Close-up Iguana at Punta Culebra

Summer 2013 Slideshow

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Gallery of Gamboa Views

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  During the carnival celebrations, we headed the opposite way from the action in Panama City, and found ourselves at the restaurant overhanging Lake Gamboa.

  Many times we have turned around and driven straight back over the bumpy bridge (an ancient, rickety railway bridge) due to a preponderance of buses and coaches. But today, presumably thanks to all the partying in the city, it was muy tranquilo, so we stayed, had a nice lunch and admired the wildlife while we ate.

  Here is a slide show of just a little selection of what we saw. We were not doing anything special to look for these creatures and sights, just having a nice little lunch followed by a nice little walk!

  Most of these photos were taken from this restaurant as seen in my nice wobbly panorama pic here:

Lake Gamboa from Restaurant, Panama

  If you have ever been unfortunate enough to sit through the truly atrocious film ‘The Tailor of Panama’ you may recognise it because Pierce Brosnan has lunch here. Then, if I remember correctly, he goes for a swim in the lake. We skipped the swim!

  P.S. The thing which looks like a whip against a fence was a superslim snake spotted by (who else?) our daughter.

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.

Crazy Crustaceans

I have never seen so many crabs as on our Pedasi vacation. From the blue and orange shiny shelled land crabs, right outside our holiday house (and at point, even inside a kitchen cupboard – yikes!), to the balled up masses of hermit crabs and their babies on the beach, by way of large darting orange crabs which leapt out of holes as we ran along the beach, it was a holiday for the crab aficionado.

This one is so much like Spongebob’s crabby sidekick, it is quite uncanny!

Fiddler Crab at Pedasi, Panama

Orange beach crab, Pedasi, Panama

I spent a long time (too long!) lying down on the sand with my camera, snapping at crabs in the distance. Here is a Hermit Crab making its way along La Playa Bonita, an idyllic cove near Pedasi in the Azuelo Peninsula.

Hermit crab walking, La Playa Bonita, Pedasi, Panama

I watched one orange crab for a long time – it was coming out of its hole and running along the beach with sand, then patting it into a neat pile. I presume it was building a nest or den. It certainly was super-busy. I got a good video of this busy critter:

Fiddler Crab Nest Building on La Playa Bonita, Pedasi, Panama from Panamajama on Vimeo.

I think they were actually a kind of fiddler crab, as one claw was significantly bigger than the other, as you can see in this picture.
Fiddler crab, Pedasi, Panama

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

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.

Coati Quartet

This morning I had plenty of ‘Gatos Solos’, known in English as Coati Mundis (remember Kid Creole and the Coconuts?), to keep me company. While walking uphill in 30 degree heat, 90% humidity (not bad for the 15th of November!), getting an outdoor exercise fix, I stopped awhile to watch them rummage for ants.

Coati Quartet from Panamajama on Vimeo.

A family of four ambled by with their tails held high and waving. Living here in Panama as a nature lover is truly awe-inspiring. I do not even have to look for these creatures, they just step out in front of me, making every walk a real jungle adventure!