Panama birding continues: Invasion of the army ants

So tired. Feet are hurting. I’ve got what seems like a gazillion mosquito bites (Why don’t they ever attack Steve?), and I’d love to skip today’s report. But I’m committed to all you readers out there.

We started the day at the famous Canopy Tower. Previously known as Semaphore Hill, the Tower was used as a signal hill for the U.S. Military during the time the U.S. occupied the Canal Zone. now it has lodging for guests and caters primarily to birders. We visited the top level this morning and enjoyed the cool breeze and canopy top views as we watched hundreds of raptors migrating North.

We then heard about some army ants that were spotted nearby so we went looking for them. Why, you ask? (Trust me, I had the same question.) Turns out, where there are army ants there will be birds that specialize in following them, because ants stir up bugs and the birds like the bugs.

Steve, especially was excited about the army ants. He’d never seen them, but knew all about them since he’s what I call WikiSteve. I actually think he spent more time looking at the ant colonies than he did the birds. I looked at the ant trails too, but that’s because I thought I was going to die. They were all over the place and I’m sure they would have devoured me immediately. The mosquitos have, why not the ants too?

So, we can all check off army ants on our bucket lists.

Speaking of lists, here’s today’s list. Broke another personal best of species in one day: 125; Only 26 lifers today. I guess lifers would have to slow down at some point. Again, I apologize for typos. I blame the iPad. And just a few select photos at the bottom. I’ll be posting a bigger selection of photos from this trip after I get home from holiday. Lifers are in bold.

Gray headed Chacalaca
Magnificent Frigate Bird
Green Heron
Boat billed Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
King Vulture
White Hawk
Zone tailed Hawk
Broad winged Hawk
Swainson’s Hawk
Red tailed Hawk
Black Hawk Eagle
Crested Caracara
Southern Lapwing
Wattled Jacana
Unknown Tern (Royal? We couldn’t tell, as setting sun was in our eyes)
Rock Dove
Pale vented Pigeon
Scaled Pigeon
Ruddy Ground Dove
White tipped Dove
Orange chinned Parakeet
Blue headed Parrot
Mealy Parrot
Squirrel Cuckoo
Spectacled Owl
Chimney Swift
White necked Jacobin (hummingbird)
Scaly breasted Hummingbird
Garden Emerald (hummingbird)
Sapphire throated Hummingbird
Snowy bellied Hummingbird
Rufous tailed Hummingbird
Violations Trogon
Black throated Trogon
Black tailed Trogon
Slaty tailed Trogon
Rufous Motmot
Broad billed Motmot
Ringed Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher
White necked Puffbird
Black breasted Puffbird
Collared Aracari
Keel billed Toucan
Red crowned Woodpecker
Cinnamon Woodpecker
Lineated Woodpecker
Crimson crested Woodpecker
Buff throated Foliage Gleaner
Plain brown Woodcreeper
Northern barred Woodcreeper
Ruddy Woodcreeper
Cocoa Woodcreeper
Western slaty Antshrike
Checkered throated Antwren
White flanked Antwren
Dot winged Antwren
Dusky Antwren
White bellied Antwren
Spotted Antbird
Bicolored Antbird
Ocellated Antbird
Black faced Ant thrush
Brown capped Tyrannulet
Yellow Tyrannulet
Olive striped Flycatcher
Common Tody Flycatcher
Olivaceous Flycatcher
Black tailed Flycatcher
Bright rumped Attila
Panama Flycatcher
Lesser Kiskadee
Great Kiskadee
Social Flycatcher
Gray-capped Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Southern Bentbill
Fork tailed Flycatcher
Purple throated Fruitcrow
Lance tailed Manakin
Red capped Manakin
Lesser Greenlet
Mangrove Swallow
Bank Swallow
Southern rough winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Gray breasted Martin
Black bellied Wren
Rufous breasted Wren
House Wren
White breasted wood wren
Clay colored Thrush
Tropical Mockingbird
Chestnut sided Warbler
Bay breasted Warbler
Gray headed Tanager
White shouldered Tanager
Crimson backed Tanager
Blue Gray Tanager
Palm Tanager
Plain colored Tanager
Red legged Honeycreeper
Streaked Saltator
Bufff throated Saltator
Blue black Grassquit
Variable Seedeater
Orange billed Sparrow
Summer Tanager
Scarlet Tanager
Red crowned Ant Tanager
Rose breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Giant Cowbird
Great tailed Grackle
Yellow tailed Oriole
Scarlet rumped Cucique
Chestnut headed Oropendola
Yellow crowned Euphonia
Thick billed Euphonia
Fulvous vented Euphonia
Lesser Goldfinch


Not a great photo, but you get the idea of all the migrating raptors that’s going on right now. Huge numbers!





Another crummy photo, but this of the army ants. They were building bridges with leaves and such. And I’m sure plotting my death too.





The Canopy Tower.