Monday, August 19, 2013

Back from Panama

I've just returned from a week spent trekking through the forests and meadows of Panama in pursuit of tropical species of birds. Panama has a rich avifauna and some of the birds there are almost unimaginably beautiful. Here are a couple of photos culled from the internet of just a few of the species I was able to see:
The bird above is a Golden-hooded tanager. It's found in garden type environments and along forest edges.
It's hard to capture in a photo the beauty of the Blue dachnis. The blue is electric. It's an amazing fact about birds that there's no blue pigment in their feathers. The color is structural. That is, it results from the way light is reflected and refracted off the feathers.
This was my favorite bird of the trip. It's a very large member of the vulture group called the King vulture. This was my eighth trip to Central America, and I had futilely searched the skies for this bird on every previous trip. Finally, on this one I saw it. In fact, I managed to see three of them, all of which were soaring at just about the height of the bird in the photo.