Some January 2013 Images in the Canal Area

 
I'm pretty sure this is a lindigii ssp. Many thanks to PaulK on Bird Forum for identifying the species for me.
Glorius Blue Skipper
Paches loxus
Seen on the Trogon Trail off Achiote Road
Dirce Beauty
Horrible shot, this one was high up on a tree and this was the best I could get.
Cute jumping spider of some kind. He was very shy and kept going around to the other side of the leaf when I tried to photograph him; I understand completely.
Beautiful big rainforest tree. I'm sorry I didn't have something to illustrate the size.
Beautiful small male Golden-collared Manakin. Taken on the bridge over Diablo Creek (just at the San Lorenzo Park entrance).
Glynn and I were walking on a truck trail and turned to see this Coati Mundi following in our wake.
It was a good thing I went with Gly for the last few birding days, she spotted all the butterflies on this page.
 
Long distance shot of a large reptile.  I was on the Pina side of the Charges, close to the dam and shot this guy looking at me from across the river.  Brought back a childhood storytime memory--(para-phrased big time) On the banks of the great, grey-green not very greasy, Charges, all set about with Gumbo-limbo trees.
Look at those snappers!  After being around the Salties in Oz, I am not too thrilled to run into members of this family even though they are not particular dangerous here.  It didn't help that when I turned to go, Glyn said, "OMG here it comes!" (also para-phrased :)) Glad I'm taking the ol' ticker medicine.
 

So Much Life!

January 5, 2013
I've only been back in Panama for nine days and I am already falling behind on what I'd like to post. On the same morning I went to check out the San Lorenzo road closure, I did a little walking along the road near Playa Diablo. It was a beautiful morning and I breathed in the jungle as I scanned and listened. I found a butterfly I hadn't seen before.  It's a skipper and I think it could be a Vettius chagres.  The only image of one I could find on the net was a murdered one and the colors were faded.  I'm not sure if this is a chagres or another Vettius, but pretty sure it is a Vettius.  I'll post it on Bird Forum ( http://www.birdforum.net/ )and see if someone can give me a positive ID.
Until I hear differently, I will post it here as a possible Vettius chagres.
I was able to get a couple of shots of a Gray-headed Tanager, which was a good thing.  I dropped my last laptop and my hard drive is dead--all the pictures I didn't transfer to Picassa or post on the blog are gone. I needed some of the tanagers and most likely of the Bicolored Antbird also. Four Gray-headed Tanagers and the Bicolored Antbird were hunting together and were a lot of fun to watch.

Horribly Beautiful
Juvenile Little Blue Heron
Heard much more often than seen:  Short-billed Pigeon.  I think its call sounds like, "Who dropped the ball?"

Glyn Finds a Northern Parula

While I was in California feeding on all kinds of goodies and being a slug, Glyn was in Panama birding and butterflying. She sent me photos of birds she wanted ID help with and one was of a Northern Parula.  I didn't realize until I got back and spent more time on her photos that a Northern Parula was a 'casual' visitor and not a regular migrant. Glyn got quite a catch!  Good eyes, amiga! Seen on December 18, 2012.

Tiger Trail

December 31, 2012
This afternoon, Glyn and I drove to the Tiger Trail.  According to George Angher and Dodge & Lorna Engleman's book, WHERE TO FIND BIRDS IN PANAMA, the Tiger Trail is a good place for Scaly-throated and Tawny-throated Leaftossers and Streak-chested Antpittas. I don't have any of those birds and would love to see any one of them.
I say, Tiger Trail, but I don't think I've really ever found the trail referred to in the book. I think I have simply been on a truck trail. The Tiger Trail may start farther down the truck trail than I've gone.  It has always been too muddy for me to go to the end.  Anyway, for my blog, I will refer to the area in general as the Tiger Trail.

To get to the Tiger Trail, you take the Escobal Road and after passing the Spillway at the Chagres, look for a pull off area just after the road straightens after a long, gentle curve. There is a sign saying San Lorenzo National Parque, but it is usually obscured by vegetation.  Above is a map showing the Tiger Trail in orange. The red semi-circles show where you can park.  The lime green line represents a new cut since my first walk on the trail (unless it was an old one and got overgrown and it was re-cut). The new cut is a great walk through some low, damp areas and ends up on a bluff overlooking the Chargres. There is no trail (so far) down to the river. I can understand a new trail being cut to the river, but I am at a loss to understand the other seemingly senseless cutting elsewhere along the Tiger Trail.  There must be some master plan, but as an outsider looking in, it looks like random hacking away at the forest.  Along the trail that is marked orange on the map, there are trail width, half done, machete and saw (?) swaths cut into the forest. There were three of them in a row every 25 feet going off both sides of the truck trail. I have come across workman several times, but I was not able to understand what they were saying. They did say these were for walking and not cars.  Some trees are numbered with orange paint. I don't know what's happening and it seems a shame, but, maybe there is a good reason.

I got a brief glimpse of a bird with a scaly throat and thought I had a Scaly-throated Leaftosser, but, I couldn't list it due to the poor view. It looked brown overall, but I didn't see the face and crown, just the throat and part of the chest. I'm pretty sure it was a Leaftosser, but maybe it was a Scaly-throated Antwren. It was feeding with White-flanked Antwrens.

It wasn't the liveliest birding day, but we managed to see a few good birds near the end of the day.

Some terrible shots of a Blue-crowned Motmot. The forest was dark and it was tough getting decent shots.
Scarlett-rumped Cacique
I would really love to see a Long-tailed Woodcreeper before we leave Panama, and that has been my target bird since we got back, but, I was still happy to see this Barred Woodcreeper. I am really going to miss these guys.  It wasn't long ago that I just looked at them and tried to get a shot, but didn't even try to ID them because they were too fast and similar; now I can differentiate if I get a good view.
Obviously, the snappy displays given by the male Golden-collared Manakin require big energy.
I went birding twice today; once in the morning and then again in the afternoon to the Tiger Trail.  On my early walk, I saw a Boat-billed Flycatcher eat a flower, which kind of surprised me. He just swallowed it whole.  One of these:

San Lorenzo Road Closure

December 30, 2012

We are back from a six week visit home to California and although while in California I kept wishing we were already home for good and didn't have the last leg of our circumnavigation ahead of us, I was very happy to be back in Panama. I love this jungle and our simple life here. Instead of the twitching sailor I'm morphing into the schizo sailor--torn between the real world and never-neverland.

My friend Glyn and I have been out several times since I got back. While Gene and I were in California, the rainy season here created some havoc.  One victim of the rains was my much loved San Lorenzo road; it lost a section of about seventy yards to what appears to be a mud slide.  Glyn had written to me about the road being washed out and no longer passable, but I had no idea how bad it was and was astounded at the severity of the damage. I would guess the road stops about a kilometer after the park headquarters. People can no longer go to see the ruins of Fort San Lorenzo and I can no longer get to 'Slasher Lane' in the wee hours.  I could still go by bike or walk, but I could not get there early enough for the best chance at some of the birds I would like to get.
Barricade on San Lorenzo Road.  My guess is it's less than a mile from the park entrance.
The road just before it disappears. The shadows of the very tall trees hide even the biggest potholes! The 'shadow' up ahead is really this:
I guess the section of road that slid down is about 70 yards. You can't really get the perspective of the damage on these photos; it's like when I try to send photos of some of the waves we encounter at sea--they all look like they're flat in photos when in reality they were monsters.
The opposite side. It's amazing to me that the road washed out because it seemed to be on a flat area and not on any slopes. It's hard to tell due to the foliage, obviously. Glad I wasn't driving on it when it went.  Glyn said there is a car at the Fort and the owner can't get it out. Maybe he has by now though because a semi-circle has been cut at the side of the road connecting the two sides. It's dirt and muddy, but a desperate person might try to drive it. I'm sure it will soon be cleared of roots and shoots, and side trees trimmed and have gravel added for a temporary solution.