With a view of the Panama Canal and the surrounding forest canopy, the Canopy Tower is an incredible place to stand in the early morning light. I climbed the narrow steps to pop my head above the hatch to see the vista open before me. As I walked in wonder around the roof, a flicker of movement caught my eye in a cecropia tree. There, facing east, as if waiting for the sun’s rays to dazzle the eye, were 2 Golden-hooded Tanagers. Nice.
I continued my walk around the huge yellow dome with a jig in my step.
Both Turkey and Black Vultures were swirling around at eye level. Three Red-lored Parrots landed in a clump of leaves and disappeared. A Keel-billed Toucan clacked in a tree across the way.
Each direction had new trees to scan. I made the turn on my route around the dome when a flash of blue zipped into a cecropia tree. I stared in disbelief. My first lifer in Panama was not a little nondescript something, something, but…Holy Crap… a Blue Continga.
I’ll tell you more about all of this tomorrow. Right now the rain is letting up and there are birds to see.
Ever since the bears destroyed my favorite squirrel-resistant feeders back in the Spring, I have been in the market for uber-sturdy bird feeders. And lo and behold, Santa brought me 3 all-metal birdfeeders-2 tube feeders and a tray. I knew he was following me on Twitter for a reason. :0) I know, I know, they are not bear-proof, but perhaps they will be the teensiest bit bear-resistant. At least they will not break completely when in contact with bear teeth. Santa also brought me a Water Wiggler. It deters mosquitoes but entices birds. Super thoughtful of him.
I also got an oak tree camo T-shirt and sweatshirt. I have been pondering the question of wearing camo while birding for a while. The interesting thing about procuring camo in the flatland is that every store has many habitat patterns and styles. Now, I can blend in when I bird. I wonder if it will make a difference….
And you know I bought myself a digital Rebel with 2 lenses before the holiday, right? I hope to have time to play with it over the next week.
Commonly called LBJs or Little Brown Jobs, sparrows are notoriously hard to identify. This one is a Savannah Sparrow. Can you see the little bit of yellow by the eye? Classic.
I am fond of sparrows. They are ubiquitous yet overlooked in favor of the brighter, more colorful, more easily identified birds. Many of them have beautiful easy-to-learn songs, like the ol’ sam peabody of the white-throated sparrow or the ping-pong balls of the field sparrow or the distinctive maids, maids, maids, of the song sparrow. I always try to spend time with sparrows.
Let me tell you a sparrow story. I was with my sister at Point Reyes National Seashore in California at the end of September for our birthdays. This was a few years ago. It was cold and windy out on the point. I was standing in a field birding every bird looking for a golden-crowned sparrow, a life bird for me. There were hundreds of sparrows, popping up and down, mostly white-crowned. My sister is a good birder but after way-too-many LBJs, she wandered off to look at a Say’s Phoebe and to ogle the California Quail. Finally a golden-crowned sat on the top branch of a bush, I shouted for her to come see it, but she was on a Black-throated Gray Warbler, also a life bird for me. I abandoned extolling the virtues of the sparrow and dashed over for the warbler. Totally fickle right? Thankfully I have seen many golden-crowned sparrows and savannah sparrows after that in California and Alaska but I have only ever seen the black-throated gray warbler just that once.
Thanks Gale for being bored of LBJs.
But if we hadn’t have been hours in that field sorting out sparrows, we would never have seen the black-throated gray. The morale of the story is–Spend time with sparrows, you never know who is hanging out with them.
Filed under Photos, Travel
With the warblers dripping from the trees, it was hard to leave the City (notice how it is always capitalized like it is the only one) yesterday but after walking for 5 hours and craning my neck all day, I was bushed. (Does that make me a birding lightweight?) On the ride home we chatted tiredly about what a great day it had been and how lucky we were to have hit it on a fallout. After some hemming and hawing (but being gluttons) we decided to try Garret Mountain today. I had missed some of the warblers that others had seen. More. I wanted more.
Like Central Park, Garret Mountain Reservation is a migrant trap. According to some of the emails, I had been getting there were great migrants there too. So I got up at 5 am for the second day in a row (on the weekend, may I add) and drove to Di’s house. When we got to Garret, whom did we spy, but Suzanne leading a field trip for Weis. We decided to tag along with her. Some of my buddies from the Thursday morning walks were there too.
The park was crawling with birders. Everyone was helpful in pointing out species they had seen up the path, or over on Wilson Road or down by the lake. The World Series of Birding is next week so many people were scouting.
Highlights for today were: Black-throated Blue Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole (I never get tired of them), Black-throated Green Warblers (You know I love them), Great-crested Flycatcher, Greater Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, Green Heron. All the rest we saw yesterday.
How is migration in your neck of the woods? Get out there, tell me what you are seeing.