Archive for May, 2010

Dipper Nursery

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

The entrance of Mount Totumas Cloud Forest at 1650m begins where the road crosses the Rio Colorado. This is also where a side stream, the Quebrada Norte joins the Rio Colorado. At this confluence on an exposed bank next to a small waterfall a pair of American Dippers nested this year and their one young is now hanging at this confluence.

Very cute. A perfect dipper nursery right at our entrance. And here in Western Panama we are at the southern extreme of the American Dipper’s range which extends north along mountain streams all the way to Alaska.

Here is the nest site. The nest was up about 8 feet above the river on the exposed bank.

Here is the entrance of Mount Totumas Cloud Forest with the confluence of the Rio Colorado and the Quebrada Norte. The dipper nursery.

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Dippers here share the stream with Torrent Tyrannulet, a pair of which are nesting about a 100meters upstream. Here is a rather poor image of one of them.
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Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Most people are familiar with the Katydid, a common insect whose attire is usually a solid green. Like the one here crawling on Sam’s ear.

But evolution can churn out some spectacular modifications especially when natural selection fine tunes a strategy of camouflage. Spiders looking like an orchid pedal, shrimp or sea horses perfectly blending into coral. This morning I checked the bug light and found a Katydid that stood out against the white sheet. When I put him on the stump with the lichen he virtually disappeared.

This guy would have been impossible to spot when hanging out on these branches!

Red Brocket Deer

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Hiking on Mr. Vega’s land today we spotted a young Red Brocket Deer at the forest edge. There were four of us hiking and we watched still and silent as the deer grazed on the path.  To our surprise the deer wandered down the path in our direction until it was only about 25 feet from us. This species is very wary and avoids human contact and when he finally realized we were there he darted quickly into the forest. This is a forest species and the shorter fore legs and small horns are adaptations for forest life. The other species of deer here is the well known White-Tailed Deer that ranges from North America down well into South America as far as Bolivia.

Violet Sabrewing

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

This is the largest hummingbird species visiting our feeders. The Violet Sabrewing was absent during the winter months but has appeared since around mid march. In the early morning this individual often enters the front door of the house and explores around often hovering over the red tassle of a pillow on the couch mistaking it for a red flower. One time he got disoriented and ended up lost in the kitchen flying against the window. I thought the condenser of the refrigerator was dying when I heard the rattle of his wings against the window. I picked him up and released him outside. Within a couple of minutes he was back on the feeder