Archive for May, 2013

Fiery-Billed Aracari

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Gonzalo Chaiy Aizpurua, a local bird guide from Volcan, visited Mount Totumas with his family on Saturday May 26th. He parked his car in the lower pastures and hiked up to the cabins where he greeted me excitedly having just shot an image through his spotting scope of the Fiery-Billed Aracari, an uncommon bird here in Western Panama and a first for Mount Totumas Cloud Forest. This individual drifted up from lower down the valley where rarely they are spotted along the road.

A great addition to our bird list.

Chaiy ended up inviting our family to join them climbing Volcan Baru on Sunday May 27th which we did. It was a great hike up to the peak with perfect weather. Stay tuned for the next blog entry on photos of this memorable hike.

El Tigre

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Mountain lions are common in these forests. Their tracks are often seen in the mud at streamside. Jaguars are here too, wandering in from La Amistad National Park. My neighbor Mr. Romulo Vega lost two young calves the past 10 days, this following another neighbor having lost three further down the valley. Locals refer to the Mountain lion as leon and the jaguar as the tigre. Mr. Vega has homesteaded his small farm with cattle since he started clearing his land in 1960. In 53 years he has lost 48 calves to Jaguars and mountain lions.
The chances of seeing these cats are slim. Knowing you are sharing the trails and forest with them is enough to feel their presence. We might not see them but they most likely do see us.
When powerful top predators are sharing the same forest with you this adds a distinct feel to a place where you tread with more humility.
Knowing the tigre and leon are here and not seeing them makes them in many ways more present. The result is that a deeper sense of wilderness is felt with every howler monkey heard and every quetzal, bellbird and guan seen.

Lichen Katydid (Markia hystrix)

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

We have highlighted the Lichen Katydid before. This is such a cool insect, reminds me of those camouflaged shrimp you see on coral reefs.