Panama Professional Bird Guide
(Beny Wilson, Panama Bird Guide: 507-6112-2082, firstname.lastname@example.org)
When we first met Beny 2 years ago we were not avid birders… Ray had suffered a back injury that required us to change our usual activities to something more “tame.” A friend suggested we might like birding because of our interest in wildlife–we were skeptical but decided to give it a try and Panama seemed like the perfect place.
After our first 8-hour day on the famous Pipeline Road, dripping with sweat and swatting bugs that had no respect for bug spray, we weren’t sure what to think… until we downloaded our memory card and started looking at the pictures we took. Suddenly those small, twitchy creatures jumped out of the screen in amazing detail, allowing us a small glimpse into the avian world – we were hooked!
Location: Summit Ponds
(Blue-crowned Motmot. Sometimes birds surprise you and come so close, they are almost out of the focal range of the lens, but the detail you can capture is mind-blowing!)
(Male Crimson-backed Tanager. These birds are quite common in Panama, but the colour is so vibrant we never tire of watching them.)
Location: Ammo Pond
Beny has the eyes of a hawk and a guide of his caliber can make such a difference. When he starts acting like a kid at Christmas, you know you have been gifted something special, like when he spotted a Yellow-breasted Crake at Ammo Pond. These birds are extremely rare–the last time Beny saw one was three years ago!
(Yellow-breasted Crake. We would normally not include such a “bad” photo in our blog but the rarity of this bird made it an exception. Due to the dense vegetation of its habitat it is very difficult to see, much less photograph. Just getting this “head shot” was a challenge.)
Location: La Laguna Sendero
Sometimes you get lucky and lightening strikes twice on the same day. While hiking the Laguna Trail, Beny spotted a bird he wasn’t sure about (needless to say we were shocked). It turned out to be a dark-phase juvenile Gray-headed Kite. The dark phase was a “life bird” for Beny (which undoubtedly means it is also one for us)–score two!
(Dark phase juvenile Gray-headed Kite)
(Black-bellied Whistling Ducks)
As we finished the Laguna Trail we ended up by the Canal and saw several waterfowl wading about in a picturesque setting. It was the perfect end to the perfect day.
Thinking back to the circumstances under which we first met Beny we can’t believe how our misfortune turned into such a blessing. One that we can appreciate for many years to come!
Marcy & Ray Stader