Archive for January, 2015

Botanical Marvels in La Amistad NP

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

clown orchid

Happy faces among the hikers as we encountered this beautiful orchid with a sad clown face in the center of the flower. First time to document this orchid deep in La Amistad NP at about 2400m. We explored a new ridge line on the back side of Mount Totumas today and discovered a number of botanical marvels.

clown orchid 2

This orchid was found on the upper trunk of a fallen tree.

gesnerid fruit 3
Some bizarre fruits of what looks like a Gesnerid vine was encountered as we were bush wacking up around 2500m

gesnerid fruit 2

gesnerid fruit 1

totumas orchid 71

Another first time documentation of a small orchid in the under story at the peak of Mount Totumas at 2600m

totumas orchid 70

Male Scintillant Hummingbird

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

scinti 2

The Scintillant Hummingbird breeds in the dry season here Dec-February. At the moment we have spotted several active nests. Feeding among the nectar bearing bushes and feeders you only find the occasional male with his striking metallic orange throat. our guest Ian patiently waited close to our feeders as a striking male Scintillant Hummingbird made an appearance in late afternoon. Once the breeding season is over the male’s metallic orange throat fades and disappears as he molts to a more subdued gray white.

Coming soon some shots of the female on her nest that she made with lichen and spider webs. She is currently incubating two small pea sized white eggs.

scinti 3

scinti 1

Green Crowned Brilliant VS. Magnificent

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

GCB MAG fight 7

We have a number of hummingbird feeders around the cabins as well as many native and ornamental nectar bearing trees and bushes. The over 15 species of hummingbirds recorded here at Mount Totumas Cloud Forest share these feeders and flowers with occasional territorial rivalry. When we have a guest that wants to photograph the hummers we remove all the feeders except one so that all the hummingbirds come to one feeder and interact more. That is when some major territorial battles ensue. Like the other day when the male Green Crowned Brilliant got into a wrestling match with a Magnificent Hummingbird. The Magnificent is a little bigger but The Green Crowned Brilliant held his own. They actually got down on the deck and had an all out brawl. Check out the photos taken by our guest Ian….

GCB MAG fight 6

GCB MAG fight 5

GCB MAG fight 4

GCB MAG fight 3

GCB MAG fight 2

GCB MAG fight 1

Fiery-Throated Hummingbird

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015


The Fiery-Throated Hummingbird is a highland species that has only visited MTCF a couple of times. There are currently two that have set their territory around some flowering bushes near The Cabin. We are hoping they may choose to breed here this year. This hummingbird never visits our feeders and only feeds on flower nectar and small insects it takes on the wing. These hummingbirds are also somewhat tame as they guard over their feeding bushes. It is possible to approach to within a meter of them. Of the 15 species of hummingbirds we have documented here at Mount Totumas Cloud Forest, The Fiery-Throated is one of the most beautiful. We hope they stick around for awhile.



FTH 101

Fiery Throated Hummingbird 17

Fiery Throated Hummingbird 15

Fiery Throated Hummingbird 14

Fiery Throated Hummingbird 12

Fiery Throated Hummingbird 10

Fiery Throated Hummingbird 8

Fiery Throated Hummingbird 4

Fiery Throated Hummingbird 3

Fiery Throated Hummingbird 2

Bajareque Rainbow with PILA

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

totumas rainbow

Seen from the Bellbird Lodge a stunning late afternoon rainbow frames the view up the Colorado Valley into La Amistad National Park with Mount Pelon on the right hand side.

Bajareque mists coming over the continental divide refract the light and created this magical scene….. the winds were howling along with the monkeys.

Here is the same image taken a few days before. The weather here is dynamic and shifting by the minute.


Thank you Julio Crispin and friends…… will post more of your pics shortly.

Ocelot (Manigordo) on the Big Tree Loop Trail

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015


First spotted cat captured by our game camera. The location was around 2000m in elevation, the upper range were Ocelot’s can be found. Here are more pics and included are a few images of mountain lions taken at the same location. A good reference to note the difference in size between these two cats.





Mountain Lion passing by the same spot. Note the size difference.


Jaguar next?

Guest Report on Saturniidae of Mount Totumas Cloud Forest

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Jean-Marc Gayman, from France, visited Mount Totumas in October 2014 with a group of friends and made the following report on the Saturniidae (silk moth family) of Mount Totumas Cloud Forest along with a site he visited in Ecuador. A great description of some of the species that are possible to see here at MTCF. Thank you Jean-Marc for sharing this interesting publication.

[gview file=”ép-RLF-n°-59-Gayman-Saturniidae-final-1.pdf”]

Lép RLF n° 59 Gayman Saturniidae final (1)

Jean-Marc has also passed along links to his photo galleries of many species comprosing several families of Lepidoptera photographed during his recent trip to Panama. Here are the links for those of you who would like to go more in depth in appreciating the biodiversity of insects that can be found here in the tropics

On these webpages are my photos from Mount Totumas (and some others locations in Panamà). Feel free to unload those you like for ecological, educational or academic use :