Underwater Chorus

Snorkeling Bocas del ToroPhoto. Juvenile Caribbean Blue Tang (Acanthurus coeruleus)

Historically birds have surprised and filled the life of humans with their calls.  In the past, mostly as pets in cages, where some species were more desired than others because of their songs or the ability to speak.  Parrots are very well know for the last skill.

Caged Bird Graphic

Source: http://krutishah0703.blogspot.com/p/caged-bird.html

More recently people are interested in enjoying these melodious creatures in their natural habitat.  Bird watching is growing around the world, year by year.

Golden-collared Manakin

Photo. Male Golden-collar Manakin (Manacus vitellinus) displaying on its lek

We (humans) always have related the songs in nature to the birds. What if I tell you fish sing? A few days ago I was reading an article about singing fish.  They have proven that fish do sing.  It make sense, living creatures need to communicate, animals as different as insects, frogs, birds, whales … do it, so, why not fish?

This study occurred in Western Australia, and during a period of 18 months they recorded and identified seven different choruses, from different species of fish, happening at dawn and at dusk. Those choruses are used by the fishes to regroup, settle territorial disputes or find food.

If you want to read the full article, visit: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2106331-fish-recorded-singing-dawn-chorus-on-reefs-just-like-birds/

Save

A bird-watching day: target Red-billed Tropicbird

Birding Panama

Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus) floating in the waters near Bird Island.

Early this year, we made a bird-watching trip to the mainland, to see some species of birds that we do not have on Bastimentos Island, but the main target of this trip was the elegant Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus).

We all had a blast, with big groups of herons, ducks, pelicans and terns, in addition to some local and migratory beauties along the Snyder Canal.
Birding Panama
After a gorgeous day and several new species for our guests, we headed to Bird Island. Unfortunately the sea was a little rough and the conditions where not ideal, but that didn´t stop the guests in their desire to see, what is for me, one of the most elegant birds I have ever seen.  We made it there, and enjoyed some Red-billed Tropicbirds flying near the island, then on our way back, we had several floating birds in the water.

Seabirds Panama

Fishermen in the mouth of the Changuinola river mouth surrounded by birds (Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), Laughing Gulls (Leucophaeus atricilla), Sandwich Terns (Thalasseus sandvicensis) and a Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)).

With these links you can see the species we saw that day:

Snyder Canal: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S26655839
Changuinola river mouth: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S26656713
Bird Island: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S26653094

Save

A furry resident of the Tranquilo Bay grounds

Three-toed Sloth at Tranquilo BayOne of the most “desired” tropical species that everyone wants to see, when they visit the tropics, is the species I am going to talk about today.   It’s easy to understand why, the sweet face, the lazy and extremely slow reputation attracts everyone’s attention.  I am talking about the Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus).

The truth is that they are not as slow as most people think, and they do more, than most of us think they do. Some studies with animals in captivity show they can sleep an average about 16 hours a day, but studies with wild animals have shown they sleep about 9 and half hours, spending most of their time moving around looking for food, eating and scratching.

Three-toed sloths are found in Central and South America. At Tranquilo Bay this species is abundant and easy to find most of the year.  On site we also have the Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni), which is a nocturnal species. On an island of the Bocas del Toro archipelago, is possible to find another specie of sloth the Pygmy Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus), an endemic specie, found in one special location on Escudo de Veraguas Island.

Sweet little ball of feathers

Birding at the Chocolate Farm

Today I am going to talk about a pretty and elusive ball of feathers, the Black-capped Pygmy-tyrant.  This bird is one of those species that you can hear many times, but see only a few.  Its size and the places where it likes to spend the most part of its time make them a little hard to see.

Black-capped Pygmy-tyrant  (Myiornis atricapillus) has a large range of distribution, found from the south of Nicaragua, through western Colombia down to the north Pacific coast of Ecuador. Often found in the canopy of the humid forest, its easy to lose this 2.5 inch bird. And like living in the canopy wasn’t enough to make it hard to find, its call is like an insect.

Birdwatching PanamaThis adorable little bird is one of the species we can easily hear, not so easily see, as I mentioned before, on to the excursion to the chocolate farm. Green Acres Chocolate Farm is located on the mainland, and is home to many species that we do not have on the islands of the archipelago.

The pictures are not the best ones, but good enough to show this tiny beauty.

Western Caribbean Slope Birding

Birding Panama Episode 8 Video

Birding Panama Episode 8Daniel pulled together a great collection of some of the birds you may see onsite at Tranquilo Bay.  Red-legged Honeycreeper, Blue Dacnis, Red-lored Amazon, and two Crowned Woodnymphs in all their glory.  Makes me want to pick up a pair of binoculars and go outside.   Come see for yourself as soon as you can!

 

Looking for a chef/cook

Chef / Cook Bocas del ToroWe are looking for a chef/cook.  We are looking for someone, preferably a Panamanian woman, to begin working with us as soon as possible so that we can do the training during what remains of low season.

Position:

This position is responsible for managing the kitchen and meals in their entirety. Menu planning is not the chef’s responsibility; however someone with the right experience may have this responsibility. Breakfast, lunch and dinner for up to 30 in the dining room and up to 12 staff each day. Our hotel is secluded – access to other islands is limited. Approximately 8 other staff members live on site in the staff dormitory. Our boat goes to town twice weekly for supplies, etc. Due to our secluded location and since our staff is housed on the premises, the environment is very much like being on a ship. It is vital that our chef is secure, friendly and teamwork oriented. It is key that our employees get along with others well, both guests and staff. We need a person who is healthy and highly dependable. English is not necessary (we have this job description in Spanish if you need it). We prefer a Panamanian for this position. This position calls for an individual who is professional and presentable. The chef position is a challenging yet rewarding one. Split shifts combined with a busy high season require a self-starter who is dedicated and remains focused on the job. Because of our location, it is very difficult to replace any of our crew. We do expect a commitment from our employees to stay at least a year. It is important that our applicants understand the operation and what responsibilities will be required of them. Under normal circumstances, our staff works a six or seven-day week for five weeks with a week off at the end of the five-week period. This schedule is dependent upon guest reservations. It is possible during high season that the leave week be delayed due to guests on site.  During green season, employees may have extended periods of time off to travel the country or to relax after a busy high season.

We do not allow “partying” or dating within the staff living on site. We require that all staff abide by posted rules and regulations.

Generally there two people (who take turns) in the kitchen to help this person with meals and dish-washing, etc. following each meal. We need a person who is ready to work and does not have specific lines set about what is and is not a part of the job. This position is a great one for someone who thinks they are ready to have their own restaurant but does not yet have the funding to do so. This position allows someone to save money as it is impossible to spend money here. We do not need someone with experience. We will manage the responsibility level based upon the applicants and the ultimate hire.

Compensation:

The salary will be between $800 and $1200 a month and is completely dependent upon the applicant’s experience, etc.  We pay transportation costs to and from this person’s home at the end of the five-week period by bus. We pay all social security and other governmental requirements. The person who fills this position will live on site. On site all meals are provided. Personal expenses are limited to mobile phone and personal toiletries. We do have internet which are available to this person during their off hours until 10:00 pm each night.

If you know of anyone who might fit this position, please have them contact me at info @ tranquilobay .com. Thanks.

Longsnout Seahorse

Snorkeling Bocas del Toro

One of the most intriguing, secretive and unknown species of the Bocatoranian marine wildlife is also one that occupies a privileged place in everyone’s personal wildlife universe: Seahorses. The Longsnout Seahorse, Hippocampus reidi is the species found in Bocas del Toro.

Many of us have enjoyed seahorse cartoon characters, bathroom stickers, pictures, and documentaries. We have seen them in aquariums or dried out in local market as souvenirs.   In some cultures they use them as a traditional medicine.

For many years I believed that they were just a Bocatoranian myth, but local neighbors remember the times where they were often seen under their docks or attached to sponges on the dock posts. I have never seen them on Isla Colon, yet I was lucky enough to find one some time ago. What makes it more incredible is that the one I found is within swimming distance of Tranquilo Bay’s dock.

In the very same area in which I found it, I continue to see it from time to time. One important thing that I have learned is that the times I have seen it are when I am choosing to have a very slow mode snorkeling experience. Because seahorses are not good swimmers they have an amazing camouflage system in the bony plates covering their bodies. This is their only defense against predators.

Panama Seahorse

There are many interesting facts about seahorses; I am just going to give you some of them that I believe curious enough to be shared.

Their unusual reproductive strategy is one of them, the males are the ones that will carry the eggs after the female lays them in a special abdominal pouch on the male (where they are fertilized). He will incubate them and 14 days later he will give birth by opening the pouch to the tiny (0.2 inches) young seahorses that are identical yet smaller than the adults.

They are generally believed to mate for life, but what scientist have confirmed through the data collected is that some seahorses do have monogamous relationships in which they stay together for several mating seasons in a row.

Seahorses are considered an important species in the aquarium trade. They are one of the most exported marine ornamental fish species in Brazil.

With all that interest and curiosity that seahorses awaken in the human mind, many sea horse populations are on the decline given that they have been collected as aquarium fishes, used in folk medicine, and sold as souvenirs.

Another important threat is that they are included in the by-catch of shrimp boats in the USA, Mexican and Central American ocean waters.

Even with all this pressure on seahorse populations, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) the species are considered “data deficient” so they are not included in the IUCN red list of endangered species.

The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (C.I.T.E.S) includes our Longsnout Seahorse in their list as “Threatened”, in the Apendix II CITES 2004.

This is a good example of how important it is that scientists continue to study the Longsnout Seahorse in order todeterminewhether or not its population is stable and what conservation measures might need to be initiated. If we do not even know if there is a problem … how are we going to fix it?

Double-toothed Kite Video

Birding Panama Video

After returning from vacation earlier this fall, Ramon was presented with an opportunity to watch this Double-toothed Kite right outside his apartment door.  One must take advantage of these opportunities so he set up his camera in order for all of us to have a chance to take a look at this outstanding bird.  Thanks Ramon!