Birds of Prey Migrating

Raptors migrate annually over Panama, and, thrillingly, every year they pass over our house. This year I managed to run outside and take a little video of them circling above in their hundreds. Not the same as seeing them in real life, but it certainly gives you a small idea of the spectacular display.

What a privilege to see these majestic birds gather and swarm in such numbers!

Close-up Iguana at Punta Culebra

Summer 2013 Slideshow

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Good to be Back

We recently returned home to Panama after a fun-filled festive break in Scotland. We had a lot of fun being wined and dined by family and friends over Christmas and New Year, with the added satisfaction of knowing we would be returning to the Panamanian Dry Season – ‘el verano’, summer.

Glasgow Transport Museum, AKA the Riverside

Arch in the Burrell Collection, Glasgow
Arch in Burrell Collection, Glasgow

We had a fabulous time in Scotland, but it was lovely to return to 30 C plus temperatures every day, usually made bearable by a refreshing breeze. Trips to Amador Causeway and the Discovery Rainforest Center the first weekend we were home gave us sightings of a large, elderly, battle-scarred Puffer Fish in the harbour, dozens of hummingbirds and a large croc in the lake at the rainforest. The crocodile definitely was monitoring us – we watched its eye and nose surface, then it would go under water again, resurface ten feet further on and give us the beady eye again. Fortunately the crocodiles here in Panama are not super aggressive like those of Australia, but I still wouldn’t take any chances with them!

Elderly Puffer Fish in the harbour at Amador Causeway

Fuzzy pic of a hummingbird at Discovery Rainforest Center

I have a nice video of the puffer and the hummingbird, which I will publish shortly.

Pelican Crossing

A juvenile pelican wandered onto the road right in front of our car on Amador Causeway this afternoon. Rather daftly, I jumped straight of the car with my camera to snap away at the critter. Setting a bad example to the children! Felt my husband gently brush the car against my backside as I hit the pavement.

Pelican crossing at Amador Causeway, Panama City

Pelican crossing Amador Causeway Panama City

It walked across the road, causing all the cars to stop, in much the same way a sheep would do near Loch Lomond in my home country. It arrived at the moped hire shop, where it soon attracted a crowd.

Pelican surrounded by people, Amador Causeway, Panama City

Pelican at Cycle shop, Amador Causeway, Panama City

Here it is standing under a sign which says ‘Parrot Island’.

Pelican on Isla Perrico, Amador Causeway, Panama City

I think we were all quite worried about the pelican, as it was pretty bewildered.

Pelican on Pavement, Amador Causeway, Panama City

Just as my husband arrived back from the top of the causeway to pick me up, a man got a broom and ushered the big baby back across the road in the direction of the water.

Pelican being ushered onto road, Amador Causeway, Panama City

I had to jump into the car, as the traffic was building up behind us, but managed to see the pelican reaching the right side of the road, the bay side.

Man ushering pelican across road, Amador Causeway, Panama City

And here it is, back where it belongs! Happy ending!

Pelican back where it belongs, Amador Causeway, Panama City

Backyard Beasties

From baby iguanas, through katydids, hummingbirds, even a pit viper! The variety of creatures we can see without even leaving our neighbourhood never ceases to amaze me. My daughter, the nature nut, frequently brings home one or two baby iguanas for us to see, sometimes as many as four at a time! Here she is with her friend from round the corner – his ‘n hers baby iguanas.

His n hers baby iguanas, Panama

And here is a very common sight in our house. A bit fuzzy, but you get the idea.

Baby Iguana, Panama

Luckily for us, this Pit Viper, a member of the rattlesnake family, very possibly the legendarily dangerous Fer de Lance, was not found in our backyard. But it was in our next door neighbour’s but one! Rather foolishly I went out to their yard to take some pictures of this intimidating creature. As you can see, it was coiled in a defensive/aggressive stance and ready to strike. A creature to reckon with for sure. This one ended up dead I’m afraid – sometimes it’s them or us, and if you google Fer de Lance (which I do NOT recommend), you will see that our neighbours could not take the risk of this potentially deadly beast escaping.

Fer de lance, Panama

It is still a novelty for us to see six inch long insects, such as this impressive katydid on the wall of our house, spotted, of course, by our daughter.

Katydid, Panama

If you look closely at this picture, you will see an Amazon parrot camouflaged among the greenery. This illustrates perfectly why so many of the parrots and parakeets are bright emerald green – they are virtually impossible to spot in the trees, unless you happen to see them landing. This tree is right outside our backyard, and these large parrots fly over our house, squawking in pairs, every morning and every evening as they go to and from their roosting place.

Amazon parrot from my backyard, Panama

And, to finish, some nice soothing pictures of a hummingbird at our feeder.

Hummingbird at my Feeder, Panama

Beautiful hummingbird at my feeder, Panama

Dumb Vultures

On one of our many many visits to Summit Zoo we watched this vulture as it sized itself up in the mirror, before repeatedly attacking its own reflection.

Vulture squaring up for a fight, Summit Zoo, Panama

These are American Black Vultures, very common here in Panama. As commonly seen here as pigeons are seen in the UK. Much as I am a nature nut, and love all God’s creatures, this is where I come close to drawing the line. They really are repulsively creepy looking, with their crinkly wrinkly heads.

Now, it might not be such a bad thing to be no great beauty, as long as you were blessed with brains by way of compensation. No such luck for these critters, unfortunately.

Vulture attacking its own reflection, Summit Zoo, Panama

And again! You know, I could just do this all day!

Vulture attacking its reflection, Summit Zoo, Panama

Tropical Hummingbirds feeding

The last time we were at the visitor centre at Pipeline Road, Gamboa I managed to get a pretty nice video of some lovely hummingbirds at the feeder.

If you stay watching till the end, you will see a hummingbird with a white fanned-out tail come in from the left and just dance in mid-air!

Every time we go to this visitor centre, we see at least twenty hummingbirds of all different varieties. Although they look super beautiful, there are continual territorial battles over the feeders, so I actually think they are pretty stressed out!

For me, seeing birds like this on my doorstep is one of the major highlights of living in this tropical paradise.