Birding in Cerro Punta, Panama: Seven Lifers in Seven Minutes
We’ve been in Panama for six days now. The first day was a city tour in Panama City with our private tour guide, Fernando. (See my other blog for details on that day.) And then we flew to Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro where we spent three days scuba diving. Yesterday we got back to the mainland and had a taxi take us to Changuinola where we were supposed to pick up a rental car, but there was no rental car. We stayed the night and took the 4 1/2 hour bus ride over the mountains to David City where we picked up a rental car and then drove through more mountains to here in Cerro Punta where we’re staying the next four nights at the fabulous (and I mean FABULOUS) Los Quetzales Lodge. We no sooner dropped our bags in our spectacular suite (I splurged!) and we were out on the balcony spotting loads of birds. We saw seven lifers in only seven minutes! We don’t begin our full day of birding until tomorrow morning. I’ll have more to report then. In the meantime, here is my report of birds of note so far without really doing much. Panama City March 20 Not really trying to bird. Just arrived and took a city tour and visited the Panama Canal and its museum. Here’s what we saw, though: Gray-breasted Martin (Lifer for Steve and me) Great-tailed Grackle Bocas del Toro March 20 Again, not birding really. We were in Bocas (Isla Colon, to be exact) for scuba diving. Variable Seed Eater (Lifer for Steve and Me) Pale Vented Pigeons Rufous Tailed Hummingbird (Lifer for Steve and Me) Thick-billed Sea-Finch (Lifer for Steve and Me) Changuinola March 24 Kettles of dozens and dozens of Swainson’s Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks and Turkey Vultures (Broad-winged is a new lifer for me); They’re migrating to US and Canada and passing in huge numbers this time of year Two Swallow-tailed Kites displaying wonderfully in the breeze Black Hawk David City Airport as we were picking up our rental car Pair of Ruddy Ground Doves Fork-tailed Fly Catcher Tropical Kingbird Gray-breasted Martin Los Quetzales Lodge in Cerro Punta Blue Gray Tanager Palm Tanager (Lifer for Steve and me) Silver Throated Tanager (Lifer for Steve and me) Rufous Collard Sparrow (Lifer for Steve and me) Slaty Flower Piercer (Lifer for Steve and me) Green Violet Ear Hummingbird (Lifer for Steve and me) White-bellied Mountain-Gem Hummingbird (Lifer for Steve and me) Volcano Hummingbird(Lifer for Steve and me)
Great pictures Lisa! I can’t believe you got seven lifers in seven minutes!
Tiny birds, but pretty. I’m a little rusty on my birding. What is a “lifer”?
A “lifer” means I’ve never seen it before. Birders sometimes keep what’s called a “life list,” which includes all the birds they’ve ever seen. And it should be in the wild in its habitat. For instance I’d be a dork if I saw a bird for the first time that was in a zoo and called it a lifer. That’s not a lifer. But if I’d seen it in the zoo and then saw it in its habitat, say in Belize, then I’d call the bird in Belize a lifer even though I’d seen it in a zoo somewhere before. This whole thing is based on the honor system. You should rent the movie, The Big Year. Came out last Fall and is really fun and gives a quick overview on how it all works. Better yet, read the book, Life List, which is a biography about a woman who spent her adult life birding and even kind of abandoned her family while doing so. Would make an awesome book club selection as one has to come to ter,s with drawing the line between passion and obsession.
BTW, I’m not at obsession. Not even close.