I’m not ready to let go of Panama just yet. What that means is that it seems as though my reporting about our two-week birding adventure in Panama just may go on forever. I promise I won’t drag this on, but there are still loads of photos and stories to share. (Someone will let me know when I’ve jumped the shark, right?)

Let me begin by sharing that over the weekend Steve and I were talking about our long-term plans to retire in Panama, discussing where we’d like to live–on the beach? In the cloud forest? Both? (Why not?) It’s all still in the dreaming phase right now, but it’s exciting to think that one day we just might call Panama our home. And wouldn’t it be great to see this fella every day:

Blue-crowned Motmot

I fell in love with the Blue-crowned Motmot when I first saw him in Belize a couple of years ago. In Belize he seemed more shy, but in Panama there were Motmots aplenty and they didn’t seemed alarmed by us humans. Here’s another flavor–the Broad-billed Motmot. This was a new Motmot species for me.

Broad-billed Motmot

You know, the more I tell people about birds and birding–particularly when I share photos of the birds we saw I get the same reaction from everyone: “I didn’t know there were so many birds!”

Nor did I before I met Steve.

So for this week’s post I’d like to share some of the other birds we encountered during our Panamanian adventure. This should give you a sense of the variety of species we saw. (Not included in this post are all the tanagers and hummingbirds. Those were reported in previous posts.)

Here we go. First off, most people think we’re going to be chasing exotics like the Toucan. I admit it, I like to see exotic birds. In fact, I spent the whole two weeks rather disappointed that I didn’t get a spectacular shot of a Toucan. I kept hearing stories like, “Yesterday the toucan was just perched right in front of us in full view!”

I hate those people.

But one afternoon while Steve, our guide Ito and I were going up the hill looking for (can’t believe I’m saying this) “some bird,” I heard the toucan and was determined to snap a photo of it. I turned around and went in the opposite direction, down the hill, following the croaks of the toucan where I soon met up with a young girl from one of the local tribes who was just standing there with her face pointed up to the tops of the trees. She clearly was also looking for the toucan.

The young girl seemed like she was 10 or 11 and didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak her language but we both were helping each other with hand signals as we tried to find it. She found it before me and pointed way up through the thick leaves and I leaped over to her to find Mr. Toucan not in full view, but sitting on a branch among the leaves and vines, allowing me to get just a partial view. I snapped away and then showed the girl the picture on the LED screen on the back of my camera, wondering if she’d ever seen a digital camera before.

Satisfied with finding the bird, the young girl went on her way and I went back up the hill, hoping that at least one shot was going to turn out okay. I wanted her to stay. I would have liked to have asked her questions about where she lives and what life is like for her, but we didn’t have much luck conversing and besides, I’m sure she’s been taught “Stranger Danger” tips from her tribe just like any child would be taught. I don’t think I look alarming, but you never know. It was very humid and my hair was quite frizzy. It would scare most adults, let alone children.

But here’s my toucan. Not so bad.

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Now, as far as composition goes, for some reason I’m in love with this next photo. And you know what? I didn’t even take it–Steve did!

Streaked Flycatcher

Here are the rest of the group for this post. Enjoy and just know–when we move to Panama you’ll have to come visit us and we can show you where to find these birds. (To view the gallery click on one photo and it will enlarge and take you to a slideshow.)