When telling friends I was going to Panama to go birding, most of them thought Steve and I were going to be chasing down exotic birds like Toucans and Parrots. Of course, I always love to see those in the wild, but something that Panama  (along with the other countries in Central America) has is Tanagers. Best kept secret, I tell you.  (Well, that and the fact that cell phone service is crazy cheap there.)

The thing I love about Tanagers is that it’s like all the shoes in my closet.  I’ve got loads of them and they are essentially the same thing–shoes–but they all look totally different. They each have their own style. So finding all these Tanagers was a bit like shoe shopping for me.  (Don’t tell Steve.  I can just see his eyes rolling now.) There are the Cherrie’s Tanager, the Blue-gray Tanager, Summer Tanager, and the Red-legged Honeycreeper, which of course doesn’t have the Tanager name, but Steve tells me is in the Tanager family. And loads more, natch.

Blue-gray Tanager

I live in Utah and so I don’t see Tanagers that often–I’m lucky if the Western Tanager visits our feeders.  It’s like being stuck owning one pair of shoes.  A lovely pair of shoes, but only one pair.  Sigh. But I still have hope that a Western Tanager will visit when I’m actually home.  (I suspect they wait until I’m at work and visit.) But in Panama we saw a whole bevy of Tanagers and I couldn’t get enough of them.

My all-time favorite Tanager is the Blue-gray Tanager.  Every time I see this guy he’s always posing and pulls some of the most interesting expressions.

Oh, and by the way, Panama City just happens to have a Jimmy Choo store.  Now that makes this girl happy and it’s official–we can totally retire here.

Check out the gallery of Tanagers I have here.  Some shots are better than others. Sadly, I’m still a novice at taking photos.  I’m getting a little better each time, but I need to spend more time out in the field.

Question out there for all of you.  Which Tanager is your favorite?  You don’t need to choose from my gallery here.  Just wondering if any of you have a favorite Tanager you like to see.