• 2019 Panama Bocas del Toro Islands

    Before we move on to Bocas del Toro.....

    We had quite a few shutterbugs on the trip to Panama and many of them have agreed to share some of their captures on this blog. Here's why that's a great boon to the blog. The beautiful Keel-billed Toucan was present at many of our Panama locations, but Fran actually captured this gorgeous image on the hotel grounds in Panama City, with a small camera no less. 

    So, after Panama City we headed to Bocas del Toro, an hour's flight to the NW.

    This is what the islands of Bocas del Toro looked like out our plane window.

    I think this is probably part of Bocas town because I took it as we were descending to land.

    We're there!

    This guy was singing "The Girl from Ipanema", "De-O", and other island songs to entertain us as we stood in line to go through "migracion".

    After a short ride to the dock

    Peter got in the island mood

    and our luggage was loaded up on the two boats that had come to pick us up.

    That's sweet Stacy holding onto one of our boats. While we were at Tranquilo, three staff members served as great guides for us! 

    These charming Caribbean homes are typical of Bocas life on the water.

    Hubby Scott is so cute here.

    That's "the other boat" cruising along with us on the 45-minute ride to Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge where we would stay for 3 nights. Vicky and I seemed to have similar eyes for images. That's her over there photographing our boat. 

    There is very little development out here in Bocas...quite a lot of abandoned docks and structures...here's the only "significant" group of homes I saw on the way out.

    Yes, Tranquilo Bay Lodge is amazingly remote. It was conceived of and built by 4 Texas college grads, finished in 2005. This is the dock. The lodge itself is up the hill along a boardwalk through the mangroves...not really visible in this shot.

    Mangrove roots

    Mangroves provide a rich habitat for scads of invertebrates and fish. 

    There are nine cabins and the main dining lodge and veranda on the property. This is the cabin we got. Yes, Linda, OUR cabin. Haha. Inside joke.

    They are really roomy and clean cabins. The bathroom is huge, toilets worked unusually well for the tropics, and climate control was perfect.

    Alternate sleeping arrangement

    After settling in, we began to notice some of the local inhabitants. This is a Golden-collared Manakin male that was peeking at us just below the veranda.

    Here's his pretty back and green rump. Manakins slap their wings to make a sharp clack or two when feeling amorous. While in Panama we heard clacking Manakins much more often than we were able to see them. 

    This Double-toothed Kite was behind the main lodge eating a giant grasshopper.

    The owners have planted and maintained beautiful, natural, but tended, gardens on their property. They concentrated on plants that had flowers to attract hummingbirds, berries for manakins and other birds, and habitat for other wildlife. 

    The word Panama may come from an indigenous language word meaning "land of many butterflies." We certainly saw a BUNCH of butterflies and moths. Here are some butterflies captured by Vicky B.

    Teleus Longtail


    Before we went to dinner a few of us climbed to the top of the observation tower. Brave us. It really is pretty darn high up there...and wavery. But, that's about the only way to get a side-on shot of parrots flying. We were losing light, so I'm proud to have snapped this shot of two Red-lored Parrots.

    Vicky took this great sunset picture from the tower. Below us, Green Ibis were burbling noisily as they came in to their night roosting grounds. I found that interesting, because if memory serves, the Scarlet Ibis flying in to roost in Caroni Swamp on Trinidad were quiet... beautiful, but quiet. Anybody else remember that?

    The next morning we set off for a day trip to the Banana Canal, or more exactly, the Seropta Canal.  It was built for transporting bananas. 

    It was early, but then, it was always ALWAYS early when we started our days.

    We met this gentleman as we entered the canal. People literally live half their lives on boats here.

    Here's the canal...lots of vegetation on either side for birds, monkeys, sloths. Our two boats were lashed together as we slowly cruised the canal.

    A couple of Olive-throated Parakeets in terrible light were pretty curious about us.

    Plants will grow about anywhere in the tropics...this is a decaying log on the canal.

    Green Heron

    Bare-throated Heron

    This is the one and only "opportunity" on the canal.

    This has got to be my favorite picture of birders!! It's the queue to the john. The door is open, we've been on the water for several hours, but never mind........gotta see that bird!! I don't even remember what obscure flycatcher they were trying to see. I also love seeing Ramon's (one of our guides) bare feet in this picture.

    I knew as soon as I saw these guys in early but finally somewhat decent light that they would make a beautiful picture. Mangrove Swallows.

    Common Black Hawk

    Ringed Kingfisher

    Iguana in a tree

    The kingfisher was shaking himself in the light rain that was falling.

    Our fearless leader Gavin at the mouth of the Changuinola River as it spills into the Caribbean. Looking at the clouds, maybe? Dare we try to stop at Swan's Cay before the rain starts?

    Linda St. snapped this treasure of the mysterious stiletto balanced perfectly on a log. Make up your own story.

    Leader Gavin chased this little Collared Plover way up around the far curve of our little beach, but it flew away before we birders could join him to see it. Amazingly, some minutes later it showed up on a log right where we were standing  and posed so long that we got these pictures with our smart phones.

    Collared Plover

    Caiman skeleton. Wonder what happened here.

    You can't let clouds affect your plans during the rainy season, so we boated off for Swan's Cay, home to breeding Red-billed Tropicbirds, Brown Boobies, and Magnificent Frigatebirds.

    As we rounded the corner, Vicky B got a great shot of this picturesque jut of land with grotto type erosion holes.

    Male Magnificent Frigatebird


    Red-billed Tropicbird on nest in protected cave.

    Brown Booby chick and parent

    exchanging food

    Red-billed Tropicbird on nest with a Brown Booby on the side

    Brown Booby family

    I sort of fell in love with these fluffy little Boobies.

    Bye for now

    Flying Tropicbirds bid us farewell

    The rain hit us on the way home, but we got what we went for, so.....

    Thank goodness Tranquilo Bay Lodge provided free laundry and our clothes came back dry within 24 hours.





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    • Fred Michael Otero says...


      February 02, 2020

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