New sightings for our Western Caribbean Slope bird-list

Last month while I was birding with some guests we had the great fortune to find two species of bird in areas out of the range reported for these species. While we were birding around Tranquilo Bay’s grounds, we observed two hummingbirds on a tree, I got to ID the first one with my naked eye, it was a Green-breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevostii), then, when I look through my binoculars, a bright red beak of the other hummingbird stand out, and immediately knew it was a “lifer” for me (lifer: specie of bird never seen before by the observant), it was a male Blue-throated Goldentail (Hylocharis eliciae) for a moment it perched on a little branch and then flew to fight the Green-breasted Mango, that was perched on the same tree. Fortunately one of the guests had a camera, and got some good pictures for identification, thanks a lot Chris for the pictures!Hummingbird PanamaPhoto credits Christopher Ng. Male Blue-throated Goldentail (Hylocharis eliciae)

Panama HummingbirdsPhoto credits Christopher Ng. Male Blue-throated Goldentail (Hylocharis eliciae) fighting a Green-breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevostii)

The following day, we went birding on the Snyder Canal, at the San San Pond Sak wetland, and there we had the other unusual encounter (another lifer for me). In front of us a big bird flew from the forest to the edge of the forest, so we slowly approached with the boat and to our surprise this bird perched on a branch, out in the open.  It was a gorgeous Black-collared Hawk (Busarellus nigricollis).

Birding PanamaBlack-collared Hawk (Busarellus nigricollis)

After enjoying this hawk for some time we continued the boat ride, and I noticed a strong smell of dead fish, which I probably had not noticed previously due to the excitement with the Black-collared Hawk.  Looking around, and for the next 100 meters, along the canal, there were hundreds of small dead fish. Jay helped me to ID them (back at the lodge), they are commonly known as shad, and apparently are very susceptible to changes in their environment.

deadshadOne of the many groups of dead fishes at the Snyder canal

If you want to know the different species of birds we saw during the two birding experiences, you can check on my e-bird:

Species seen while we where birding around Tranquilo Bay: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25332931

Birding trip to the Snyder Canal (this excursion includes different locations):

Canal: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25348643

Mouth of the river: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25349342

Bird Island: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25349367

Wildlife magnet: Verbena

Birding Bocas del ToroOne of the most beautiful plants that we enjoy at Tranquilo Bay´s gardens is the Verbena plant. If you ask a botanist, he will define the “verbena”as an organism belonging to the Plantae Kingdom. Angiosperm, Eudicot, Asterid from the genus Stachytarpheta in the Verbenaceae family of the Order Lamiales.

Panama WildlifeBut if you ask us, at Tranquilo Bay, we will define it as “one of the most valuable ornament” in the tropical gardens that surround us. It is not one of the most precious specie just because of her beauty, but because the magnetic powers it has to attract many other flying gems that inhabit or visit this land.

Bocas del Toro BirdingIf you ask Natalia, the magnetic full-grown verbena plants are now a reward from work well done.  After planting and taking care of them, the results are wildlife actively visiting the plant.  This allows us to take great action shoots of feeding behavior of butterflies and bees, the playful Bananaquit or of many striking hummingbirds that visit it.   If you ask the different species of wildlife what the verbena plant is to them, they would surely tell you that it is paradise on Earth, an endless source of nectar in its countless flowers, they will probably refer to it as the great “provider” it is.

Bird Watching PanamaImagine you could ask the rare migrant in the Caribbean coast of Panama, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird that has been hosted by Tranquilo Bay´s verbena plants for some weeks ( 2 years in a row always at the end of February) what the Verbena flower nectar means to it, after an exhausting migration from the United States. Or for the Blue-chested Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird or the Stripe-throated Hermit that are extremely common visitors and spend their days feeding on it, or to the Green-breasted Mango, …

Bananaquit Bocas del Toro

Crowned Woodnymph FemaleThe verbena plant is a wildlife magnet, which makes it a great attraction for us who enjoy being able to see and capture a gorgeous wild animal “living its life”.

Wildlife Panama