24, 2012
Lots of thunder, lightening and rain last night. From yesterday morning to this morning 2.3 inches rain.  I'm too lazy to write much, so I'll post some shots taken from the past few days.
Above:  Cyllopoda sp.? Moth
Don't know the ID of the above moth, but I have a request for ID on the Bird Forum, maybe someone will be able to ID it.
Glyn, from the s/v Dignity, and I went for a walk down the steps from Fort Lorenzo to Turtle Beach.  She was ahead of me and came upon this gorgeous butterfly, an Andromeda Satyr.  She got a few good shots before I came bumbling in and scared it off.  It was too pretty not to post, so I asked Glyn if I could post her shot. Thanks, Glyn.
Adelpha sp? Worn Out Sister?
I found this Green Baby on the road, so I got it to the side. A car came buy right after that. Poor thing would have been a goner. Isn't he great!
Another Greeny.

Green Heron and Fungi

Sept 19, 2012
Migrating Green Herons have arrived.  I saw this immature one in the hardstand area near the mangroves on the 19th and 20th.
Mangroves are between the hardstand area and the sea. There is an electric fence around the hardstand area. Not a good place to slip in the mud and fall against the fence!
Saw some pretty fungi too.

Panama: Fall Empidonax Migration 2012(1)

Sept. 19---They're here...!
  I finally got good views of an Empidonax Flycatcher today. This is my third sighting of one this season.  I hope they come in the numbers I saw last fall.
  I was able to take a few mediocre photos and a crappy video.  It made no call and other than call it a Traill's, I am unable to ID. Alder is supposed to have a shorter bill than Willow and this one seems longish to me; but Alder is supposed to have a more distinct eye ring and this bird shows more than some I have seen. There seems to be a curved culmen. I've never noticed that before and I didn't notice it in the field today--only when I put up the photos. Trick of the photo?  The lores seem to meld together over the bill; never seen that before either. Most of the time I have only noticed a light 'comma' on the lores.  I have cropped and sharpened the photo that shows these points best:
  When I got back to Peregrine and downloaded my photos, I was struck by how worn the wing feathers were; ragged at the edges.  I felt empathy for the poor little thing.  By the look on the range maps, if it is an Alder, it might have come all the way from Alaska! It's so small and that is such a feat. There have been times out on the ocean when weather and big seas and lack of sleep and sea sickness has weakened me, and there was nothing to do but continue on with all I had. Yet my longest crossing is nothing compared to what this little flycatcher has accomplished.  It truly is amazing. 
  As long as I am drawing comparisons, I should mention that many times I have questioned my intelligence and sanity for going around the world in a small boat and I have to wonder why in the world birds migrate.  There is plenty of food here year round for most of the migrating species.  Why wouldn't they just stay in Central and South America?  I realize the boreal forests in Canada are spectacular, but are they that good?  It just seems so crazy.
I'm really happy to see these birds arrive and I look forward to finding and watching them over the next few months. I'm not sure why I've developed this almost obsessive attraction to the empids, but I'm captivated.
Bad video, but mercifully short.  I post it mainly to show the actions of the bird. You probably have to put it on full screen.  I was standing on one of the cement blocks that are used around the hard-stand area to avoid mud after rains.  At one point in the video, the block rocked--a bit shaky.

Dickcissel and Chestnut-sided Warblers

September 17, 2012

Today I saw my first Dickcissel and Chestnut-sided Warbler for the season.  Still plenty of Yellow Warblers and Prothonotary Warblers around.
Prothonotary Warbler
The birds were lively close to the marina and I got rained out before I wanted to quit. I did not see the empidonax today.
Blue-gray Tanager
Finally, some Eastern Kingbirds came down from the tree tops and gave good views.
Yesterday, Glyn and I went into the San Lorenzo N.P.  Wasn't a great birding day, but there was an Embera couple there selling basket work and wood carvings.  The had a baby howler monkey tied around it's waist with a light weight rope. Glyn was brave enough to say the monkey should be free. The couple looked apologetic and made a guesture indicating an arm injury. When we looked closely, we could see he was missing an arm; so they were saviors and not simply taking a baby monkey from it's mother. Glyn couldn't help herself and had to hold it. It is six months old. The indians seemed to lavish it with attention and it was very sweet and loving.

Kingbirds and Migrating Warblers

Sept.10, 2011

On Aug. 30, I saw my first Eastern Kingbirds of the season.  I'd say there were six or seven and they had taken their usual spot at the tops of the palms.  Today there were over a hundred and less were on the tops of the palms; most were perched in the trees. They are restless birds and spend a lot of time re-positioning.  This evening, flocks of up to twenty-five migrated from tree to tree; landing, letting go, landing again, flying to another tree and having four or five go along, then five or six more then the rest straggled in. Then off to another tree. It was the end of the day and I suppose they were trying to find the safest, more comfortable place in an unfamiliar town, but boy were they ever restless. The Easterns don't stay here long, they go farther south fairly quickly.  I suppose I'll see several waves come in and go out before they are gone for the season.   A few Gray Kingsbirds were here this week also, a pair of them were in the mangroves at the edge of the last dock in the marina.
Gray Kingbird
Four Easterns in the palm fruit. As I watched, a dozen birds flew in and out of this cluster.
Partial Yellow Warbler ;)
 Still trying to get a decent shot of a Prothonotary.
I stayed in the immediate area around the marina today because rain was imminent. I walked around the old parking lots (?) near the hard-stand and went around Kennedy Loop. Another migrant that seemed to be everywhere today were Yellow Warblers.  I must have seen 70 of them. Every once in awhile, two or three Prothonotary Warblers would be with them, probably 25 or so this week. I have also seen Black and White Warblers a few times.  On the ninth, I saw the first Northern Water Thrush, no doubt they will be here in good numbers in the next few days. I love them--they are like tiny, intricately patterned sandpipers, bobbing their tails on their 'beaches' of wet fringes on the verge of the jungle. 
In my excitement of the migrants' arrival, I didn't notice what's missing.  It dawned on me the other day that I had not seen the Short-tailed Swifts for awhile. Where are they?  More reading.............
My problem is I'd rather be out in the jungle 'hunting' than on the boat reading and writing. I am spending a lot of time below with the rains recently, but I have had no desire to blog lately.  I get on the computer and play bridge or hearts instead. 

A Rarity for Panama--Black-whiskered Vireo

 September 4, 2012
Diablo Creek
The migrants are arriving and the birding is fun.  I never know what I will see when I go out.  I believe I have seen an Empid, but can't swear to it, it disappeared into the trees over a stream and I couldn't find him again. 
I did find a Black-whiskered Vireo in with about half a dozen Red-eyed Vireos and a mixed flock of other birds.  They were in the trees over-hanging what I call Diablo Creek (small river that flows out to Diablo Beach). 
From what I could gather, there has only been a few Black-whiskered seen in Panama, the last being in 2002. I reported it to the Smithsonian and Audubon Panama. The report was put on the Xenornis web sight for rare bird sightings in Panama:
Male Blue Dacnis
Skipper:  Astraptes sp.  (elorus?)
Tres amigos.  Sliders basking on a fallen log in Diablo Creek.
 Emerald Cattleheart, closed and open
Parides sesotris