Fate to the winds: Fall Migration at Tranquilo

Fall is upon us again, as the birds from our temperate northern latitudes of United States and Canada fly south for the winter to spend the long months (and thus, the majority of the year) in the tropics. A combination of photoperiod, the tilt of the earth, genetic predisposition, temperature and food availability determines this period of mass departure.

Migration Birdwatching
Hooded Warbler, Florida, Fall 2019

After a short spring and summer packed with staking out new territories (or returning to ones claimed in previous years as is the case with various warblers that return to the same nesting territory year after year), the birds find a mate, build nests and raise the next generation of migratory birds. These hatch-year birds, upon fledging, join the southward-flowing river of migrant songbirds, waterfowl and raptors to wintering grounds they’ve never seen before, yet once occupied by their ancestors.

Eastern Kingbirds Birding Panama
Eastern Kingbirds pausing in the treetops off Tranquilo Bay’s deck. October 2019

The birds funnel down the vast continent of North America where they finished out the breeding season to the narrow stretch of Central America, some residing here for the winter while others continue to fly as far as South America.

Birding Migration
Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Maryland Fall 2019

So why would a bird care to make such a journey? Throwing its fate to the wind and relying on abundant yet sometimes uncertain resources that provide a bird’s fat stores to fuel the tiny little muscles that can project a tiny sprite across wide open seas, country borders and continental divides?

Well, a combination of factors: the lush tropics burgeon with fruits, seeds, and invertebrates that become unavailable up north after the fall harvest is over and the cold sets in. The plentiful supply of food in the tropical south allows for our temperate nesting birds to feed shoulder to shoulder with toucans, trogons, honeycreepers and others that make up the vast array of Central and South American species of the avian persuasion.

Fall Migration Panama
The tanagers are headed this way! Florida, Fall 2019

This is an exciting time, not just for birders but anyone interested in nature– it’s hard not to get drawn in by the wildly impressive spectacle of such a mass migration!

Have you noticed changes in the birds around your home? What’s it like where you life? Who stays and who goes?

Black Terns refueling at the mouth of the Changuinola along their journey south. Snyder/Changuinola Bay Excursion, Tranquilo Bay

The Beauty of Pollination

A dear friend of ours sent a link to this video to us over the weekend.  We all enjoyed it so much we wanted to share it with you.  We see things like this around Tranquilo Bay on a regular basis, but to see it so beautifully captured on film is rare.

The Beauty of Pollination – Moving Art TM by Louie SchwartzbergThis video was shown at the TED conference in 2011, with scenes from “Wings of Life”, a film about the threat to essential pollinators that produce over a third of the food we eat. The seductive love dance between flowers and pollinators sustains the fabric of life and is the mystical keystone event where the animal and plant worlds intersect that make the world go round.

September 2012 VENT Trip Report

Jeri M. Langham was the leader for VENT on their September 2012 Panama: Bocas del Toro Archipelago trip. He is a retired professor of biological sciences at California State University in Sacramento.

Jeri’s passion for teaching and his natural teaching abilities quickly become apparent as his tour participants enjoy learning more about the biological world around them.  On this tour, he educated all of us (tour participants, Tranquilo Bay staff and the kids) on the differences between fruits and vegetables as well as finer details associated with carrots.

You can learn about his group’s trip in September 2012 here: http://www.ventbird.com/news/2012/10/03/panama-bocas-del-toro-archipelago

As the March 2012 trip is full, you can learn about the itinerary and travel dates for the future trips here: http://ventbird.com/birding-tour/2013/09/06/panama-bocas-del-toro-archipelago Bird lists for both of the trips are also available on this page.

We hope to see you with Jeri on one of his future trips.

March 2012 VENT Trip Report

Jeri M. Langham was the leader for VENT on their March 2012 Panama: Bocas del Toro Archipelago trip.  He and his wife and a group of big guns came down for a week to prepare for the future trips down to Bocas.

Jeri is a retired professor of biological sciences at California State University in Sacramento. He has ardently birded all over North America, as well as Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands, Peru, Argentina, Kenya, Borneo, and Australia. Born and raised in Venezuela, he speaks fluent Spanish. Known for his enthusiasm and boundless energy, Jeri thoroughly enjoys searching for birds and sharing them with others. His passion for teaching and his natural teaching abilities soon become apparent as his tour participants enjoy learning more about the biological world around them. He is a former member of the Bausch and Lomb Birding Council and the California Bird Records Committee. He is a Director for the Neotropical Grassland Conservancy.

You can learn about his group’s trip in March 2012 here:  http://ventbird.com/news/2012/05/17/panama-bocas-del-toro-archipelago.

You can learn about the itinerary and travel dates for the future trips here:  http://ventbird.com/birding-tour/2012/08/31/panama-bocas-del-toro-archipelago

We hope to see you with Jeri on one of his future trips.

Clements Bird List – 388 Species

Natalia finished updating the bird list after this spring’s birding.  It has climbed up to 388 from 328 as published in late March 2012.  You can always find the current bird list in .pdf format in both Clements and Ridgely Gwynne on our Birding page in the side bar.  This list includes updates from April and May 2012.

You can also download the current list here:  TBAAWCSClements51712

Oropendola

Oropendola

Being privileged to coexist with this interesting bird is nice. Seeing one perched in a tree – that is a moment of serenity. You know that if you are really lucky you will get to see it perform one of its unique dances along with the appropriate verbal score.

Parrot moment

parrots

This is a moment we have wanted to capture on film for some time. Ramon was watching in the open field for the birds to come back by on their nightly return to the roost. Capturing so many of them on film was one thing. Actually getting to see their color was amazing.